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Two Flavors of Desktop PCI-Express: x1 and x16

Although PCI-Express is eventually forecast to be available in widths up to 32 lanes wide (PCI-Express x32), the first PCI-Express motherboards are expected to support:

  • x1 (250MBps)

  • x4 (1000MBps)

  • x16 (4000MBps = 250MBps x 16)

As Table 1 suggests, it's obvious that x1 slots will be used to replace PCI slots in desktop PCs and x16 is slated to replace AGP 8x.

Table 1 – Comparing PCI, AGP, and PCI-Express Throughput

Bus Type

Specifications

Throughput

PCI

33MHz, 32-bit

133MBps

PCI-Express

x1

250MBps

AGP

2x

533MBps

PCI-Express

x4

1,000MBps

AGP

4x

1,066MBps

AGP

8x

2,133MBps

PCI-Express

x16

4,000MBps


PCI-Express x4, with 1GBps of bandwidth, could be used to host a variety of I/O devices.

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