PCI Express takes on Thunderbolt
PCI Express cables could take us to 32Gbps speeds by 2013
The PCI Special Interest Group has started a plan to develop a variant on PCI Express 3.0 that would challenge the Thunderbolt format from Apple and Intel. Thought Thunderbolt by Intel was the only superfast interconnect Well, it is and will be for a little while yet, but the PCI Special Interest Group has just held its annual meeting and developer conference in California, where plans for a 32Gbps PCIe cable were revealed. No much details are available for now on what such a connector would look like and do, but the expectation is that it’ll be built out of copper wire, will be flatter and thinner than Thunderbolt’s rotund construction, and will be able to channel power as well as data through to devices up to 10 feet (3m) away.
Targeting consumer applications, and extra skinny tablets and laptops in particular, this cabled variety of PCI Express will start off based on the 3.0 spec in 2013, but will then move on from there to PCI Express 4.0 and, potentially, optical data conveyance. PCIe 4.0 also got announced by the PCI SIG, though that’s at least four years away at this point no need to sweat about having it in your next motherboard, not yet anyway.