Work on the new PCIe 6.0 technology is underway, and according to the non-profit electronics industry association PCI-SIG, it is in the final draft stages. While it’s still early days, new information suggests that PCIe 6.0 will deliver speeds as high as 128GB/s, beating the previous gen by a mile. The current standard is still PCIe 4.0, with 5th generation technology yet to be released. Comparing PCIe 6.0 to the PCIe 4.0 standard gives even better results – PCIe 6.0 will be four times faster than the technology we’re using now.
PCI Express has to go through five phases before it is approved: concept phase, first draft, competition draft, final draft and release phase. The full draft phase was reached less than a year ago with version 0.7 of PCIe 6.0.
The current version is 0.9, which means that PCIe 6.0 is closer to the 1.0 version it will receive upon completion. This final draft version allowed a select crowd of PCI-SIG members to test and review the new standards provided by this technology.
PCIe 5.0 will provide much lower speeds per pin than what we’re likely to see from PCIe 6.0. The upcoming generation of this technology offers data transfer rates of up to 32GT/s per pin, while PCIe 6.0 may offer up to 64GT/s. It will also be able to transfer in all directions on its x16 interface.
Key metrics assembled by PCI-SIG include latency of less than 10 nanoseconds, an improved power efficiency compared to the previous generation, and full backward compatibility with PCIe 1.x with PCI 5.0. To achieve the requirements, manufacturers are expected to use Pulse Amplitude Modulation with four levels (PAM-4). One option is to adopt signaling, which is a technology found in GDDR6X memory.
In order to achieve the expected transfer speed with high efficiency, PCIe 6.0 will offer further error correction at the lowest possible latency. All of these efforts have been made to meet the set expectations for PCIe technology, which is that the in and out bandwidth should double once every three years with each new release.
While this all sounds exciting on paper, there are still some hurdles for developers and manufacturers, namely die cost and power requirements. It’s hard to predict when the new technology will be released, but it’s worth noting that we’re not even using PCI Express 5.0 yet.
It’ll start in use with the release of Intel Elder Lake expected later this year, so while it’s coming along well, it’s still a long way off until PCIe 6.0 gets anywhere in consumer hardware. will not be seen.