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Not enough ports for graphics cards and COM? PCIe solves the problem of scalability for industrial computers!

Most requirements and high-end applications can be satisfied by upgrading the scalability of PCIe in the IPC sector.

The most significant difference between industrial computers and consumer or commercial computers is the diversity of applications. The computer and controller requirements for different settings are closely linked to the unique features of various industries. However, even with the particular requirements of the different environments, there is less need for overall board and card redesigns causing an increase in equipment cost and lead time considerations. Most requirements are satisfied by improving the scalability of PCIe. Therefore, in the industrial computer sector, PCIe expansion ports are common within the designs.


With more and more applications for industrial computers, there is a diverse range of requirements for different industries. For example, industries with greater media needs require more computing power. In contrast, IoT system operators require more COM ports to connect the various devices of the system. Those with significant storage needs will add multiple hard drives or SSDs. In recent years, technology companies have continued improving the functions of motherboards. The different components only need to be connected to the power supply to work. What is the key to maximizing data transmission efficiency when connecting the components to the motherboard? The key is PCIe expansion.


PCIe includes specific numbers of data channels. Currently, there are x1, x4, x8, or x16 channels. Each channel consists of two sets of wires: One for transmitting data and one for receiving data. During practical PCIe applications, PCIe x1 is equipped with one data channel with a transmission rate of 1 bit every cycle. PCIe x16 is generally the longest slot on the motherboard (most commonly used for graphics cards). It is equipped with 16 data channels and can transmit 16 bits of data every cycle. In the future, PCIe will double the data transmission rate every cycle to increase the transmission rate even more.


The method for the use of PCIe will differ depending on the application setting of the industrial computers. TV walls, for example, require the control of media played on multiple screens simultaneously. Therefore, it requires a large number of graphics cards. Current industrial computer motherboards are commonly equipped with only 3 graphics card slots, which clearly will not be able to satisfy the requirements of this application. However, the graphics card slots can be increased to 6 slots through the use of PCIe modules.


Another example is the requirements of industrial IoT systems. Industrial IoT systems do not involve large amounts of single data entries but do require the connection of numerous devices. Therefore, larger numbers of COM ports are required for low-speed signals. Users can connect PCIe modules to expand the number of COM ports.


Apart from the scenarios described above, other application fields also require PCIe to improve the scalability of industrial computers. This has made PCIe a common component of industrial computer designs. When choosing industrial computers, system integrators or site operators should pay attention to the number of slots and related specifications. The DFI team will provide professional advice to help customers optimize system scalability to improve the overall benefits. If you are interested in learning more about DFI, please visit the official DFI website or contact us directly.