PCI-SIG, the organization responsible for the widely adopted PCI Express (PCIe) industry-standard input/output (I/O) technology, today announced the approval of 16GT/s as the bit rate for the next generation of PCIe architecture, PCIe 4.0. This decision comes after the PCI-SIG completed a feasibility study on scaling the PCIe interconnect bandwidth to meet the demands of a variety of computing markets.
After technical analysis, the PCI-SIG has determined that 16GT/s (16Gb/s) on copper, which will double the bandwidth over the PCIe 3.0 specification, is technically feasible at approximately PCIe 3.0 power levels. The data also confirms that a 16GT/s interconnect can be manufactured in mainstream silicon process technology and can be deployed with existing low-cost materials and infrastructure, while maintaining compatibility with previous generations of PCIe architecture. In addition, the PCI-SIG will investigate advancements in active and idle power optimizations, key issues facing the industry.
The PCIe 4.0 specification will address the many applications pushing for increased bandwidth at a low cost including server, workstation, desktop PC, notebook PC, tablets, embedded systems, peripheral devices, high-performance computing markets and more.
“We have concluded that 16 GT/s is a feasible technical solution that satisfies our member companies’ requirements. While the preliminary analysis is encouraging, a lot more challenging work lies ahead in developing the specifications. The PCI-SIG looks forward to providing our members with a specification that not only satisfies their high performance requirements but also meets their power, cost and compatibility goals,” said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG chairman.
The final PCIe 4.0 specifications, including form factor specification updates, are expected to be available sometime in the 2014-2015 timeframe.
“Like its predecessors, the PCIe 4.0 architecture is well positioned to preserve the industry's investments in earlier generations of PCI Express specifications while extending the technology in a manner that enables new applications and usage models,” said Nathan Brookwood, research fellow at Insight 64.