PCIe 7.0 draft specifications are now available, revealing 4x bandwidth gains over PCIe 5.0
The PCIe 7.0 draft 0.3 specifications have been released to PCI-SIG members
PCI-SIG have released their first major draft specification for PCIe 7.0 (version 0.3), allowing members of the special interests group to review the specifications and suggest changes as the standard’s development continues.Â
As always, the march of progress must always continue, and that is especially true for PCI-SIG. Currently, the group aim to double the bandwidth that PCI Express can deliver every three years, setting a clear upgrade path for hardware manufacturers while ensuring that the PCI Express standard remains relevant moving forward. With each iteration, PCI-SIG aims to increase the power efficiency, and bandwidth of PCI Express while maintaining the standard’s backwards compatibility.
Currently, PCIe 5.0 is now available on a wide range of PC motherboards and other products, with PCI-SIG having already completed their PCIe 6.0 standard. PCIe 6.0 products are expected to arrive within the next few years, by which time PCI-SIG should have completed their work on PCIe 7.0.
How powerful will PCIe 7.0 be?
PCIe 4.0 offered a 2x bandwidth boost over PCIe 3.0, with PCIe 5.0 offering a further 2x boost while PCIe 6.0 delivers an additional 2x performance boost. As you can likely guess, PCIe 7.0 targets an additional 2x bandwidth boost.
PCIe 7.0 should offer users an 8x bandwidth boost over PCIe 4.0. That means that 128GB/s of bandwidth will be available over a PCIe x4 connection, and 512GB/s of bandwidth will be available over a PCIe x16 connection. This will facilitate the creation of 100+ GB/s M.2 SSDs, and add-on cards that can offer users half a terabyte of data per second. That’s crazy.
Why do we need PCIe 7.0?
There are several reasons why we need PCIe 7.0. For starters, the standard’s development gives the PC industry a clear path forward, signalling that more bandwidth will be available though PCI Express in the future and that hardware manufacturers do not need to invest in proprietary interconnect standards to increase their potential bandwidth. These moves ensure that PCIe will remain relevant well into the future, and that is strong backwards compatibility can be maintained.
Another aspect of PCIe 7.0 is that is allows users to do more with less. A single PCIe 7.0 lane can offer users the same bandwidth as sixteen PCIe 3.0 lanes. Beyond that, PCIe 7.0’s focus on increasing the standard’s efficiency will impact both high bandwidth and low bandwidth devices. Being able to deliver more bandwidth for less power is a good thing for everyone.
Every three years, PCI-SIG hopes to continue doubling the bandwidth offered by PCI Express, and PCIe 7.0 is the latest target for PCI-SIG’s hardware roadmap. Next up is PCIe 8.0, and it should offer users 1TB/s of bandwidth over x16 lanes!Â
Currently, PCIe 7.0 is expected to be standardised and released to PCI-SIG members in 2025. Devices that support PCIe 7.0 will likely come in the years following this, likely in 2027 and beyond.