PCIe 6.0 Is Already Outdated, So Here's The First Draft Of PCIe 7.0 – PC Perspective

PCIe 6.0 Is Already Outdated, So Here's The First Draft Of PCIe 7.0 – PC Perspective

Life in the fast lane

While we haven't even seen PCIe 6.0, the PCI SIG consortium has been busy developing PCIe 7.0 and today they released our first look at what it will be capable of. The new spec is unlikely to usher in super-fast GPUs, even though current generations of cards have more than enough bandwidth on PCIe 4.0 16x slots. This could present an interesting challenge for Phison and other SSD controller makers, who are saturating PCIe 5.0 connections but the real driver of the new spec is networking.

PCIe 6.0 specifications specify a theoretical maximum bidirectional bandwidth of 256GB/s from 16x slots, which is certainly impressive but not enough to feed the growing LLM industry. A PCIe 6.0 16x slot can only support a single 800Gb/s NIC, which is insufficient to meet the needs of large machine learning clusters and has led Intel, NVIDIA and others to adopt their own solutions. A PCIe 7.0 16x slot will offer double that theoretical bandwidth, and 512GB/s bi-directional bandwidth and that means we'll break the terabyte barrier with cards capable of 1.6Tb/s. It's not enough to match Nvidia's NVLink or AMD's Infinity Fabric interconnects but it should keep PCIe viable for 'slow' solutions.

This increase in bandwidth will also allow Compute ExpressLink to perform some interesting new tricks, the Register points out, making PCIe-attached RAM far more feasible. Take a look at how it might work and its potential uses here.

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