Sidebar: Why PCI Won't Die

While the 11-year-old PCI expansion bus may finally be phasing out on Intel-based systems, the legacy technology is far from dead. The installed base of adapters and familiarity with the standard virtually guarantees its use well into the future. The technology is also likely to continue to be used in many high-end, non-Intel servers, such as those based on Sparc, Alpha and PA-RISC technology, says Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64 in Saratoga, Calif. "It's going to take a long time for the other architectures to migrate," due in part to the complexity of redesigning for those systems, he says.

Even some Intel-based systems may continue down the PCI path. For example, Hewlett-Packard Co. will continue to support PCI-X in its Itanium-based servers. "It will be in our Integrity line, which is oriented more toward the high end of the market," says Colin Lacey, director of market strategy for ProLiant systems at HP. "The high-end enterprise development model has a longer cycle so they're already locked and loaded for two or three years ahead of the high-volume, mainstream server marketplace," he says. But the transition is just a matter of time. "You will see them transition to Express in future generations," he says.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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