The PCI Special Interest Group is a group people and companies behind the scenes that work on the specifications for various PCI Express specifications. The group is reportedly hard at work on a new cable specification that will compete with Thunderbolt. The PCI SIG backers claim that the PCIe specification will be more open and optimal than Thunderbolt. Apple and Intel worked together on the development of Thunderbolt making it more proprietary.
The new cable that the group is working on will be based on PCIe 3.0 specification that offers up to four parallel lanes for a total throughput of 32 Gbits/second over distances of no longer than three meters. The early work on the new specification is based on copper technology we already have, but the spec is expected to migrate to higher speed and optical links in the future. The roadmap for the spec leads up to a whopping 16GT/s compared to the original specs 8GT/s.
The PCIe spec will support and power peripherals that need under 20W. The spec is expected to deliver the new standard in time for computer markers to get the standard into gear to hit market in 2013. The specification is expected to take up to 18 months to complete. The new spec will have a new cable design.