PCI-Express 3.0 specification finalised
Yesterday it was released to members of the PCI-SIG that the new PCI-E 3.0 specification was available. This is now the latest version of the common PCI standard, and claims to be backwards compatible with PCI-E 1.x and 2.x devices.
The changes now indicate that PCI-E 3.0 can transfer 1GB/s per lane (each way), meaning a PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot would have a total bandwidth of 32GB/s. To put this in perspective, PCI-E 2.0 supported a theoretical maximum data rate of 5GT/s (that's Gigatransfers per second) but in reality only achieved 4GT/s due to overheads. PCI-E 3.0 has optimised the way these overheads are dealt with, and thus is reported to provide a real transfer rate of 8GT/s.
What does this mean for high end hardware? We should be able to reap the full benefits of any PCI-E 3.0 devices with bandwidth to spare. How this is implemented will be primarily up to chipset and motherboard manufacturers.
The first PCI-E 3.0 devices are expected to be available next year.