PCI standards board to vote Friday on Intel's 3GIO

The industry group that oversees PCI bus specifications, the PCI-SIG (special interest group), on Friday will have its board of directors vote on whether or not to adopt a technology spearheaded by Intel as the next I/O bus standard, a source familiar with the PCI-SIG's plans said.

The PCI-SIG board of directors will vote on the adoption of 3GIO (third-generation I/O) as the PC bus standard to eventually replace current PCI bus technology as well as fledgling PCI-X products, the source said.

3GIO will allow data to move much faster from processors to system level components than current PCI or PCI-X technologies, delivering better overall performance to PCs and other computing devices. PCI and PCI-X throughputs range from 133Mbps to 1.1Gbps. 3GIO has the potential to run almost 10 times as fast, according to those familiar with the technology.

The proposal to go forward with the standardization of 3GIO was offered to the PCI-SIG less than two weeks ago by supporters of 3GIO, who are led by Intel, the source said. Intel is developing 3GIO under the code name Arapahoe.

Intel Corp.competitor Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) currently spearheads the development of another next-generation bus architecture called HyperTransport technology, which runs at 12.8Gbps, according to AMD.

However, AMD, which sits on the PCI-SIG board of directors, regards its HyperTransport technology as complementary to PCI, PCI-X, and 3GIO technologies.

"I guess we didn't do a good job of communicating [HyperTransport] in the past," said Gabriele Sartori, president of the HyperTransport Technology Consortium and director of technology evangelism at AMD. "HyperTransport has never been intended to go against things like PCI-X. It enables those technologies."

"We are not against the technology [3GIO] and are not doing anything to stop anyone from implementing it," he said. "We believe it is a natural extension of PCI."

The PCI-SIG board of directors is composed of representatives from Intel, Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., AMD, Microsoft Corp., Phoenix Technologies Ltd., Texas Instruments Inc., and ServerWorks Corp.

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