n. PCI (the computer bus), as opposed to the newer PCI Express.
Conventional PCI, often shortened to PCI, is a local computer bus for attaching hardware devices in a computer. PCI is the initialism for Peripheral Component Interconnect and is part of the PCI Local Bus standard. The PCI bus supports the functions found on a processor bus but in a standardized format that is independent of any particular processor's native bus. Devices connected to the PCI bus appear to a bus master to be connected directly to its own bus and are assigned addresses in the processor's address space. It is a parallel bus, synchronous to a single bus clock.
Attached devices can take either the form of an integrated circuit fitted onto the motherboard itself (called a planar device in the PCI specification) or an expansion card that fits into a slot. The PCI Local Bus was first implemented in IBM PC compatibles, where it displaced the combination of several slow ISA slots and one fast VESA Local Bus slot as the bus configuration. It has subsequently been adopted for other computer types. Typical PCI cards used in PCs include: network cards, sound cards, modems, extra ports such as USB or serial, TV tuner cards and disk controllers. PCI video cards replaced ISA and VESA cards until growing bandwidth requirements outgrew the capabilities of PCI. The preferred interface for video cards then became AGP, itself a superset of conventional PCI, before giving way to PCI Express.
The first version of conventional PCI found in consumer desktop computers was a 32-bit bus using a 33 MHz bus clock and 5 V signalling, although the PCI 1.0 standard provided for a 64-bit variant as well. These have one locating notch in the card. Version 2.0 of the PCI standard introduced 3.3 V slots, physically distinguished by a flipped physical connector to preventing accidental insertion of 5 V cards. Universal cards, which can operate on either voltage, have two notches. Version 2.1 of the PCI standard introduced optional 66 MHz operation. A server-oriented variant of conventional PCI, called PCI-X (PCI Extended) operated at frequencies up to 133 MHz for PCI-X 1.0 and up to 533 MHz for PCI-X 2.0. An internal connector for laptop cards, called Mini PCI, was introduced in version 2.2 of the PCI specification. The PCI bus was also adopted for an external laptop connector standard the CardBus. The first PCI specification was developed by Intel, but subsequent development of the standard became the responsibility of the PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG).
Conventional PCI and PCI-X are sometimes called Parallel PCI in order to distinguish them technologically from their more recent successor PCI Express, which adopted a serial, lane-based architecture. Conventional PCI's heyday in the desktop computer market was approximately 1995–2005. PCI and PCI-X have become obsolete for most purposes; however, they are still common on modern desktops for the purposes of backwards compatibility and the low relative cost to produce. Many kinds of devices previously available on PCI expansion cards are now commonly integrated onto motherboards or available in universal serial bus and PCI Express versions.