There’s a misconception going around that PCI slots don’t travel in the same circles as PCIe slots do. In some instances, this is true. But not when it comes to most industrial motherboards and single board computers.

PCI and PCIe slots are essentially a “bus” or the channel by which different devices would exchange data within an Industrial Computer.

What is PCI?

PCI is short for Peripheral Component Interconnect. PCI is a local bus.

What is PCIe?

PCIe (or PCI Express/PCI-E) is the successor of PCI and AGP. With this new standard for connecting devices to computers, the PCIe is gradually taking the place of SATA and USB busses.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to two things; PICMG 1.0 and PICMG 1.3. Any industrial motherboard or passive backplane with the PICMG 1.0 architecture will contain a mixture of ISA and PCI slots. There are some passive backplanes that are all ISA or PCI but most of the time, they will contain a certain amount of ISA/PCI slots with one or two PICMG slots for the single board computer.

PICMG 1.3 architecture will contain PCI and PCIe x 1, x4, x8, x16 slots along with a PICMG slot for the single board computer. I haven’t seen any backplanes with straight PCIe slots like you would with an all ISA or PCI PICMG 1.0 backplane.

The great thing about passive backplanes and the need for ISA, PCI or PCIe slots is the flexibility they provide. Just keep in mind that ISA and PCIe don’t play well together, so it’s either one or the other when it comes to configuring a system.

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