GeekSpeak for 2005-02-11

PCI Express and BTX Technologies

The geeks are jointed by Intel to discuss PCI Express technology and the new BTX form factor. Join Jim Pappas, director of technology initiatives for Intel, and Craig Randleman, Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) program manager for Intel, and the geeks to learn more about these next-generation PC technologies.


PCI Express Technology and the New BTX Form Factor
The geeks are jointed by Intel to discuss PCI Express technology and the new BTX form factor. Join Jim Pappas, director of technology initiatives for Intel, and Craig Randleman, Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) program manager for Intel, and the geeks to learn more about these next-generation PC technologies.

PCI Express Technology
PCI Express technology is the successor to today’s PCI bus and AGP graphic architectures. The serial PCI Express architecture offers scalable bandwidth from 2.5 to 80 Gigabits per second and advanced features that meet the I/O needs of next-generation systems like 10 GHz-plus CPU speeds, faster memory, higher-speed graphics, and support for highspeed GigaBit Ethernet networking. With the demands of emerging computing models exceeding the capabilities of the traditional PCI bus, there is a need for much greater internal system bandwidth for the next decade. PCI Express was designed to meet the requirements of the growing number of high-bandwidth applications, such as high-quality digital photography, multimedia, advanced computer-aided design and digital video editing. The image to the left shows two PCI Express connectors (the dark connectors) next to two PCI connectors (the light connectors) that are used on motherboards today.

BTX Form Factor
BTX (Balanced Technology Extended) is a new form factor that is enabling the next generation in PC system design and enables the industry to better address thermal management issues (including the heat generated by high-speed processors), system size and shape, and acoustics — all critical attributes to innovate desktop PCs for the digital home and office.BTX design benefits are much improved over the current ATX form factor. BTX places high-power components in-line, allowing them to be cooled with the same high velocity, low temperature airflow that travels from the front of the system to the rear panel. It is also designed to offer lower airflow impedance, allowing for reduced total fan count, lower fan speeds and, as a result, lower acoustic envelopes – which means a quieter computer. Since the higher velocity airflow means lower temperature cases, there are cost savings for consumers since they don’t require costly heatsink and cooling technologies.

Jim Pappas
Mr. Jim Pappas is the Director of Initiative Marketing in Intel’s Enterprise Platforms Group. In this role, Jim is responsible to work with the industry on the development of products that comply with server I/O and memory initiatives such as PCI Express, InfiniBand™ architecture, and Fully Buffered Dimm (FBD). He has previously been the Director of Technology Initiatives in Intel’s Desktop Products Group, and successfully led technologies such as AGP, DVD, IEEE 1394, Instantly Available PC, USB, and other advanced technologies for the Desktop PC. Mr. Pappas has 22 years of experience in the computer industry and has served on the board of directors for a number of technology initiatives, most notably the PCI Special Interest Group as a founding member, and the USB Implementers Forum as the founding chairman. Jim has also been granted eight U.S. patents in the areas of computer graphics and microprocessor technologies and holds a B.S.E.E. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Craig Randleman
Mr. Craig Randleman is the Balanced Technology Extended Program Manager in Intel’s Desktop Enterprise Group. In this role, Craig is responsible for managing the emerging form factor’s definition, proliferation, and industry enabling. Mr. Randleman previously managed the Desktop Thermal Mechanical Pathfinding and Development organization. Craig has 19 years experience in the industry, 17 with Intel, and holds two US patents. Craig received a BSME from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

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