At the Intel Developer Forum this week, the PCI Special Interest Group (PCI SIG) will debut a low-power version of the PCI Express specification, a signal the technology will eventually arrive in notebooks.
PCI Express represents a fundmental reworking of the PCI architecture, which provides the peripheral data channel connecting the PCs CPU and chipset to the rest of the devices within the system. The technology is not backwards-compatible to traditional PCI, although early PCI Express motherboards will provide bridge chips to allow some PCI cards to be used.
The low-power addendum to the PCI Express specification will be unveiled this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose, where Intel executives are expected to talk more about how its chipsets will support the PCI Express specification. Although neither Intel nor the PCI SIG would disclose when low-power products would be available, they would likely emerge a year or so after PCI Express rolls out in 2004.
The first use of PCI Express will be in graphics, where a x16 card will be designed for use inside the chassis. OEMs will also have the option of inserting “NewCards” in modules outside the box; “NewCards” are the temporary working name of a x1 modular card design that will house external hard drives, flash card readers, networking equipment, and other low-bandwidth devices.
The “NewCard” specification is expected to get a new coat of paint this week, with members describing how the devices will be marketed.
“The release of the Mobile Graphics Low-Power Addendum is yet another proof-point of the flexibility and growing relevance of the PCI Express architecture in multiple market segments and applications,” said Ajay Bhatt, chair of the PCI-SIG PCI Express steering committee, in a statement. “This addendum allows mobile platform architects to take advantage of lower thermal design points in optimizing for a low-swing transmitter and a shorter interconnect in designing their systems.”
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