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It looks like PCI 5.0 will debut in 2019 at speeds of 128 GB/s

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June 13, 2017

We just learned that the Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) has revealed a new schedule for PCI version 5.0 to start sometime in mid-2019 at speeds of about 128 GB per second.

And that's even before it finalises PC v. 4.0 at 64 KB speeds, we are told. The SIG met last week for its annual DevCon symposium.

The main message we got from the conference is that I/O bandwidth needs to double every three years (remember Moore's Law?) if only to keep up with other expected network acceleration speeds like the advent of 400 Gbps Ethernet.

Hence the new schedule for PCI 5.0 to arrive in 2019, despite PCI 4.0 being still at version 0.9. It looks like some may be confused with all this, but hang on.

The other takeaway from the annual meeting is that even PCIE 4.0 is going to be impressively fast. As stated above, the specification calls for 64 GB/s of bandwidth.

However, PCIE 5.0 will feature all the streamlined applications of tomorrow: AI, machine learning, visual computing, fast storage and dual 200 Gb/s InfiniBand connections.

The extra bandwidth will also make GPUs more useful and allow them to be even more densely deployed across the whole IT community.

To be sure, PCIe 5.0 has already hit rev. 0.3 and been made available to the SIG's 700+ members to consider.

Many of those members are also hard at work on products for version 4.0, which at version 0.9 is considered feature complete and awaits only final approval.

The SIG asserts that it is seeing “unprecedented interest in our PCIe 4.0 compliance testing and early adopters have already tested a dozen 16 GT/s solutions”. (We'll see about that).

That level of interest is in no way surprising, as between clouds and workloads like AI there's seldom been more need for speed.

Some of the large PC and server makers are already members in the PCI-SIG, so once things are signed off, it won't take too long before the components ecosystem puts it into action, at least that's what people are hoping.

Furthermore, and alongside technologies like storage-class RAM, processors tailored for machine learning and 400 Gbps Ethernet, PCIe 5.0 looks set to accelerate computing in a significant manner in the coming years.

Source: PCI-SIG.


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