PCI-Express 4.0 is coming

What we know so far?

The fourth generation of the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) motherboard interface is right around the corner since AMD is going to adopt it with the upcoming series of motherboards and processors. The new standard will double the bandwidth available to graphics cards, hard drives, SSDs, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet cards.

The PCI-Express 4.0 standard maintains both backward and forward compatibility with older and newer specifications via both software and mechanical interface. In other words, PCIe 3.0 cards will work on motherboards with PCIe 4.0 slots and, PCIe 4.0 cards will be compatible to PCIe 3.0 motherboards.

PCIe slots can be configured with one lane or multiple of four lanes like x1, x4, x8, x16 and x32. Each new generation of slot doubles the bandwidth of the previous one. For example the PCIe 3.0 x8 interface will be replaced by PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. Furthermore, PCIe 4.0 will also bring the OCuLink-2 connector, a faster alternative to Thunderbolt 3.

As we have mentioned before, PCI-Express 4.0 should first land on the market with the upcoming AMD products. A few months ago, AMD has announced that its X570 chipset would support the PCIe 4.0 interface. Motherboard manufacturers will update the motherboard firmware on some 400-series motherboard to obtain partial PCIe 4.0 support. According to latest rumors, on the updated motherboards only the first slot will support PCIe 4.0 x16 interface.

The PCI-Express 4.0 might be short lived since PCI-SIG is working on PCI-Express 5.0 interface since a while. The fifth generation will offer 4x the bandwidth compared current PCI-Express 3.0 interface. Therefore a PCI-Express 5.0 x4 interface is going to offer the same bandwidth as a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. In addition, it would for example be possible to create 400Gb/s Ethernet interfaces for the enterprise environment.

Source: Own

News by Luca Rocchi and Marc Büchel - German Translation by Marc Büchel - Italian Translation by Francesco Daghini

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