As expected, the PCI-SIG has announced the PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 specification. The 3.0 specification is now available to all members of the PCI-SIG.

PCIe 3.0 has numerous advantages over existing bus specifications: it operates at an 8GT/s data rate (the original PCIe was at 2.5GT/s and PCIe 2.0 spec is at 5GT/s), will have different electrical models, and has a 128-bit/130-bit encoding scheme (the 8-bit and 10-bit scheme is no longer required). The PCI-SIG says that PCIe 3.0 has bandwidth of about 1GB/s in one direction on an x1 slot and can scale up to 32GB/s on an x16 slot commonly used for graphics cards.

Other enhancements to the protocol and software layers of the architecture encompass data reuse hints, atomic operations, dynamic power adjustment mechanisms, latency tolerance reporting, loose transaction ordering, I/O page faults, and BAR resizing. The PCIe specification is also backwards compatible with older versions of PCIe to make sure current add-in cards on the market can still work with new motherboards.

"The PCI-SIG remains dedicated to I/O innovation and we are proud to release the PCIe 3.0 specification to our members," Al Yanes, PCI-SIG chairman and president, said in a statement. "The PCIe 3.0 architecture details significant improvements over our two previous PCIe specifications, providing our members with the performance and functionality they need to continue to be innovators in their fields."

Gamers and PC enthusiasts likely remember when we moved from AGP to PCIe. The performance improvement coming from an AGP video card to a PCIe card was impressive. Later, when the PCIe 2.0 slot came out with about twice the bandwidth of the original, again video cards had significantly better performance. Are you excited for PCIe 3.0?