PCI Express 3.0 to be backward compatible with 2.0

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The official spec for PCI Express 2.0 was released little over a year ago, bringing with it a significant speed boost to the interface. While PCI Express 1.1 remains the most common version, with still relatively few cards supporting PCIe 2.0, the PCI Special Interest Group is already working hard to complete the specification for version 3.0 of the interface.

Speaking at a recent press conference, PCI -SIG chairman Al Yanes disclosed some additional details regarding the upcoming connector. Not only he confirmed that PCIe 3.0 offer data throughput at 8 gigatransfers per second, but also that the new specification is needed to support future three-slot, 300-watt graphics cards.

The good news for anyone considering a big component upgrade over the next few years is that PCI Express 3.0 will use the same connector and will be backwards-compatible with 2.0, the only difference should be in the electrical specifications. PCI-SIG expects to complete the PCIe 3.0 spec in late 2009, and it plans to begin testing in the second half of 2010.

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