Dual-screen Transportable Workstation

Maximum computing power in a rugged transportable chassis 

When you need a whole lot of computing capability, and plenty of screen real-estate, it’s important that the transportable workstation you choose will always work when you arrive on site.  The MegaPAC-S2 is a modern, robust, professional workstation ready for deployment.

Portable workstation Open

Adjustable hinges for the second display.

“Everything you could want in a two screen portable workstation.  Lots of power, expansion and display space.”

Melinox Infiniband PCIe cards

Storage

Massive Storage

Five full-sized (5.25″) drive bays for Data can be configured as five:

3.5″ HDD = Up to 70TB

6 x 2.5″ HDD = Up to 150TB

6 x 2.5″ SSD = Up to 228TB

Two additional 3.5″ bays are available for the O/S or O/S + additional data.

There is room for high powered RAID controllers or data compression cards as well as connectivity to NAS etc.

Workstation grade graphics

Depending on the motherboard selected, the MegaPAC-S2 can support dual-card graphics solutions from AMD and Nvidia.  Dual Xeons and dual graphics cards require significant cooling.  Temperature sensitive fans keep the system components cool while minimizing the acoustic impact on the user.

AMD Pro SSG cards are available with in-excess of 2TB of graphics card memory for those professionals working on 8K content.

Memory is not the headline spec on Nvidia’s Quadro 8000  However, with 130.5 TFLOPS per card, and Nvidia NVLink allowing two cards per system, there’s a lot of graphics power possible.

For over and under displays in a similar package please check out the MegaPAC-L2

AMD

Nvidia

Three screen laptop with PCIe expansion slots

Rugged three screen laptop with:

 

  • 3 x 17.3″ HD displays
  • 12 Core Xeon processor (D-2166NT)
  • 2 x PCIe expansion slots (x16, x8)
  • Optional Nvidia Quadro 4000 graphics
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Integrated CAC card reader
  • Eight Lan ports – 2 Fiber SPF+ 10G, 2 RJ45 10G, 4 RJ45 Gigabit.
  • Up to 512GB RAM
  • Aluminum alloy construction
  • Mil-Std shock, vibration, temperature and transport

Closed for transport - triple screen notebook

Three Screen Laptop


“Everything you could want in a 24lb laptop!  Plenty of cores (12).  Four removable 7.6TB SSD’s.  Nvidia Quadro P4000 graphics.  An open PCIe expansion slot for your needs.”

For even more performance see MilPAC-III

A Heading

There are eight LAN ports and an IPMI port on the rear panel!  Two 10G SPF+ ports (fiber), two 10G RJ45’s, four 1Gig RJ45’s.  There’s also an IPMI port for remote management of the system.  All ports are protected behind a hinged door for protection during transport.  The fiber ports allow for the attachment of a local or remote NAS device to greatly expand the storage capacity for enterprise and tactical mission systems.

Xeon Laptop Motherboard

Another Heading

The heart of the system is an Intel 12 Core Xeon Processor with up to 512GB RAM. TheIntel D-2166NT has 12 cores and 24 threads running at up to 3GHz, with 17MB of cache.

Two expansion slots (one optionally fitted with an Nvidia Quadro-4000) are x16 and x8.  Maximum card length is 9.5″

Yet Another Heading

Three HD displays fold neatly for transport.  5760 x 1080 scene space.  An optional Nvidia Quadro P4000 professional graphics card means there is plenty of power to drive the three displays with full motion video, 3D visualization or geospatial imagery.  The second slot can be fitted with a video capture card for real-time capture and analysis of drone video etc.

Available with four removable SSDs to give 30TB of removable storage, the NotePAC is a powerful portable server-grade three screen laptop.

For more information see NotePAC

Designed to be a pleasure to use, while still being robust and reliable, the BCCD-C (Bi-Fold Command and Control Display)-Computer is a medium power, high utility computer system.

Functionally similar to many desktop PC’s the BCCD-C provides three HD widescreen displays in a compact package.  It is perfect for general use or a training system which requires compact dimensions and a robust package.

The video above shows the display only version of the BCCD.  The computer version is the same size but has computer i/o where the video inputs are on the side of the unit.

 

Specifications: 

 

Intel Core i3-6100T Processor (3.2GHz, 3MB cache, 2 Cores)
Intel HD Graphics 530
8GB RAM
500GB 7200 RPM 2.5″ HDD in removable cannister
Desktop keyboard and mouse
3 x 17.3″, 16:9 displays
1920 x 1080 resolution
Brightness: 300 Nits
Contrast: 500:1
Color: 262K (dependent on display input and graphics card)
Backlight MTBF: 10,000H (25C+/-5C)
Power: 90W, 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz
Dimensions: 12.37″ x 17.14″ x 6.21″ (H x W x D)  (47.61″W – fully open)
Weight:  26 lbs appx
Operating Temperature: 0-50C (32F-122F)

Powerful CPU

MilPAC-III Performance

Dual Xeon, liquid cooled.  Server grade motherboard.  Nvidia graphics.  Removable HDD and SSD options.

Request a quote


Mil-spec shock & transit

The MilPAC-III is certified to MIL-STD-810G, Method 514.5, Figure 514.5C-5 Loose cargo test setup, 0- 50 degrees C.

Data Sheet


Trusted by servicemen and women in theater

Made in the USA

Proudly manufactured in Azusa CA.

The Factory (link)


C4ISR Workstation

Sunlight Readable Display

Deployable workstation now available with 1000 Nit display panels

The MilPAC-III has been continuously deployed by the US military since 2015.  Continuous refinements to the design have been incorporated to increase performance and extend reliability. A new display backlight option is now available.  

“1000 Nits is pretty readable outdoors – but you still want to avoid direct sunlight”

A very bright display can still be difficult to read outdoors because it is very difficult to compete with the Sun!  To improve usability, the MilPAC-III sunlight readable displays may be adjusted to a host of different opening positions, and the tilt of the whole unit changed using the robust foot.
  • Sunlight readable display
  • 1000 Nits
  • Adjustable display angles and system tilt

MilPAC-III from Portexa | High capacity cooling 

 

Product Highlights

 

  • Mil-Std 901D tested
  • Sunlight readable displays
  • The power supply (PSU) is replaceable without tools.  Tested to Mil-std 461
  • Display mirroring through HDMI

 

Ultra-bright displays

Bright and uniform

The new displays’ contrast ratio exceeds 400:1 while providing deep blacks and extremely bright and readable detail. The 1000 cd/m^2 displays were tested for maximum brightness using a Topcon BM-9 luminance meter. Measured maximum white luminance was 1053 nits.


  1. MilPAC-III is in continuous use in-theatre.  The video feed from drones is fed to the CIC for analysis.
  2. Compressed video may then be sent to command for subsequent evaluation.
  3. Video feeds can be mirrored through HDMI ports on top of the unit to allow the operator to share engagement data with the commanding officer.

 

 

 

Deployable & reliable


Deployable workstation expansion

Expansion Slots

The MilPAC can be configured with extra I/O ports, including, but not limited to, multiple Gigabit Ethernet or fiber ports.

ruggedized workstation with three screens

Removable Storage

Five removable drives as standard including three 3.5″ HDD’s.

 

“MegaPAC-L3 – the most powerful portable workstation on the planet!”


 

BUILT WITH BOLDGRID

  • Ultimate portable workstation
  • Dual RTX-2080Ti’s
  • Dual Intel Xeon Platinum processors
  • Three 24″ 4K or HD displays

 

Three screen transportable workstation closed for deployment

Three screen 24" workstation

SUPER SWEET HEADING


MegaPAC-L3 – The most powerful portable workstation

The MegaPAC-L3 is the latest iteration of the hugely successful MegaPAC family.  Available now with three 24″ displays* in either HD or 4K resolution, the MegaPAC supports EATX motherboards with the latest Intel processors.  Available with Dual RTX2080Ti’s and Dual Intel Xeon Platinum processors, the MegaPAC is the most powerful portable on the planet.

With support for 1TB of DDR4 RAM and 150TB of SSD storage, the MegaPAC-L3 is up to almost any task.

The MegaPAC series has a full-sized 105-key keyboard with integrated touch-pad.  The keyboard is available in a variety of languages.

HEIGHT: 16.39″,
WIDTH: 22.96″,
DEPTH: 11.98″

Weight 53lb (for a typical configuration)

Power: 850W 100/240VAC, 50/60HZ auto-switching 80 PLUS GOLD rated power supply.  

Display options – Triple 23.8″:

UHD 3840 X 2160,
FULL HD 1920 X 1080,
WUXGA 1920 X 1200

Up to seven PCIe expansion slots.

*There are four versions of the MegaPAC chassis offering single screen, dual screen over and under, dual screen side-by-side, and triple screen configurations.  All are offered with a choice of i5, i7, i9, and Xeon processors.

Datasheet Quote

“There is no question that this is the most powerful  portable workstation I have ever used!”

Anna Cheng

dual computer rackmount 2U

Data Diode Dual Server

  • Dual, fully independent motherboards
  • Single Intel Xeon E5-1660-V4 or Dual E5-2687W-V3 / side
  • 8 Cores, 3.1GHz base freq / 10 Cores 3.0GHz / side
  • Up to 512GB RAM / side.
  • Fiber connection to BAE Data Diode
  • 2U Chassis, 18″ deep

The Portexa DDDS is a 2U rack-mountable dual server with space for a BAE data diode.  It has been recently updated to perform effortlessly with Gigabit connections.  Two completely independent computer systems flank the data diode and ensure efficient, high speed data throughput between networks of dissimilar security clearance.  Such is the independence of the computing components that the system even needs three power cords!

The Portexa DDDS is designed to perform in tactical and deployed applications – especially where space is at a premium.

Data diodes are most commonly found in high security environments such as defense, where they serve as connections between two or more networks of differing security classifications. This technology can now be found both in the military and at the industrial control world for such facilities as nuclear power plants, and electric power generation.

Network speeds are inevitably getting faster, and the latency and throughput of the servers becomes a bottleneck to performance.  Portexa recently revised the DDDS to include two dual-Xeon processors per side.  Up to 20 cores a side at >3GHz base frequency.

BAE data diodes are listed on the Unified Cross Domain Services Management Office (UCDSMO) baseline, and backed by a Common Criteria EAL7+ security certification. When combined with a Portexa DDDS, the Data Diode Solution offers unparalleled assurance, while delivering superior unidirectional throughput.

Connections to the networks are via Gigabit Ethernet connections, while the data that goes to the data diode travels through fiber. All the connectivity is visible from the front panel, and a nice friendly arrow indicates the direction that the information may flow.

Access to the front panel USB connections is restricted by a hasp for a padlock.  Of course if a determined hacker has physical access to your hardware, it’s game over, but at least it prevents opportunistic attack vectors using thumb drives.

 

Tactical, gigabit and data-center data diode from BAE Systems

DDDS – Quad Xeon 2U-rack-mount


A data diode is a controlled interface which strictly enforces a unidirectional flow of data at the physical level.

 

“Connects between networks of different security classifications.”

 

Theory of operation and use cases

Controlled interface which strictly enforces a unidirectional data flow at the physical level.

The BAE Data Diode functions in conjunction with Data Pump Applications and content filtering software. Typically sitting between two servers attached to their respective security domains, the Data Diode physically supports unidirectional file-based transfers, video-streaming, and email.

 

Data Pump Application

Data Forwarding Application (DFA)

• Streams UDP, TCP and multicast data

• Can receive data from various sources on multiple ports

File Transfer Application

Enables unidirectional transfer of bulk files with deep content inspection

• Transfer Mode

º All files are moved to the high-side destination and immediately deleted from the low-side

• Archive Mode

º Files are moved to the high-side destination, archived in a configured folder on the low-side, and deleted from the low-side source folder

• Mirror Mode

º Regardless of low-side source folder activity, files are copied to the high-side as is, according to a configured time period

• Replicate Mode

º Any changes detected in the low-side source folder are replicated into the high-side destination folder while retaining the files on the low-side

 

Rear view showing independent power supplies and three power inputs. 

Reav view showing independent power supplies.

 

For details on the Data Diode itself, please contact:


BAE Cybersecuity website

BAE Cybersecurity email


Network Separation


Physically prevents data leakage from secure to non-secure domains.

Streaming Video Feeds


Delivers HD video from non-secure field assets into secure environments.

Live sensor feeds


Facilitates active streaming of field data from sensors to mission operation centers.

Multi-cast broadcast


Distributes data from a single source to authorized recipients.

critical infrastructure Protection


Safeguards industrial control system networks and assists with North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Plan (NERC CIP) compliance.

Bulk File Transfers


Automates high-speed file transfers between shared network folders and streamlines database replication.

 

Quarantine Separation


Ensures the isolation of malicious data in a controlled sandbox environment.

Cloud Separation


Provides secure connection between sensitive cloud infrastructures.

Secure email messaging


Facilitates active streaming of field data from sensors to mission operation centers.

High performance Network


High end hardware for low latency and high throughput.

For more information on the DDDS, please contact Portexa

Biggest 1U rack mount display

23″ 1u rack-mount display.


“We need to put a big display, keyboard, webcam, CAC card reader, microphone, and some audio pass-through connectors in a rack – which we will then transport and deploy in a tent.

Oh – and the screen needs to be 23″, HD.

and…  it all has to fit in a standard 1U rack-space.”

No problem!

Find Out More

23″ HD Display

1920 x 1080 23″ diagonal display.

19″ RacK, 1U

1U is 1.75″

This thing is thin.

Backlit KEYBOARD

L or R mousepad

 

CAC Readers

Dual CAC card readers.

Workstation rack mount display – 1U

The RMSDU-1U-23 is the largest rack-mount available for a 1U rack-space. It comes with a ton of functions integrated into a very small device.  Operationally it was specifically designed to minimize the space required in front of the rack.

 

  • 23” LCD 1920×1080 resolution with:
  • Built-in 1080p webcam up/down adjustable
  • Microphone 3.5mm pass through to I/O panel
  • Audio 3.5mm pass through to I/O Panel
  • Keyboard with:
    • 2x built-in CAC readers
    • Ambidextrous Mouse shelf
  • I/O Panel with:
  • Keyboard dedicated USB 2.0 port
  • Mouse dedicated USB 2.0 port
  • Webcam dedicated USB 2.0 port
  • Microphone 3.5mm pass through to monitor 
  • Audio 3.5mm pass through to monitor

The ambidextrous mouse shelf allows the use of a real mouse, with a dedicated USB pass-through.  In fact, all of the interfaces are designed to connect directly to a USB port on the host computer.  This eliminates any start-up issues caused by the use of USB hubs.  The integrated webcam is also an unusual feature in industrial grade displays.  The RMDSU-1U-23  integrates one that has a tilt mechanism and full HD performance along with a high-quality built-in microphone.

If you need a 1U rack-mount display and would like the largest monitor possible, consider the RMSDU-1U-23

1U 23" HD Display

RMSDU-1U-23 – 1U Rack Mount Display

If you need more display space and have 2U spare, see the RMDDU-23

Featured Video

120TB+ Removable Storage


120TB SSD Storage

Now available with more than 120TB of removable SSD storage, the NetPAC-RHD16 is the most powerful portable server on the planet.

Learn More

NetPAC-RHD16

The most powerful portable server on the planet

Maximum performance portable

 

COTS computer for network capture / cyber security

Drives removable individually or in packs of four

MilPAC-I top view handle

Ultra high throughput removable media pack

16 Drive portable server

1st rate cooling - massive expansion - transportable COTS workstation with PCIe expansion slots

Most powerful portable: NetPAC-RHD-16

The brief? Make the most powerful portable computer on the planet.  Oh – and all the drives must be removable.  Must be capable of copying a high speed network in real time.  Can you make it so it fits in between 19″ rack rails?

01

Best in the Industry

There has never been a portable server like the NetPAC-RHD-16.  Dual Xeon processors.  1TB RAM. 120TB+ of removable, high speed, high reliability SSD drives.  Separate removable system drive.

02

Reliable Operation

Robust aluminum construction and attention to detail ensure that the NetPAC-RHD16 just works when you get to the work-site.  Micron 5200 series SSDs are robust and reliable.

03

Configured for your application

Maybe you don’t need the most powerful portable computer ever built?  We can build the NetPAC-RHD16 with significantly less costly components, tailored to meet your real-world requirements.

04

Seize the moment

Right now, you can get a quote for the NetPAC-RHD16.  Click here->

Product Highlights


2

Intel Xeon Processors

56

Cores Max

1

CAC Card reader in keyboard

The NetPAC-RHD-16 is the most powerful portable on the planet.  If you would like more information or a quotation, please visit portexa.com

 

Intel Xeon logo

Intel Xeon

6 Families

 

INTEL CORE i9 logo

i9

X Family

 

 

Intel unveils the 8th Gen Intel Core processor family and launches the first of the family on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The 8th Gen Intel Core processors are designed for what’s next and deliver up to 40% gen over gen performance boost. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

i7

8th generation

i5

No Hyper-threading

 

 

 

 

Intel Xeon and i7/i9 chips compared – accurate(ish) as of June 2018

 

Intel makes processors form mobile to supercomputer.

 

“Many computer users would be amazed at the diversity of processor offerings from Intel.”

 

Professional Applications

Intel i7, i9, and Xeon

For those looking for a higher cache limit, or more RAM supported by their processors, the Xeon, for the most part, will out-perform the i5/i7 models. The Xeon processor line allows for a higher amount of RAM to be installed and configured for use. i7/i9 are restricted to 64GB, whereas some Xeon models can address 3TB.  Add in the standard hyper-threading and overall higher amount of cores in most models and the Xeon really makes its case for high workload situations.  Another application that the Xeon chips excel at it running multiple virtual machines (VM’s).  An i5 quad core might be limited to four VM’s while an E5-2699A-V4 could run 44 of them.

Portable computers with Xeon processors are available for military and aerospace applications from Portexa , and for commercial applications, from ACME portable.

 

 

Update: The Intel Xeon-E (which used to be Xeon E3) is now official.  See Anandtech’s Xeon E review for details

Consumer Applications

When comparing the i5, i7, and Xeon there are a few key aspects that you need to be aware of. Each of these processors has pro’s and con’s depending on the applications they will be used in, your budget, etc. 

A key difference between i5/i7 models and Xeon models is the availability of onboard graphics. Most i5/i7 models come with graphics controllers that can handle most basic gaming as well as basic video editing. This can be useful if you do not own a stand-alone Graphics card though for higher-end gaming and editing applications a graphics card is still needed. Xeon processors will need a separate Graphics card for High-end 3D gaming/video applications.

In the consumer world, one of the main differences between the i5/i7 models and Xeon processors are that i5/i7 models are generally easier to overclock. While some of the newer Xeon models can be overclocked for the most part they cannot. This can help you squeeze more power for the money out of a lot of i5/i7 models which makes a lot of sense if you are building your computer on a budget. For single threaded applications, this offers some of the best GHz per dollar metrics that you can find.

Update: i9-9900K has been released.  It’s an odd naming convention as it does not have the extra PCIe lanes or memory addressing capability of the other i9’s.  It’s really an 8 core i7.  The headline feature is a Turbo boost on up to two cores only to 5GHz.

Update: Intel-Core-X-series-Processors

Update2:Intel i9-9980XE by Anandtech

Update3: i9-9980XE v Threadripper 2950X

 

46

 

 

Chips compared

 

4

 

 

Minimum Cores

 

28

 

 

Maximum Cores

 

205W

 

Max Power Consumption

 

 

 

PCIe Lanes explained

An introduction

PCI Express, PCIe or Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, can be a somewhat complicated computer specification. When your computer first boots, PCIe is what determines the devices that are attached or plugged in to the motherboard. It identifies the links between each device, creating a traffic map and negotiates the width of each link. This identification of devices and connections uses the same protocol as PCI, so no changes were required when changing from PCI to PCIe in either software or operating systems.

A PCIe connection consists of one or more (up to sixteen, at the moment) data-transmission lanes, connected serially. Each lane consists of two pairs of wires, one for transmitting and one for receiving. There are 1, 4, 8 or 16 lanes in a single PCIe slot – denoted as x1, x4, x8, or x16. This is the difference between PCI connections which are parallel (32-bit or 64-bit bidirectional parallel bus) and PCIe which is basically a serial version of PCI.

If you need a portable computer with expansion slots – see ‘portable computers with expansion slots‘.

PCIe Lanes on a Motherboard`

PCIe Lanes

How do PCIe Lanes work?

PCIe is a multi-layered protocol – the layers being a transaction layer, a data link layer, and a physical layer.  The Data-link layer is sub-divided to include a media access control (MAC) layer.  Each lane consists of two unidirectional differential pairsoperating at 2.5, 5, 8 or 16 Gbit/s, depending on the negotiated capabilities. While on the other hand, transmit and receive are separate differential pairs, adding up to a total of four data wires per lane.

Each lane is an independent connection between the PCI controller of the processor chip-set (Southbridge) or the processor itself (which is almost always the graphics card slot) and the expansion card. Bandwidth scales linearly, so a four-lane connection will have twice the bandwidth of a two-lane connection. Depending on the expansion card’s bandwidth requirements, the slot may need to be sized accordingly.

PCIe connection diagram from How stuff works
From How Stuff Works

A physical PCIe x16 slot can accommodate a x1, x4, x8, or x16 card, and can run a x16 card at x16, x8, x4, or x1. A PCIe x8 slot can accommodate a x1 or x4 or x8 card but cannot fit a x16 card. Just to confuse the matter further, there are different versions of PCIe interface.  It’s also possible that a motherboard may have multiple slot sizes and also different PCIe versions: 1.0a, 1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0 and coming soon 5.0.  (Link to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express#PCI_Express_5.0)

BUS & Theoretical Bandwidth Available

BUS Bandwidth
PCI 1056 MBps
AGP 8x 2.1 GBps
PCIe 1.0 / x4 2 GBps
PCIe 1.0 / x8 4 GBps
PCIe 1.0 / x16 8 GBps
PCIe 2.0 / x4 4 GBps
PCIe 2.0 / x8 8 GBps
PCIe 2.0 / x16 16 GBps
PCIe 3.0 / x1 1.97 GBps
PCIe 3.0 / x4 7.88 GBps
PCIe 3.0 / x8 15.8 GBps
PCIe 3.0 / x16 31.5 GBps
PCIe 4.0 / x1 3.94 GBps
PCIe 4.0 / x4 15.75 GBps
PCIe 4.0 / x8 31.5 GBps
PCIe 4.0 / x16 63 GBps
Firewire 400 MBps
USB 1.0 12 MBps
USB 2.0 480 MBps
USB 3.0 4.8 GBps
USB 3.1 10 GBps​
Gigabit Ethernet 1 GBps
IDE (ATA 100) 800 MBps
IDE (ATA 133) 1064 MBps
SATA 1.5 GBps
SATA III 3 GBps
SATA 6 6 GBps

Why do PCIe Lanes matter?

Functions your CPU’s PCIe Lanes Control:

  • Onboard Video
  • PCIe 3.0 x16 Slot (usually for video card)
  • 2/U.2 (on some Enthusiast Boards)
  • LAN (on some Enthusiast Boards)

Other functions use your CHIPSET’s PCIe bus lanes. Functions CHIPSET’s PCIe Lanes control may control:

  • SATA hard drives
  • Onboard Sound
  • Onboard RAID
  • Onboard Network Controller/LAN
  • All PCIe slots except the first one
  • Thunderbolt
  • 2/U.2

Quoted amounts of PCIe bandwidth required by individual components:

  • 8-16 Lanes – x16 PCIe Video Cards (Each)
  • 8-16 Lanes – Other Specialized PCIe Cards
  • 4 Lanes – M.2 Drive
  • 4 Lanes – Thunderbolt (uses 4 lanes PCIe 3.0)
  • 4 Lanes – Hardware Based RAID Controllers
  • 2 Lanes (Each) – SSD Drives
  • 2 Lanes – USB 3.1 (Gen. 2)
  • 1 Lane – USB 3.0 (USB 3.1 Gen. 1)
  • 1 Lane – Sound
  • 1 Lane – Network Controllers

Which chips have the most PCIe lanes?

Different chips support different numbers of PCIe lanes. For example: Intel Core i5 or i7-8700K or i9-8950HK have up to 1×16, 2×8, 1×8+2×4 with a maximum of 16 PCIe lanes.  In addition, the 6850K and up i7’s have 40 lanes. The Intel Xeon E5-4669 v4 has a maximum of 40 PCIe lanes at PCIe 3.0, whereas the E7-8894 v4 has ‘only’ 32 lanes (per processor). AMD has upped the ante with their EPYC CPU’s – they have 128 PCIe lanes 3.0.

In the tech industry today, what makes this really complicated is that motherboard manufacturers have to make their motherboards support a range of processors which may have different numbers of PCIe lanes supported.  So a motherboard using a i7-6850K chip may have the capability to address multiple slots at x16, whereas with a ‘lesser’ chip ie. i7-8700K may be fewer lanes available, with only one slot being x16.  Just to complicate things further, NVME and other types of expansions require PCIe lanes. With NVME being a must-have feature for a modern motherboard, there are now even fewer lanes available to the expansion slots. 

Working out how to get the most out of a motherboard in terms of application performance becomes even harder when you need to choose how to connect to the real World.  PCIe lane allocation can make or break the performance of high speed boards like RAID controllers when they are operating near maximum capacity (which is now possible due to fast SSD storage). 

While there are some non-PCIe interface options being explored by computer manufacturers, they would also require major hardware changes. All in all, PCIe looks to remain crucial for a while longer, even while the form factor of the connection continues to evolve.