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How & When will Apple use PCI Express?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
It has to be coming. ATI is releasing PCI Express cards later this year and will eventually be Express exclusively. The PC industry appears to be switching to PCI Express very soon. Hypertransport 2.0, that was announced last week, is PCI Express based. And our G5s use the incompatible PCI-X. Something has to give. Who else uses PCI-X? Will G5 users be stuck with something that no one else uses? Will Apple replace the AGP slot with a PCI-E one and keep PCI-X? Lots of questions, does anyone have any hints?
post #2 of 22
I think apple will never ever update their technology. They will never go past the 2ghz barrier, they will never add support for more than 8GB RAM, they will never ship better video cards. They will forever sell the same G5 they are using now.

Relax, Apple will put it in eventually, when they need to.
post #3 of 22
They'll eventually adopt the technology, but I think it'll be a while. It wasn't until last year that they started putting USB 2.0 in their machines, even though it had been around for years leading up to it. AGP didn't go into Macs until late 1999, but it made it into PCs from at least two years prior.

Apple seems to be on the leading edge in some respects, and slow and stubborn in others. I don't think Macs will get PCI-E for at least another year, which will probably be about six months after most PC makers introduce it in their high end machines.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by TomB
It has to be coming. ATI is releasing PCI Express cards later this year and will eventually be Express exclusively. The PC industry appears to be switching to PCI Express very soon. Hypertransport 2.0, that was announced last week, is PCI Express based. And our G5s use the incompatible PCI-X. Something has to give. Who else uses PCI-X? Will G5 users be stuck with something that no one else uses? Will Apple replace the AGP slot with a PCI-E one and keep PCI-X? Lots of questions, does anyone have any hints?

Hi here are some links that will give you some insight.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...threadid=37937

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...threadid=36350

These should give you some good reading...
post #5 of 22
Apple took a while to catch up to some standards, but they've been pretty good since 2000 or so. They've even leapt ahead in some ways. The exception is USB2, but I can see how it was a political decision to wait for FireWire 2.

No such political consideration exists for PCI Express, as far as I can tell, so I expect Apple to implement it in place of AGP once video cards make the transition. They can be a little more casual about further adoption, since plain old PCI[-X] will lag for a few more years. Perhaps they'd add another PCI Express slot if some high-end PCI solutions, like Avid's, also make the transition. You wouldn't want to have to swap your video card out!
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post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
They've even leapt ahead in some ways. The exception is USB2

I am not happy with USB2 implamentations on either system. I have a umm 1 year old top of the line PC that I had custom built. With an ASUS motherboard that was released the month I ordered the machine. I have had to reinstall windows xp pro three times so I could get USB2 to work properly. It is a 4 step process that if you mess up one little bit You have to start completely over. I have two devices that are USB2 specific, one is a Iomega CD-RW drive. The other is a Comp-USA Harddrive enclosure kit. Both these items do work on XP-Pro, but the Iomega software (for the burner) doesn't recognize the drive as USB2, but burns CD's in 4 - 4.5 minutes and the Harddrive is not by anymeans blazing any trails. Now on the Mac OS 9.2.2 and 10.1.5, both drives are usable and recognized (because of USB2 devices being backward compatible with USB 1.1 ports. Neither device is usable in Jag or Panther on machines that do not have USB2 ports.

Enough of the rant, neither PC's or Mac's have done USB2 very well.
post #7 of 22
Ive got a Comp USA hard drive enclosure, its the Aluminium 3.5". It has two firewire ports and one USB 2.0 port.

I cant use it with firewire, because the thing overheats and freezes. Im getting much better results with the USB 2 port, hooked up to my USB 1 iBook. The slow data rate seems to help a lot.

But, Ive got no issues using that particular USB 2 device with a USB 1 port in Jaguar.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I read the earlier threads about PCIe, it just seems that the transition is happening much faster than most people thought. Video cards and PCIe only motherboards will be out in months. Other cards are bound to appear rapidly. This just months after Apple switched to a different standard. I have to wonder how soon Apple will shift to yet another standard. Surely they must use what the rest of the industry will be using. I hope they don't drag their feet the way they did with USB2. Now I'm kinda glad I went with the Dual FW800 G4 last year. Hopefully by the time I'm ready for a G5 this will be sorted out. If I was looking to upgrade soon this would really concern me, but I guess for the average user this is a non-issue. The next year should be interesting
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Luca Rescigno
It wasn't until last year that they started putting USB 2.0 in their machines, even though it had been around for years leading up to it. AGP didn't go into Macs until late 1999, but it made it into PCs from at least two years prior.

Apple seems to be on the leading edge in some respects, and slow and stubborn in others. I don't think Macs will get PCI-E for at least another year, which will probably be about six months after most PC makers introduce it in their high end machines.

It is important to also recognize when such a thing is really NEEDED in terms os 3rd party products that support it. For example, with USB 2.0, while Apple was slower in getting there, the real question is when was USB 2.0 really useful for customer in the sense that they could BUY lots of products that used it. I think Apple is probably doing fine in most respects here.

Everyone I see, on these boards, assumes that as soon as some new technology is out, if Apple doesn't have it in the next revision of their products they're falling behind. Take Java for an example, everyone was up in arms that Apple didn't have Java 1.4 on their machines 3 days after it was released. The reality is that the rest of the world moves much more slowly than this. Most of the world is NOT sitting there all day pushing the "Check for Updates" button in Software Update. The same applies to hardware.

Some other thread here, regarding the G5 in a PowerBook was along the same lines. Someone suggesting, "Well, we're the customers. We just need to DEMAND that Apple put a G5 in a PowerBook now!" Things don't work this way. And part of the reason we (or at least I) love Apple so much is that they are working to make sure these new technologies (be they Java or USB 2.0 or AGP or whatever) work well with everything else. They don't just throw things together.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by TomB
The PC industry appears to be switching to PCI Express very soon.

According to whom, Intel?
Quote:
Hypertransport 2.0, that was announced last week, is PCI Express based.

It most certainly is not.
Quote:
And our G5s use the incompatible PCI-X.

Nonsense.
Quote:
Something has to give. Who else uses PCI-X?

You mean, besides Intel?
http://www.intel.com/design/storage/...ta/gd31244.htm
Quote:
Lots of questions, does anyone have any hints?

Here's a hint:
http://www.pcisig.com/specifications/pcix_20
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post #11 of 22
This is a must read article about HDTV capture cards on PCI-E bus.

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/...67&newsLang=en
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by TomB
Yeah, I read the earlier threads about PCIe, it just seems that the transition is happening much faster than most people thought. Video cards and PCIe only motherboards will be out in months. Other cards are bound to appear rapidly. This just months after Apple switched to a different standard. I have to wonder how soon Apple will shift to yet another standard. Surely they must use what the rest of the industry will be using. I hope they don't drag their feet the way they did with USB2. Now I'm kinda glad I went with the Dual FW800 G4 last year. Hopefully by the time I'm ready for a G5 this will be sorted out. If I was looking to upgrade soon this would really concern me, but I guess for the average user this is a non-issue. The next year should be interesting

I think you are confusing PCI-X and PCI-Express as competitors. They are more akin to PCI and AGP today. PCI-Express is meant for video cards and capture cards. PCI-X is meant for the general upgrade cards.

PCI-X is the future of PCI. PCI-Express is the future of AGP. They just share similar names. USB2 is a competitor of Firewire 1, but, Firewire 2 is far superior to USB2, and they aren't really competitors. There is overlap, but, Firewire2 is for high bandwidth devices, USB2 is for general utility devices. The reason Apple delayed on USB2 was to get Firewire2 out and established...
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by atomicham
I think you are confusing PCI-X and PCI-Express as competitors. They are more akin to PCI and AGP today. PCI-Express is meant for video cards and capture cards. PCI-X is meant for the general upgrade cards.

not true. PCI Express is intended for both of those spaces. Motherboard manufacturers are already prototyping boards with x16 PCI-E for graphics, a couple of x1 PCI-E slots for cards (like Gig-E, USB/Firewire, etc), and a couple of (traditional) PCI slots for 'legacy' cards. PCI Express is clearly being targeted at both the current AGP space, and the current PCI/PCI-X space.

personally, i don't see this being a big deal until the PowerMac revision AFTER the 3GHz / late summer Rev. ATI and nVidia both have different ideas about the speed of adoption for PCI-E. Also, even today's top-of-the-line cards can't make good use of AGP 8x over 4x. It will be quite some time before PCI-E is the norm for graphics, and I have doubts as to whether or not it will ever be the norm for expansion cards.
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post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by atomicham
I think you are confusing PCI-X and PCI-Express as competitors. They are more akin to PCI and AGP today. PCI-Express is meant for video cards and capture cards. PCI-X is meant for the general upgrade cards.

PCI-X is the future of PCI. PCI-Express is the future of AGP. They just share similar names. USB2 is a competitor of Firewire 1, but, Firewire 2 is far superior to USB2, and they aren't really competitors. There is overlap, but, Firewire2 is for high bandwidth devices, USB2 is for general utility devices. The reason Apple delayed on USB2 was to get Firewire2 out and established...

PCI-X is not the future of PCI.

PCI-E is the future of AGP and PCI-X and all other flavors of PCI.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by oldmacfan
PCI-X is not the future of PCI.

PCI-E is the future of AGP and PCI-X and all other flavors of PCI.

actually, PCI-X is likely to be the future of PCI for atleast a few more years. especially in the server segment. the new PCI-X 2.0 spec is finished, and products are under development. it allows for PCI-X 266 and 533. and a 1066 spec is in the works.

check it out...link

Intel would love to railroad PCI-E through to replace both AGP and PCI, but it will probably take a while. it's less expensive for manufacturers to implement PCI-X (any speed) because it makes use of almost all the same hardware (connectors, etc) and is fully backwards compatible with PCI. so, you only need to implement PCI-X, not PCI-E and PCI.
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post #16 of 22
oh yeah, and ServerWorks is backing PCI-X...
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post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by concentricity

. . . It will be quite some time before PCI-E is the norm for graphics, and I have doubts as to whether or not it will ever be the norm for expansion cards.


I believe you are correct about the graphics cards. The number of installed computers with AGP slots says that there will be a market for high performance AGP video cards for several more years. Graphics card makers will likely produce both version during this transition period. New computers will use 16X PCI-E cards.

I disagree about PCI-E being poorly adopted for general upgrade cards. Once there is PCI-E on a mother board, it is easy to make it available for all cards. The cheapest thing to do is eliminate standard PCI completely, but it will surely be kept for 'legacy' cards. My guess is that the transition will take longer than graphics cards, but it will happen nonetheless.

If Apple ever makes a lower cost consumer Mac with expansion cards, I could see them just having PCI-E, much the way the original iMac only had USB. Apple dropped their serial and SCSI I/O on a low cost consumer model before these were dropped in the Power Mac lineup.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by concentricity
check it out...link

A 2 year old PDF is hardly compelling, since two years ago nary a word of PCI-E was rumbled about except with a couple of supergeeks in a lab.

PCI-SIG is all about PCI-E now, have you been to the homepage lately.
PCI-X is a parallel technology with serious timing issues, PCI-E is a serial
connection that can use multiple pipes with no timing issues.
post #19 of 22
I think Apple will make the jump to PCIe in early 2005.
post #20 of 22
Have you heard of any PCI-X 2.0 cards? I haven't, but I have seen several announcements of PCI Express RAID cards, video capture cards, and Infiniband cards.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by msantti
I think Apple will make the jump to PCIe in early 2005.


You might be correct, but I hope not. Once PCI-E is available in new hardware, everyone will want it and new Macs better have it. Sure, AGP graphics cards will be available for a while, but one to four years down the road all the new cards will be PCI-E only. Without PCI-E, people will be locked into older graphics cards and they know it. Many of them may have gone through that experience in the past, having a computer without an AGP slot. They will likely not want to repeat it.
post #22 of 22
PCI Express is far more than an upgrade slot for video cards!

Firewire and USB do not compete. Other than being serial interfaces they have little in common.

Delaying USB2 would have very little impact on Firewire2. USB was delay simply because there was not a rush to marke tfor this technology. Even now USB2 support is spotty at best and even products that claim to be USB2 compatible don't fully take advantage of USB2. There was more to the delay of USB2 than first meets the eye, blaming it all on Firewire2 is a bit misleading.

Quote:
Originally posted by atomicham
I think you are confusing PCI-X and PCI-Express as competitors. They are more akin to PCI and AGP today. PCI-Express is meant for video cards and capture cards. PCI-X is meant for the general upgrade cards.

PCI-X is the future of PCI. PCI-Express is the future of AGP. They just share similar names. USB2 is a competitor of Firewire 1, but, Firewire 2 is far superior to USB2, and they aren't really competitors. There is overlap, but, Firewire2 is for high bandwidth devices, USB2 is for general utility devices. The reason Apple delayed on USB2 was to get Firewire2 out and established...
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