PCIe 5.0 still feels new, but version 7.0 is already official

Key Takeaways

  • PCIe 7.0 is set to be incredibly fast, aiming for a raw bit rate of 128 GT/s, doubling speeds from previous generations.
  • The upcoming specification will utilize PAM-4 technology for increased bandwidth, while maintaining low latency and high reliability.
  • Don’t expect PCIe 7.0 anytime soon, with a projected finish in 2025 and likely a few more years before widespread consumer adoption.

You’ve probably heard a lot about PCIe 5.0 in the past couple of years with SSDs starting to hit the market, but behind the scenes, the industry is progressing at an unstoppable pace. The PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) has just announced the first official draft of the PCIe 7.0 specification, which is technically version 0.5, after version 0.3 was originally shared to members of the group for review.

Indeed, PCIe 6.0 is almost two years old at this point, even though we haven’t seen any PCs use it yet, and PCIe 7.0 is expected to be finished in 2025.


PCI Express 5 (PCIe 5.0): Here’s everything you need to know about the new standard

PCIe 5.0 is the next big thing in the computing space.

PCIe 7.0 is going to be incredibly fast

An image showing a PCIe slot on a motherboard.

The big thing with each generation of PCIe is that the speeds double each time, and that’s no different this time around. The PCIe 7.0 specification is aiming to achieve a raw bit rate of 128 GT/s (gigatransfers per second), which equates to a whopping 512GB/s of bi-directional bandwidth on a x16 interface. For an x4 interface, like what’s typically used for SSDs, we’re talking about a maximum bandwidth of 128GB/s, which is four times what’s possible with PCIe 5.0 SSDs.

To achieve this, PCIe 7.0 will use PAM-4, or pulse amplitude modulation with four different voltage levels. Of course, the PCI-SIG is still focused on ensuring low latency and high reliability, critical for the proper function of a computer.

But you’ll be waiting a while

The PCIe 7.0 specification is planned to be finished in 2025, but in reality, you’ll be waiting a lot longer to see it. After all, PCIe 6.0 is still nowhere to be found on any PCs you can actually buy, and even PCIe 5.0 is basically exclusive to desktops, so this technology isn’t adopted nearly as quickly as it is developed.

It’s hard to say when you can expect PCIe 7.0 will make its way to consumer products, but just based on the trend with PCIe 6.0, it’s likely at least two years will be needed before this latest version is widely available. Of course, that means you’ll probably have even newer versions to look forward to by then.

Regardless, it’s interesting to see how quickly PCIe technology is evolving and exciting to think about the possibilities it might unlock in the future. For now, though, most will probably struggle to think of a use case for such high speeds.


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