Big names join the developer network for Intel's next-generation bus

Intel announced at its developer forum in San Jose last week that 30 companies - including Agilent, Dell, National Semiconductor,...

Intel announced at its developer forum in San Jose last week that 30 companies - including Agilent, Dell, National Semiconductor, NEC and Philips - have joined the developer network for its PCI Express bus technology, writes Antony Adshead.

The need for higher-capacity internal buses - the routes along which data travels - is seen by industry watchers as the key to creating faster Intel-based computer systems. The big-name support for PCI Express should help to speed the plug-and-play technology to market.

The aim of the developer network is to make the silicon components available by the second half of 2003, with products incorporating the standard shipping by 2004.

The network will provide a Web-based community for developers to exchange information, tools and technical support in the creation of PCI Express-based architectures.

Besides PCI Express, Intel has also flirted with the Infiniband initiative, which seeks to create a complex "system area network" linking processors, storage and peripherals via a switched architecture. However, the company's enthusiasm for this initiative appeared to cool earlier this year when it decided to hothouse the PCI Express project.

Some manufacturers are using a third standard, the relatively straightforward PCI-X, which is backwards-compatible with PCI.

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