The PCI-SIG, the consortium which makes the PCIe specifications, has announced version 0.5 of the upcoming PCIe 6.0 standard. The PCIe 6.0 Standard is about eight times more powerful than the common PCIe 3.0 Standard.
AMD, which has moved its entire line of CPUs and GPUs to the new 7nm Fabrication Node, has just been able to implement PCIe 4.0. In other words, all the mainstream AMD products, including the Ryzen 3000-series processors and latest graphics cards, support PCIe 4.0. Meanwhile, Intel still hasn’t offered support for PCIe 4.0. However, that hasn’t stopped PCI-SIG from forging newer protocols for the PCIe 6.0 Specifications.
PCI-SIG Plans To Release PCIe 6.0 Final Specifications Release In 2021:
There are no products, from any tech company, that currently supports PCIe 5.0. In fact, only AMD has been able to successfully adopt and implement PCIe 4.0. Intel, on the other hand, had merely planned to implement PCIe 4.0 on Comet Lake Series Processors but backed out recently. This has caused several PC component and peripheral manufacturers to revise their product lineup. Despite the slow march of evolution, PCI-SIG plans to release finalized specifications of PCIe 6.0 in 2021.
Revision 0.5 of the #PCIe 6.0 spec is open to members. The upcoming spec will deliver a 64GT/s #data rate, doubling the bandwidth of previous specs. Review the blog by Al Yanes to gain insights about PCIe 6.0 technology: https://t.co/TrlMscbBkG pic.twitter.com/hlWSSBVFXL
— PCI-SIG (@pci_sig) February 27, 2020
PCI-SIG (Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group) first announced it’d be introducing a PCIe 6.0 spec in October 2019. The PCIe 6.0 reportedly features eight times the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0. The exponential jump in bandwidth from PCIe 3.0 isn’t a surprise as each new generation of PCIe Standard effectively doubles the bandwidth of the previous Standard.
The PCIe 3.0 supported bandwidth of 8 GTps per lane. PCIe 4.0 doubled it to 16 GTps. The PCIe 5.0 Standard currently features a bandwidth of 32 GTps. Hence logically, PCIe 6.0 will be able to increase the bandwidth to 64 GTps per lane.
PCIe 6.0 Specifications And Features:
About 64 GTps of bandwidth per lane for the PCIe 6.0 translates to about 8 GBps per lane. A current-generation 16-Lane slot would be able to support 128 GBps per slot. If this materializes on motherboards, there would be no need to have full-length PCIe slots. With PCIe 4.0, the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics card only needs eight lanes, and that is a good example of the growing capacity.
— OC3D (@OC3D) February 27, 2020
The high bandwidth is achieved by encoding with Pulse Amplitude Modulation with four levels (PAM-4). The specification also features low-latency Forward Error Correction (FEC) and is expected to be compatible with all previous versions of PCIe. In other words, there will full backward compatibility when PCIe 6.0 standard will start appearing in mainstream products. PCI-SIG should share more information at its upcoming Developers Conference, scheduled to take place on June 3rd and June 4th.
When Will PCIe 5.0 and PCIe 6.0 Specifications And Standards Arrive In Consumer And Professional Grade Computer Products?
As mentioned earlier, Intel is still struggling with PCIe 4.0, while AMD has just implemented the same. In other words, the most common specification is still PCIe 3.0. It will be a long time before PCIe 4.0 becomes commonly prevalent. The PCIe 5.0 Specifications were finalized in May 2019, but there are no companies that have even begun to experiment with their hardware and make them PCIe 5.0 compliant.
PCIe 6.0 speifications leaked online! https://t.co/obyZP86dF1
— Inspire2Rise™ (@Inspire2Rise) February 22, 2020
PCI-SIG has stated that the PCIe 6.0 specs are on track for delivery in 2021. Theoretically, this means hardware vendors will start developing supporting products. Speaking about the PCIe 6.0 Specifications, Dennis Martin, an analyst at Principled Technologies said,
“PCI Express technology has established itself as a pervasive I/O technology by sustaining bandwidth improvements for five generations over two decades. With the PCIe 6.0 specification, PCI-SIG aims to answer the demands of such hot markets as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, networking, communication systems, storage, High-Performance Computing, and more.”
— OC3D (@OC3D) October 16, 2019
As and when PCIe 6.0 Specifications are adopted by hardware manufacturers, it will initially benefit mostly Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning clusters. Realistically, common PC users and consumers shouldn’t expect any products from popular hardware manufacturers to offer PCIe 6.0 compliant PC components to arrive anytime soon.