PCIe 6.0 and 7.0 Standards Hit a Hurdle – Compatibility Slow May Lead to Greater Latency


Earlier this week, PCI-SIG, the organization responsible for the development of the PCI Express specification, held its 2024 developer conference where it provided an update on the progress of PCIe 6.0 and PCIe 7.0, noting that while progress is being made, it is slower than initially expected. As a result, according to reports, the implementation of up-to-date technologies may encounter some delays Computer Database.

In particular, PCI-SIG is delaying the start of its compliance program. Initial compliance testing for PCIe 6.0 was scheduled to begin back in March, but has now been pushed back to “Q2,” which theoretically means it will begin soon. A three-month delay does not seem to be a gigantic problem, since the first PCIe 6.0 platforms will not appear on the market until later this year. The problem is that the list of integrators of compatible products will not be available until 2025. PCIe 6.0 platforms will have to rely on PCIe 5.0 hardware or apply parts of PCIe 6.0 without formal compliance guaranteed by PCI-SIG.

- Advertisement -

For PCIe 7.0, the situation is getting worse as the PCIe 7.0 Compliance Program schedule has also been pushed back, with compliance testing pushed to 2028 instead of the previously announced 2027. PCIe 7.0 development has reached draft 0.5, with final 1.0 expected in 2025 . This version aims to provide data transfer speeds of 16 GB/s per lane, with a maximum configuration offering 256 GB/s. Dual-simplex operation can reach speeds of up to 512 GB/s, doubling the 256 GB/s with PCIe 6.0. However, with no way to ensure compatibility between hosts and devices until 2028, PCIe 7.0 won’t really arrive until the end of this decade.

(Image: PCI-SIG)

In August 2023, PCI-SIG launched a working group to solicit industry input on developing optical interconnects for PCIe. This Optics Working Group is designed to be technology agnostic and encompass a variety of optical technologies while potentially creating specific form factors for PCIe solutions. These package components may include pluggable optical transceivers, on-board optics, packaged optics, and optical I/O.

At the developer conference, PCI-SIG provided an update on its optical initiatives. The group is currently working on updating the logical and electrical layers of the PCIe 6.0 specification to integrate up-to-date optical standards. A significant update, known as an engineering change request (ECN), is expected to be completed by December 2024 to improve existing electrical standards without replacing them. In addition, the working group has started work on standardizing optical PCIe for the PCIe 7.0 specification, with the target release of this solution being 2025.

Related articles