By: Muhammad Zuhair Haider Zaidi
PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) unveils draft specifications version 0.3 of PCIe Express 7.0, opening new doorways in the technology. The company will update more on the technology at its annual developer conference being held in Santa Clara.
PCIe Express 7.0 Will Feature Significant Improvements From Previous Generations
PCIe Express 7.0 is set to feature speeds yet to be seen in the industry. It is expected to include speeds of up to 128 GT/s per pin, a substantial improvement from previous generations. It will feature double the bandwidth for PCIe devices featuring 16GB/s of full-duplex, bidirectional bandwidth, which is a significant increase since PCIe 6.0 comes with 8GB/s.
The new version 0.3 draft is set to be provided to various board members. This is the first step towards making the technology more widely accessible. The draft lets consumers and group members know about the potential of PCIe Express 7.0 hence garnering interest.
The new technology will feature PAM4 signaling and 1b/1b flit mode encoding, similar to what we saw in PCIe 6.0. The main changes are in the physical layer development, resulting in improved performance. PCI-SIG has set a timeframe for PCIe 7.0 to achieve complete development. The company expects the technology to go live by 2025 after initial testing and development are completed. Moreover, PCI-SIG has also disclosed information about the compliance program, which is certification for large-scale industries. Here is what the company has to say about it.
A compliance program for the specification, in turn, should be up and running in 2027. The compliance programs are the functional barometer for hardware availability, as compliance testing and certification is effectively necessary before any large-scale commercial hardware using the new spec can ship. And with few exceptions, these tend to take 2 to 2.5 years to put together.
All of which is to say that the first commercial PCIe 7.0 products are not expected until at least 2027 – five years from now – underscoring that there is still a lot of work to go for PCIe 7.0 following this initial draft.
Apart from developing PCIe Express 7.0, the company is also working to add final touches to its PCIe 5.0 and PCIe 6.0 technology. Improvements are being made, particularly in cabling, with an option to maintain/extend the channel, creating a more efficient cabling network. Two different cabling specifications are expected to be launched into the markets by Q4 2023, featuring PCIe 5.0 and PCIe 6.0.
As mentioned by the company itself. PCIe Express 7.0 isn’t expected to be in consumer markets by 2027, and prior generations, such as PCIe 6.0, are still in the testing stages. With that in mind, although the technology has great potential, it still has a long way to go.