PCI Express products (PCIe products) use a computer protocol and interface format which communicates more quickly than peripheral component interconnect (PCI), a standard which PCIe is designed to replace. PCI Express products (PCIe products) cover a wide range of devices that interact with PCI, a local bus standard developed by Intel Corporation. Today, most personal computers (PCs) include a PCI bus in addition to integrated-systems architecture (ISA) bus. PCI is also used on some versions of the Macintosh computer. Examples of PCI Express products (PCIe products) include bus interfaces or adapter modules, memory modules, mass storage modules, networking modules, serial communications modules, power supplies, PC bridges, and PCIe extenders.

Selecting PCI Express Products

Selecting PCI Express products (PCIe products) requires an understanding of product categories. A PCIe interface or PCI adapter is a computer board that translates the data from the PCIe bus to another bus and vice versa. It is used to connect two non-compatible buses. Memory modules are PCIe boards that contain memory chips. Network modules are boards that are network adapters, such as Ethernet, token ring, etc.  A serial card provides one or more serial ports to a host computer. The card interfaces the host with a PCIe bus and adds RS232, RS422 or other types of serial ports.  A wireless communications PCIe module is a network adapter used in wireless networks.  A power supply module is a power supply totally contained in a PCIe card.  A PCIe bridge allows the connection of more than one PCIe module to a PCIe interface.  A PCIe extender is a board used to physically extend the PCIe bus outside of the host computer for the purpose of testing and development of systems. Other types of PCI Express products (PCIe products) are also available.

Performance Specifications

Important performance specifications to consider when searching for PCI Express products (PCIe products) include the technology type, form factor, PCIe data bus, and number of ports. Technology choices include the standard PCIe bus and PCI-X.  PCI-X is a standard based on the PCIe bus that enables 64-bit, 133-MHz performance for a total raw bandwidth that exceeds 1 Gigabyte per second (Gbps).  Form factor choices include full size PCIe and small PCIe.  Full size PCIe is the standard PCIe form factor. Small PCIe is a PCIe board with a form factor smaller than the full-size PCI. The board dimensions are 3.4" x 2.1". Choices for the PCIe bus are 32-bit or 64-bit.  The number of ports on PCI Express products (PCIe products) is also important to consider.