PCI Express 4.0 (PCIe 4.0) first look at new standard’s specs

By Posted 1 Dec 2011, 13:09

The PCI-SIG has recently revealed the first-ever details regarding PCI Express 4.0, aka PCIe 4.0, today we will give you a quick run through of what we know so far, however we must clearly state that full details have not been divulged just yet.

According to this press release PCIe 4.0 will be capable of delivering 16 gigatransfers per second (16 GT/s), this means that the upcoming standard should boast double the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 at similar power levels.

At the moment it is worth knowing that nothing has been set-in-stone, therefore the impressive throughput at PCIe 3.0 power levels is “technically feasible”, but later in the press release it does suggest that the final PCIe 4.0 specifications won’t be fully revealed until 2014-2015.

In the press release it clearly states that the PSI-SIG will be looking into both idle and active power consumption, not only this but steps will be taken to ensure that previous generations of PCIe will still be compatible and we are also told that delivering low-cost, high-performance I/O technology is still paramount. Here’s what PCI-SIG’s chairman, Al Yanes, had to say about PCIe 4.0:

“Experts in the PCIe Electrical Workgroup carefully analyzed a number of target bit rates for the next generation of PCIe architecture, taking into consideration several key factors, including our ability to continue using low-cost materials. We have concluded that 16 GT/s is a feasible technical solution that satisfies our member companies’ requirements,”

I still remember when AGP 8x graphics cards were the best options available to gamers, the jump from that to PCIe 1.0a in 2003/2004 was massive and since then PCI Express cards have dominated the market. Currently top-end graphics cards utilize the PCIe 2.0 port, however PCIe 3.0 motherboards and graphics cards should emerge sometime in 2012, perhaps in April 2012 when Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors are said to arrive – it’s mad to think that we are already talking about PCIe 4.0!

Do you think that PCI Express has a tough future given how advanced some system on chips are becoming?

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