We may only be on the brink of PCI Express 3.0 right now, but the PCI-SIG, the organization responsible for the PCIe standard, today announced the approval of 16 gigatransfers per second (GT/s) as the bit rate for the next generation of PCIe architecture, PCIe 4.0.
The PCI-SIG said that it determined "after technical analysis" that the standard will support 16 GT/s on copper, which will double the bandwidth over the PCIe 3.0 specification, is technically feasible at approximately PCIe 3.0 power levels. The group also said that the new bandwidth can be easily integrated into existing manufacturing technologies and materials and infrastructure, also while maintaining backwards compatibility, all of which are a big part of the adoption of a new technology.
"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," said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG chairman. "While the preliminary analysis is encouraging, a lot more challenging work lies ahead in developing the specifications. The PCI-SIG looks forward to providing our members with a specification that not only satisfies their high performance requirements but also meets their power, cost and compatibility goals."
The PCIe 4.0 specification won't just be for next-gen graphics, however, as even tablets, embedded systems, and peripheral devices can benefit from increased bandwidth at low costs.
Yes, details are light, but that's because the final PCIe 4.0 specifications, including form factor specification updates, are expected to be available sometime in the 2014-2015 timeframe. For at least the next couple of years, PCIe 3.0 will be where it's at.