Systems makers are planning improvements to the PCI bus, with or without the support of Intel, PCI's original champion.
Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM are developing an improvement on the PCI bus - called PCIx - to increase bandwidth and throughput for PC servers. Other PC manufacturers are pressing for the Mini PCI specification to bring smaller size, greater flexibility, and lower cost to mobile products.
Meanwhile, Intel is just beginning to support doubling the width and speed of the PCI bus to 64 bits and 66MHz, after initially being lukewarm toward these changes.
According to one source, several trends compelled the three system makers to move in concert on PCIx, not the least of which was Dell's rise in recent months.
"PCIx is targeted against Dell," the source said. "This is technology from companies who are serious about research and development."
A Dell company representative countered that "Dell has built a successful business around bringing industry standards to market quickly, and there is no need for us to alter that business model".
As for Mini PCI, Intel said in a statement that it is working with OEMs to determine whether a Mini PCI specification can provide cost-effective, robust, flexible solutions.