Few peripheral interconnects are as common as PCI Express these days, so major changes to that standard are big news. Last week at IDF, Tom's Hardware got to sit down with the PCI Special Interest Group to get an idea of where the next major update to the standard will take the interconnect technology.
According to Tom's, the next version of the PCIe standard, version 4.0, will have two major updates over PCIe 3.0. For one, each PCIe 4.0 lane will be able to transfer data at speeds of 16 GT/s (just short of 2 GB/s), double that of PCIe 3.0's 8 GT/s. A PCIe 4.0 x16 slot will have a whopping 31.5 GB/s of potential bandwidth on tap, just under twice that of a PCIe 3.0 slot's 15.8 GB/s. Those boosts should give solid-state storage devices and graphics cards plenty of extra headroom to work with.
PCIe 4.0 will also provide much more power to connected devices through the slot itself. Though the PCI SIG didn't offer Tom's a final figure, the vice president of PCI SIG told the site that a PCIe 4.0 slot could provide anywhere from 300W to 400W or 500W, depending on what could be a range of potential specifications. That increase would allow a wide variety of graphics cards, including higher-end models, to draw all of the power they might need though the slot.
The PCI SIG tells Tom's that the PCIe 4.0 spec is on version 0.7 in its lifecycle. Version 1.0 of the spec should be available by the end of this year. Outside of some bleeding-edge products that incorporate the PCIe 4.0 version 0.7 spec today, however, it's not clear when we'll see motherboards or add-in cards that use the new standard for consumer PCs.