Recently, motherboard manufacturers have been fighting their hardest to differentiate their products from one another in an effort to re-invigorate the stagnant PC business. A lot of this messaging has taken a very aggressive turn, where companies have blatantly called out or attacked competing products for not being the real deal or being up-to-speed.
The harsh reality is that motherboards are generally going to stay within a certain performance range. It boils down to add-in value like UEFI BIOS, native USB 3.0 support, premium sound cards or higher-end network adapters to really gain a competitive advantage.
So it is no surprise that when PCI-E Gen 3 was announced, it caught the eye of enthusiasts who have an insatiable demand for speed. At eight Giga Transfers per second (8 GT/s) bit rate, the bandwidth was doubled for PCI-E 3.0, making it the natural evolution from the long-in-the-tooth 2.0 standard. It also became a race for marketing departments to see who could implement this technology first as a way to grab this high-end, influential market.