PCIe 7.0 will connect computer components at speeds up to 512 GB / s …

The seventh edition of the standard that governs transfers between various electronic components such as graphics cards or solid state drives has been completed. It promises speeds of up to 512 GB/s on 16 lines!

It is the main protocol for connecting our computer components to a fast future. Very fast. While PCI Express 5.0 hardly hits the PC thanks to 12e The generation of Intel Core processors and PCI Express 6.0 were just completed at the beginning of the year, and now PCI Express 7.0 is showing the end of its nose. Set to be 2025 at best (there’s always a time between announcing the standard and finalizing it), PCIe 7.0 won’t spawn its first products until 2028…at best!

The PCI Express (referred to as PCIe) standard was initially introduced by Intel in 2003, initially intended to integrate AGP graphics ports and PCI PCI ports, the slots into which “slave” cards were slipped. The standard has more than won its bet because it is at the heart of data transfers for billions of devices, from smartphones to laptops to new generation memory cards (CF Express, etc.). It must be said that there are people behind this standard. Since its invention by Intel, the body that became PCI-SIG now has 900 member companies that influence the consortium. Consortium of Engineers who never fail to double the standard’s performance with each new release.

512 GB/s over 16 lanes

Regularly publishing the new standards, PCI-SIG Consortium engineers demonstrate flawless work to ensure ever larger data flows. While it currently requires x8 lanes of PCIe 4.0 (the most established standard at the moment) to send 32 GB/s between two components, PCIe 7.0 will do so on a single lane. And in high-bandwidth applications – graphics cards, SSDs – this throughput can be scaled up to x16 lines at 512GB/s!

PCIe standard speed developments.
PCIe standard speed developments. / HP

Be careful though: PCI Express is bi-directional, as is the advertised bandwidth. Which means 512 GB/s over 16 paths are allocated to both paths (in And the Outside). In a one-way transfer, from one SSD to another during copying, for example, the maximum throughput is 256 GB / s. Which is really not bad!

Interestingly, PCI-SIG works on speed as well as efficiency. Single lane sending 32 Gbit/s consumes less power while driving than x8 PCIe 4.0 lanes. Enough to save precious few watts in applications where flow rates aren’t or aren’t progressing.

Backward compatibility

PCI Express slots on the motherboard.
PCI Express slots on the motherboard.

Another achievement of PCI-SIG is that PCIe 7.0 will be compliant with all previous standards. Yes, on paper, if the physical shapes of PCIe cards are consistent and we continue to put graphics cards into our tower computers, a PCIe 1.0 graphics card from 2004 will theoretically be compatible with your PCIe 7.0 motherboard starting in 2030. But there’s a better chance That your operating system (or your needs!) will be no more compatible with this old card than the physical stuff in between.

This backwards compatibility — which today allows you to plug an old PCIe 3.0 SSD into a modern tower with an Intel Alder Lake processor without having to think — is one good example of the world of tech standards.

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