The PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) says it has made available the release candidate of the PCI Express 2.0 specification to its members. According to a story on CNet, this release candidate is subject to a 60-day comment period, after which the spec will be finalized. PCI Express 2.0 doubles the current spec’s data transfer rate from 2.5Gbps to 5.0Gbps, giving an x16 PCIe 2.0 slot up to 16GB/s of bi-directional bandwidth. PCIe 2.0 is also backwards-compatible with PCIe 1.1 and PCIe 1.0, so new slots should accommodate existing PCIe x16 graphics cards. According to leaked roadmaps, both ATI and Intel are prepping chipsets with PCIe 2.0 support for the third quarter of next year.