pci express logoToday PCI-SIG, the organization that defines PCIe standards, announced that it ratified Version 0.9 of the PCI Express 5.0 specification. The PCI-SIG expects to ratify the final 1.0 revision in the first quarter of 2019, and the first PCIe 5.0 devices should debut this year.

Many companies offer devices when early revision 0.4 is ratified. Many launch new products at the 0.9 stage.

We are aware that the new third generation Ryzen processors expected from AMD soon will be supporting PCI Express 4. Given the doubling of performance for PCI Express 5 we suspect that PCI Express 4 will be short lived. We expect that PCI Express 5 may be released with the move to DDR5 in consumer motherboards in 2020 or 2021.

The PCI-SIG expects that PCI Express may have different speeds in coexistence . Most of the bandwidth with PCI Express 5 is needed with dual socket systems and extreme graphics devices.

Gaming needs are largely met now with PCI Express 3 which is fast enough to handle the smaller memory used with gaming machines. Even with 64GB of system memory, a memory mapped video card can be handled with DMA controllers quite handily.

The faster PCI Express 4 speed is presently found with some extreme SSD products in the high performance market. SSD and Optane devices can take advantage of the faster PCI Express speeds. The AMD FCH chip could benefit from PCI Express 4 speeds.

The faster PCI Express 5 speed for a gaming platform would reduce the number of lanes needed for a PCH device which could handle the input and output relieving the CPU to handle RAM and graphics cards. There is also finally enough bandwidth to move to 10GBASE-T for consumer motherboards with lower power devices.

Network hardware needs more and more bandwidth. The move to 400 gigabit speeds over fiber this year should relieve some of the bottlenecks. Standards are defined for rack based infrastructure and long distance carriers.

Gaming servers need extreme bandwidth so that lag in minimized. Fiber is already widely used with rack based server systems. The fast speed is critical for server to server communications.

PCI Express 4 and PCI Express 5 will still need supplemental power for graphics cards and other devices. This is to maintain backwards and forwards compatibility. We have several 850W power supplies with PCI Express cables ready for graphics cards as needed.