Parallel bus vs Serial bus

Parallel bus vs Serial bus

In a computer, a bus is a communication system that transfers data between components inside a computer, or between computers. This expression covers all related hardware components such as wire, optical fiber, and software, including communication protocols. The term is used for any physical arrangement that provides the same logical function as a parallel electrical bus. Modern computer buses can use both parallel and bit-serial connections and can be wired in either a multidrop (electrical parallel) or daisy chain topology, or connected by switches hubs, as in the case of USB.

Buses can be parallel buses, which carry data words in parallel on multiple wires, or serial buses, which carry data in the bit-serial form.

Serial computer buses are becoming more common even at shorter distances, as improved signal integrity and transmission speeds in newer serial technologies have begun to outweigh the parallel buses advantage of simplicity and to outstrip its disadvantages. The migration from PCI to PCI Express is an example. Integrated circuits are more expensive when they have more pins. To reduce the number of pins in a package, many ICs use a serial bus to transfer data when speed is not important.

Serial vs Parallel

  • A parallel link transmits several streams of data simultaneously along multiple channels (e.g., wires, printed circuit tracks, or optical fibers); whereas, a serial link transmits only a single stream of data.

  • A serial link may seem inferior to a parallel one since it can transmit fewer data per clock cycle, it is often the case that serial links can be clocked considerably faster than parallel links in order to achieve a higher data rate.

  • Serial is cheaper to implement than parallel.

  • A serial connection requires fewer interconnecting cables (e.g., wires/fibers) and hence occupies less space. The extra space allows for better isolation of the channel from its surroundings.

  • Many ICs have serial interfaces, as opposed to parallel ones so that they have fewer pins and are therefore less expensive.

  • A parallel bus is and always has been widely used within integrated circuits.

  • Parallel buses were commonly used in earlier system buses, whereas serial buses are prevalent in modern computers.

  • When data is sent using parallel data transmission, multiple data bits are transmitted over multiple channels at the same time.

  • Parallel transmission can transfer data faster, it requires more transmission channels than serial transmission.

  • Parallel is easier to program.

  • Parallel buses have a relatively large number of wires bundled together that enable data to be transferred in parallel. This increases the throughput, or rate of data transfer, between the peripheral and computer. SCSI buses are parallel buses.

  • Serial buses are used for long-distance communication. Eg, Computer to the computer. Parallel buses are used for short distance. Eg, computer to a printer.

  • Serial Transmission is full duplex as the sender can send as well as receive the data whereas, Parallel Transmission is half duplex since the data is either sent or received.

  • Serial transmission cables are thinner, longer and economical in comparison with the Parallel Transmission cables.

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