The PCI Special Interest Group has announced their plan to create a cabled version of PCI Express that will take on the Thunderbolt interconnect developed by Intel and Apple. Backers suggest the PCIe approach will be more open and more optimal than Thunderbolt for delivering high throughput I/O to tablets and thin notebooks. The new cable will be based on PCIe 3.0 which supports up to 8 GTransfers/second. It likely will support a maximum of four parallel lanes for throughput up to 32 Gbits/s and distances no longer than three meters. The initial proposal suggests using copper wires, with a maximum transfer distance of 3m, matching Thunderbolt’s wired distances.
Details of the new standard will be defined by a working group now being formed. The group is expected to deliver a standard system makers can implement in products before June 2013.The effort to write the spec could take nine to 18 months. The biggest part of the work is expected to be defining technical requirements and a new connector.The new spec is aimed at consumer uses for desktop and mobile PCs and tablets as well as their peripherals such as external storage devices. The PCI SIG has a separate cable group, chartered in 2005, that has already delivered a spec for the 2.5 and 5 GT/s versions PCIe 1.1 and 2.0, supporting distances up to eight meters and aimed for use in servers and other data center equipment.