PCIe 6.0 Specifications Are On Track For 2021 Launch And Revision 0.3 Is Complete


AMD has already implemented PCIe 4.0 across a range of mainstream products with its Ryzen 3000-series processors and latest graphics cards, and Intel still hasn't offered support for PCIe 4.0 instead of being on PCIe 3.0, this is after Intel has canceled its plan for PCIe 4.0 on Comet Lake. Meanwhile, PCI-SIG, which makes the PCIe specifications, has announced version 0.5 of the upcoming PCIe 6.0 specs, this version features eight times the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0.

PCIe 6.0 spec's release date is reportedly on schedule for 2021, even when PCI 4.0 is just beginning to gain traction.

While PCIe 5.0 products have not been seen on the market, PCI-SIG first announced it'd be introducing a PCIe 6.0 spec in October, the drastic jump in bandwidth from PCIe 3.0 isn't a surprise as each new generation of PCIe doubles the bandwidth of the previous. Where PCIe has a bandwidth of 8 GTps per lane, PCIe 4.0 has doubles that figure to 16 GTps, and PCIe 5.0 increases the bandwidth, even more, PCIe 5.0's bandwidth is 32 GTps. Logically, PCIe 6.0 increase the bandwidth to 64 GTps per lane.

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Source: PCI-SIG

That bandwidth translates to about 8 GBps per lane of PCIe 6.0, which for a full sizes (16-lane) slot would equal out to roughly 128 GBps per slot, this could mean the end to full-length PCIe slots, one example of this would be that AMD's Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics card only needs eight lanes thanks to PCIe 4.0 support. These figures are 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. PCI-SIG has stated that the PCIe 6.0 specs are on track for delivery in 2021, this means that hardware vendors will start developing supporting products. "PCI Express technology has established itself as a pervasive I/O technology by sustaining bandwidth improvements for five generations over two decades," Dennis Martin, an analyst at Principled Technologies, said. "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."

The biggest market which will benefit from faster PCIe, at least initially, are high-computing platforms, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. It will take significantly longer before individual consumers start leveraging the increase in bandwidth. PCI-SIG is expected to share more information at its upcoming Developers Conference on June 3rd and June 4th.