PCI Express is an evolutionary upgrade to the existing PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) bus. It was approved as a standard on April 17 2002 and it co-exists with the PCI bus, but in terms of form, it is something completely new. PCI Express maintains software compatibility with PCI but it replaces the parallel bus with a high-speed (2.5 Gb/s) serial bus. PCI Express sends data through differential signal pairs called lanes, which offer 250 MB/s bandwidth per direction per lane. Multiple lanes can be grouped together with typical lane widths of x1 (pronounced "by one"), x4, x8, and x16, and, unlike PCI, which shares bandwidth with all devices on the bus, each PCI Express device receives dedicated bandwidth.
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