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Intel Upgrades Hardware

Intel Says Farewell To PCI Bus 415

KingofGnG writes with this snippet from Sir Arthur's Den, which will make my desktop computer sad: "Soon another technology that in past years dominated the always changing universe of computer hardware will bite the dust. That's the decision by Intel, the merciless executioner of standards that the company itself imposes on the market. In upcoming months it will end official support for the PCI bus. Developed by the chipmaker in 1993, the PCI Local Bus standard was implemented on all motherboards for x86 and compatible platforms until 2004, the year it passed the baton to the younger and faster PCI Express technology."
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Intel Says Farewell To PCI Bus

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  • Now What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:31PM (#32668184)

    Now what am I supposed to do with my Voodoo II video card?

  • Not so painful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:35PM (#32668222) Journal

    Back when they started dropping ISA support, I had to hunt a bit for a board with ISA support. Things like sound cards, modems, COM / LPT port cards, and so on all came on ISA cards. The couple of desktops that I've used only had one PCI card between them - a network card because there weren't drivers for the on-board one. It's much less common to have a collection of PCI cards than it was to have a collection of ISA (or EISA / VLB) cards to move to a new machine. Graphics cards are about the only thing that you regularly find as expansion cards, and these are typically upgraded at least as frequently as the motherboard anyway.

    PCI is now more of a way of connecting the chips on the motherboard than a way of connecting daughter boards, and as such it's far less traumatic when it is replaced by something newer. Aside from driver developers, few people care what interconnect is used between two chips on a motherboard.

    • VLB was awful! The form factor was simply too large. Many of today's desktops wouldn't even be able to fit even one of those monstrosities inside.

      Thankfully, not that many cards used it, aside from graphics cards which were easily replaceable and quickly obsolete.

      • The worst part about VLB was that the cards had a nasty tendency to get dislodged just a little forcing you to open up the case and reseat the card. Not that opening up the case was all that unusual back in those days, messing around with the hardware inside your computer was a lot more common back then, even for regular users...

  • by NJRoadfan ( 1254248 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:37PM (#32668260)

    I wasn't too happy that Intel axed the parallel port, but I could get cards/USB adapters for that. Now they axe PCI? I still have a Soundblaster X-Fi, its likely the last PCI card I'll ever buy.

    This will lead to headaches for embedded and industrial system users, most of them are now just moving from ISA to PCI based solutions. There were a few P4 motherboards with ISA slots for that market even.

    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:46PM (#32668402) Journal
      You can buy expansion cards that run a PCI bridge off the PCIe bus. The chips cost about $5 in bulk, $50 retail for the cards, and make more sense than including the PCIe to PCI bridge chip on all motherboards, when most people don't need them. If there's a large enough market for industrial PCs that have PCI slots then no doubt some board maker will produce a motherboard with the chip built in. All this announcement means is that there won't be PCI support in Intel's southbridge chips.
      • Is there any native PCIe firewire chipset? Quite a few motherboards are still hanging it off of the PCI bus. I guess that standard will be dead soon enough. While Apple is mostly to blame due to royalty payments, Intel not bothering to adopt it on any of their chipsets certainly didn't help.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by petermgreen ( 876956 )

        You can buy expansion cards that run a PCI bridge off the PCIe bus.
        The problem with that is the physical side of things. I've seen adaptors but if you plugged a non low-profile card into them (and IME most cards other than network cards aren't low profile and network cards probablly aren't worth plugging into an adaptor) it wouldn't

        I guess you could use one of those cards together with a big case and a flexible riser to put the card beyond the end of the motherboard but still a very messy soloution IMO.


    • National Instruments began gravitating towards PCI-E in 2006 because of the much greater bandwidth allowed. I'd imagine by now that most of the PLCs and PXI computers my former employer uses for new stands are all PCI-E. There is no problem because the industry has already acknowledged that PCI-E is better than PCI.

    • I wasn't too happy that Intel axed the parallel port, but I could get cards/USB adapters for that. Now they axe PCI?

      One [intel.com] example of a new model with a parallel port. If you want an upcoming 6-series just use a PCIe card [startech.com].

  • I realize it's time to move on, but I'm still happily running several prosumer audio cards that will probably see their end with my next hardware cycle.

    Gina, Layla, Darla... farewell.
  • ok... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:39PM (#32668290) Homepage

    Can we get rid of PS/2, VGA, parallel, and serial ports now, too? Hell, let's axe DVI in favor if HDMI while we're at it!

    Oh, and can someone tell the shitty mobo makers to stop requiring MS DOS floppy disks to flash their BIOSs?

    • Re:ok... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:43PM (#32668344)

      No, some of us do real work we need to be able to interface with serial stuff. You should make like the rest of the kids and get a mac.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vijayiyer ( 728590 )

        And some of us use Macs to do real work which interfaces with serial stuff. That doesn't mean we need a huge D-sub connector in our laptops.

      • USB and bluetooth serial ports are available for freaks like you who need to do anachronistic "work."

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by RJHelms ( 1554807 )

          I don't know about bluetooth, but for lots of applications USB serial ports won't work because USB operates at 5V and serial is supposed to be 12V.

          Some devices handle the far-below-spec voltage gracefully, but results are unpredictable at best. But that's ok, I've got my trusty PCI serial card... oh.

          • Re:ok... (Score:5, Informative)

            by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:42PM (#32669394) Homepage Journal

            It is possible to build a voltage converter to output 12V from 5V, you know.... There's no inherent reason they can't make USB serial adapters that comply with the letter of the RS232 spec. Also a lot of PC motherboards use 5V signaling, too, and have done so for years. You just can't guarantee that you'll get +/-12V signaling these days.

            BTW, the RS232 spec requires that devices signal at 12V, but requires that they detect signaling as low as 3V. If your device doesn't work correctly with USB adapters, the device is just as noncompliant as the USB adapter.

            In short, I think it's time to upgrade your hardware to something that's at least spec-compliant....

    • My last three mobos had Windows flash utilities, flash the bios then reboot...

      • Requiring Windows is no less dumb. My current mobo lets me flash straight from a usb flash drive from a BIOS interface.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Big Boss ( 7354 )

          Exactly, which is one of the first features I look for in a motherboard. Asus has had an excellent implementation for years, Gigabyte does quite well too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ronocdh ( 906309 )

      Oh, and can someone tell the shitty mobo makers to stop requiring MS DOS floppy disks to flash their BIOSs?

      Yes, definitely. But most motherboards these days, even old ones, tend to support booting to USB devices. That means you can often flash from a USB drive as long as you configure it right. (I keep a specially formatted stick in my bag for just such cases, so I can just toss on the right drivers and plug it in.) But really, the problem is with BIOS. Let's just transition to EFI already, can't we?

      And because I'm sure someone's going to reply and chastise me, I'll ask upfront: what are some EFI-like projects,

      • Re:ok... (Score:4, Informative)

        by ifrag ( 984323 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:08PM (#32668700)

        But most motherboards these days, even old ones, tend to support booting to USB devices. That means you can often flash from a USB drive as long as you configure it right.

        Screw configuration and USB booting even (at least for this purpose). The good motherboards these days (such as Asus R2E and others) have the tool ready to launch from bios which can lift the bin file directly from the USB disk. Much easier than going through the steps to make a bootable USB.

      • by yuhong ( 1378501 )
        Coreboot, for one. EFI could in theory ported to run on top of it.
    • Re:ok... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:53PM (#32668494) Homepage

      No. Because those of us that do real work use them.

      Rs232 is still a big standard in the commercial and industrial world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 91degrees ( 207121 )
      A lot of PCs only have VGA outputs out of that list.
    • Man, either I've been here too long or the community is getting smaller. I can remember the last time Intel dropped support for something and Lord Ender said virtually the exact same thing.

      Meanwhile you can measure the generations by counting the number of adapters and dongles coming out of my Modem M.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        PCI isn't really something that is in need of being killed.

        ISA was like that.

        Various PC legacy IO ports are like that.

        PCI is relatively sensible and still very useful.

    • Especially as they generally don't even come with a floppy interface socket these days.

    • HDMI is simply DVI-D with sound and a different connector. Why does it need to be axed?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by aztracker1 ( 702135 )
      Funny, Intel released a board a couple years ago without the legacy ports off the back, no PS/2, no floppy, not serial or parallel even via mb risers... The biggest complaint on newegg, was that people were having issues without the floppy because they couldn't load extra drivers on install for XP.
    • Re:ok... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:56PM (#32669672) Homepage Journal

      "Get rid of VGA"

      FUCK NO. HDMI has too many fucking changes every revision, DVI has a shorter cable range than VGA. I get crisper pictures (with better alignment) on my 32" LCDTV using VGA than with HDMI (which barely works at all.)

      And then the lag in HDMI. Double fuck that.

      • Re:ok... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @04:16PM (#32670038) Homepage

        I think there may be something wrong with your TV. HDMI should be decoded in milliseconds.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by adolf ( 21054 )

        HDMI lag?

        Some displays have processing which involves a delay. My Samsung, for instance, adds a bit of delay for any input not listed as "PC" or "Game," regardless of whether it is VGA, component, or HDMI. (Presumably, it does this so that it can utilize some intra-frame data to do whatever it does, but for all I know it does it just to be annoying.)

        The VGA input defaults to PC. The others default to something else that produces a small amount of lag. They're all configurable, though.

        (This message is an

  • by LazLong ( 757 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:44PM (#32668364) Homepage

    I'm just getting used to these new fangled AGP cards and their single connectors. I feel so much more secure with the dual connectors of my VLB cards....Maybe if I saw the boards in half they'll work in my new PCI-based motherboards. What do think? They fit, but all I get is sparks and a strange smoking smell....

    • You must not have done well at sawing the board in half. At the very least, you shouldn't be getting sparks. The worst you'd have done is sever most of the connections on the card. Not having electricity making a complete circuit isn't the same as a short circuit.

      • by Achra ( 846023 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:55PM (#32669662) Journal

        You must not have done well at sawing the board in half. At the very least, you shouldn't be getting sparks. The worst you'd have done is sever most of the connections on the card. Not having electricity making a complete circuit isn't the same as a short circuit.

        You must not have sawed many boards in half. I find that many of the traces end up dragging into other traces, and much of the time there are ground planes in there that get bent into other traces. Don't critique another person's board sawing when you clearly haven't sawed many boards of your own.

  • Eh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:46PM (#32668400) Journal
    This seems like a fairly minimal matter.

    Intel is shaving a few more pennies off the implementation cost for boring business boxes that will see no expansion at all, gamer boxes that will see no expansion beyond a so-new-the-solder-is-still-warm graphics card, and your basic home-user "everything-on-motherboard" use cases.

    Given the availability of PCIe to PCI bridge chips(both ones for cheaply retooling a PCI design into a PCIe design, and ones for hanging an actual PCI bus off a PCIe bus), motherboards to accommodate PCI cards should be available at a fairly modest premium for another 5 years, and at an industrial/embedded/specialty premium for another decade or two....
  • most on board chips use pci and using pci-e for some of them is a waste of lanes.

    Most on board sound is still pci based.

    Most severs have on board pci video and I don't x1 pci-e video chips out there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sznupi ( 719324 )

      There is also, basically, an ISA bus on your motherboard; in the form of Low Pin Count bus. As a matter of fact...PCI -> PCIe have somewhat similar relation to the one between ISA -> LPC. Roughly the same logically, as far as software is concerned, but implemented using less parallel approach. So your "using pci-e for some of them is a waste of lanes" is probably unjustified.

      On board sound might be PCI based logically, but it's partly integrated into the chipset. The "audio chip" you see on a motherbo

  • How many people still living even remember the other "local bus" that preceded it, VESA Local Bus? I still have two boxed motherboards with VLB slots and a couple interface cards intended for it.

    • My first computer had a 486/100MHz motherboard with ISA, VESA, and PCI slots. I eventually upgraded it to 64MB RAM. I wish my wife hadn't guilted me into giving to my brother-in-law a few years later.

      Oh, well, I still have a VESA/ISA system with all the slots filled (SB32 sound, VESA video, IDE caching controller with 16MB SIMMS, tape controller)... the dream machine of 1993.

    • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @04:22PM (#32670116) Journal

      I remember VLB and ISA as well. In fact my first gamer rig, with its upgraded to the max 100Mhz Pentium and 16Mb of RAM is STILL running 5 days a week at a local lumber factory running a custom column lathe with an ISA card and DOS 3. I thought the guy was gonna break down crying when I said "Yeah, I think I got a couple of old ISA PCs".

      Hell just a few months back I sold an old S3 12Mb PCI card, to a guy whose onboard had fried. I called him a week later to see when he wanted me to order him a more modern card and he said 'Why Bother? This card runs my business software just fine, and Windows 2000 is rock solid stable with it, so I'll just stick with it.'

      That is why you should visit your local mom&pop PC shop every once in a while. Think of us like a giant flea market of PC parts of all ages. We're usually bored, so just come in and bullshit a little while and we'll be happy to let you rummage through the bins, you never know what you'll find!

      As for TFA, has AMD announced they will follow suit? It sounds like another way for AMD to differentiate their product, as there are plenty of folks out there still using PCI (prosumer audio especially) and an AMD 4 or 6 core CPU will be more than fast enough for those tasks, and be quite affordable as well.

  • max 8 PCIe 2.0 lanes? wow that is way to few!

    A video card eats up about 8-16 just for video.

    add sata 6 about 4

    usb 3 2-4??

  • Not really. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:15PM (#32668834)

    From TFA:

    Intel PCI-free chipsets expected to be unveiled are H67, P67 e H61, they will implement the new LGA1155 CPU socket (which would be a pin less than the current LGA1156), will support 8 independent PCIe 2.0 lanes, Serial ATA connections at 6 Gigabits and 14 USB 2.0 ports. Just to be clear, these chipset are targeted at the consumer market while the new chipsets designed for the enterprise market (Q67, Q65 e B65) will continue to support the PCI bus.

    So, Intel says farewell, except that it didn't.

    Even if they were, if there's money to be had, I'm pretty sure someone will carve some silicon that motherboard manufacturers can use to bridge PCIe with PCI further downstream from the chipset.

  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:50PM (#32669522)

    or any other chip maker willing to continue supporting PCI for a few years while the transition away from PCI finishes up.

  • I wasn't aware... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CCarrot ( 1562079 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @04:34PM (#32670318)

    ...that Intel was the only manufacturer of motherboards out there.

    Sure they're heavy hitters in the field, but if enough people and companies start buying AMD so they can use their 'legacy' PCI equipment in a native PCI slot, this could get interesting...

    I know of a company that had to switch laptop suppliers simply because the ones they had been using stopped supplying DSUB serial ports, which the company needed to interface with industrial monitoring and test equipment. The so-called USB / serial port adapter dongles didn't work worth crap for the equipment they were trying to interface with: they needed a native serial port. Yet they could still get the pretty-much-useless firewire support in just about every model...


  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @04:40PM (#32670412)

    So we still have PCI Express for video cards, but whats going to be the replacement bus for other cards (sound cards, wireless network cards, additional Hard drive interfaces, extra USB ports, and custom stuff?

  • My old computer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:43PM (#32671258)
    Thanks, you had to go and remind me that my computer is OLD... Holy crap! I've never had a workstation computer for 6 years and still used! Will wonders never cease. Thanks Linux!

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs