The PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) has released a finalized specification for PCI Express 6.0, which lays the foundations for SSDs with speeds that blow the current crop out of the water. The new PCIe 6.0 specification doubles raw data transfer speeds from 32GT/s to 64GT/s, as compared with the PCIe 5.0 specification.
The PCI-SIG was also able to maintain its track record of doubling bandwidth with each new generation. With PCIe 6.0, a single lane will be capable of reaching 8GB/s in each direction, scaling all the way up to 128GB/s per direction for an x16 configuration.
PCIe 6.0 specification
First announced in 2019, PCIe 6.0 will naturally pave the way for SSDs with read/write speeds that far exceed the current market leaders.
For context, the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSDs reach read speeds of roughly 7GB/s and write speeds of about 6.5GB/s. Meanwhile, PCIe 5.0 SSDs are set to enter the consumer market shortly, with reported read speeds of up to 12GB/s and write speeds of 11GB/s, and Samsung has unveiled an enterprise model with read speeds of up to 13GB/s.
Already, this is a level of performance that regular PC workloads do not require. However, the further advances on offer with PCIe 6.0 will create a range of opportunities in industries that rely on the processing and transfer of massive amounts of data.
“PCIe 6.0 technology is the cost-effective and scalable interconnect solution that will continue to impact data-intensive markets like data center, artificial intelligence/machine learning, HPC, automotive, IoT, and military/aerospace,” said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG Chairperson and President.
This message was reinforced by Ashish Nadkarni, Group VP at analyst house IDC, who says that PCIe 6.0 will help address the insatiable demand for performance increases across a number of data center sectors.
“Within three to five years the application landscape will look very different and companies will likely begin updating their roadmaps accordingly. The advancement of an established standard like PCIe 6.0 architecture will serve the industry well in establishing composable infrastructure for performance intensive computing use cases,” he said.
With the specification now finalized, the PCI-SIG expects the first PCIe 6.0 hardware to come to market within the next 12-18 months. In reality, this means the technology will make its way into servers at some point in 2023, and filter down into consumer PCs some time after that.