PCI Express 4.0 Underway
New technology will double the bandwidth of yet-to-come PCI Express 3.0.
Work on the PCI Express 4.0 interface is already underway, although PCIe 3.0 is still several months away. It is now known that the maximum bandwidth of the fourth generation will be around 16GT/second, with a raft of new features and capabilities expected.
According to EETimes, Al Yanes, president of the PCI SIG said, “The initial report we got yesterday is a PCI Express 4.0 is feasible – we have to work out the details, but it is feasible.”
The association is spearheading the development, which includes key players like AMD, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Data simulations are ongoing, and the companies expect to reach speeds of at least a humongous 16GT/second, which is equivalent to a scarcely believable 32GB/second. What’s more, the speeds will be achievable by the end of this year, according to sources.
PCIe 4.0 will continue using copper wiring for the sake of not having to switch to optics across the board, but the massively increased speeds will possibly require new manufacturing processes and materials. The problem at the moment is to maintain backwards compatibility with the existing technologies. Also, whereas PCI Express 3.0 is limited to distances of upto 20 inches, PCI Express 4.0 will in all likelihood be restricted to 12 inches or under.
“We think we can eke out one more turn of the crank out of copper, so we are not looking at optics yet,” said Ramin Neshanti, chairman of the PCI SIG’s serial communications working chair. Rest assured that the switch will have to be made, and it will likely be impossible to delay the switch until the next version of PCI Express. This will be the first time that the PCIe community will require substantial changes of board makers, who will then have to bear the increased cost of shifting over to optics.