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PCIe 5.0 To Be Finalized In 2019; PCI-SIG Fast Tracks Final Spec

The PCI-SIG Developers Conference is in full swing in Santa Clara. The group just announced PCI Express 5.0 has entered the 0.3 release phase of development. Next comes 0.7 and then 1.0, the finalized specification released to manufacturers. Sources say the final release phase is expected in 2019 with 32GT/s for a single lane. For reference, that's the same speed we currently get from a PCI Express 3.0 x4 lane connection.

It takes a lot of time to sort out data when it's moving at high speeds. Your computer uses only PCIe 3.0 right now, but the consortium group didn't leapfrog PCIe 4.0. In a recent release, Silicon Motion, Inc., a fabless semiconductor SSD controller design house, said it will have PCIe 4.0 products ready in 2018 to coincide with Intel's 8th Generation processor release. Intel hasn't confirmed PCIe 4.0 on 8th Gen Core processors, but all signs lead us to believe the technology will come to market in Q2 or Q3 2018. AMD has publicly stated the company will target 2020 for PCIe 4.0.

“With the onset of Big Data, high-performance applications and the arrival of next generation non-volatile memories, storage devices have a voracious appetite for increasing performance,” said Amber Huffman, President of NVM Express, Inc. “We are pleased to see the PCI-SIG continue to evolve this interface technology to enable NVMe SSDs for the enterprise and data center to leverage the scalability of the PCIe architecture, both in higher bandwidth and lower latency.”

PCI Express 5.0 has companies excited, with many talking about technology we can only dream of today. Expect Ethernet to reach 400Gb/s, and dual 200Gb/s InfiniBand. These technologies feed advanced AI and machine learning for Big Data. The technology will also enable lower performance products like NVMe SSDs to utilize fewer lanes to achieve high speeds. The reduction in PCI Express lanes per device decreases power consumption and reduces engineering and R&D costs.

Several companies provided statements in support of the PCIe 5.0 specification.

“As GPU accelerators increase in performance, so does the need to supply them with data more efficiently. With an expected bandwidth that’s twice that of its predecessor, the new PCIe 5.0 standard will deliver the kind of speed necessary to further support advances in AI, machine learning, gaming, robotics, autonomous driving, virtual reality and more. NVIDIA looks forward to continued collaboration with our industry peers on the PCI-SIG Board of Directors and work groups to develop and complete the PCIe 5.0 specification.”~Michael Diamond, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, NVIDIA

“The ability to move and analyze growing amounts of data is critical for research, for products development and for achieving a competitive advantage. PCIe 5.0 technology, doubling the data throughout compared to PCIe 4.0 technology, combined with the data throughput roadmap of InfiniBand and Ethernet, will enable the data center ecosystem to leverage industry standard solutions to achieve maximum return on investment for future compute and storage platforms.”~Gilad Shainer, Vice President, Marketing, Mellanox Technologies