PCIe 4.0 And What Features Does It Bring

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PCIe 4.0 what can I say. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a change in terms of PCIe interfaces. In fact, the last change was brought upon in 2010 and it was the PCIe 3.0 interface. Alot has happened since then. So, with the new interface and a couple of years there’s bound to be a bunch of improvements with 4.0. If you’re still unsure what PCIe means let’s break it down…

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What Is PCIe?

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PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express. (Phew, that’s a lot to say.) It’s the standard for expansion cards in PCs. Most commonly seen connecting Graphics Cards to motherboards. These interfaces could also be used to add RAID, soundWi-Fi or SSD add-on cards. So, it’s quite versatile when it comes to adding on components.

There are a few PCIe slots on every desktop motherboard that you’ll see, go on and take a look but be careful. They would differ in size though.

Since this post is about PCIe 4.0, you should know that there’s versions before that such as 3.0, 2.0 etc. Well, that’s not the only thing that’s worthy of note. There are also different lanes to PCIe. You’d see a difference in the length of the PCIe 16x, 8x, 4x, 1x expansion slots. It is quite noticeable after all. The higher the number, the more lanes the expansion slot has. Which allows more data to flow between your card and the expansion slot it is inserted into.

What is PCIe 4.0?

PCIe 4.0 is the successor to PCIe 3.0 and brings about double the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0. (Rate at which data can be read.)

You’d get about 64 gigabytes per second (Gb/s) with 4.0 where previously we’ve seen that 3.0 only reached about 32Gb/s.

Since its bandwidth is doubled when compared to PCI 3.0, you’d assume it’s safe to say that PCIe 4.0 is better for gaming right? Well… it’s still too early to say because desktops have yet to fully grasp the speed of PCI 4.0. Frankly, many have said that at this point in time it’s not needed for gaming since 3.0 seems to work just fine.

With that in mind there are some who use it, however. Such as AMD who has rocked up with capabilities to utilize PCIe 4.0 albeit only with certain components. Take this for instance in January 2019 they announced their chipset x570 motherboard would support it with some motherboards such as the 300 and 400 series being able to update their BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) or firmware to be able to support it, though it would only be partial support.

PCIe 4.0 is mostly being used for SSDs (Solid State Drives) and it is with this component that you’d really see a performance improvement at this moment in time. Although there are graphics cards that use PCIe 4.0 it seems that it is only used for data centers and again it’s a card manufactured by AMD.

So…

With this very little info we have it is safe to say that it is still a bit too early to know what kind of improvements for PCs this new interface will bring.

Another thing worth a mention is that PCIe 5.0 might already be on its way due to the fact that PCIe 4.0 ended up being finalized late in the game. Because of this PCIe 5.0 ended up showing up or rather talked about just a couple of years after.

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