The PCI-SIG committee has unveiled the latest PCI Express 7.0 standard with blazing speeds, even as we still wait for two-generation-older PCIe 5 devices to arrive in quantity. Set to launch in 2025 and probably hit shelves around 2027, PCIe 7 will offer up to 512 GB/s of throughput, 8 times that of the latest PCI Express 5.0 speeds.
The 512GB/s bi-directional speeds will be available on x16 connections, but will be considerably reduced in the real world due to encoding overhead and header efficiency. Still, it’s double the PCI 6.0 standard that’s supposed to arrive by the end of the year. PCI-SIG (which is currently holding its annual developers conference) said that it’s ahead of its goal of doubling PCI Express speeds every three years.
All this speed depends on device and chip makers, though. Intel’s 12th-gen Alder Lake chips released in January 2022 do support PCIe 5.0, but AMD’s Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 desktop chips with PCIe 5.0 support won’t arrive until this fall. The first PCIe 5.0 SSDs for consumers have only just arrived with read speeds up to 13GB/s.
Other key features include improved power efficiency, low latency and backwards compatibility with previous generations. However, PCIe 7.0 will require shorter traces to achieve those speeds, so motherboards could be more expensive as they’ll likely require extra components and thicker PCBs.
On the plus side, even x1 PCIe 7.0 lanes will be as fast as PCIe 4.0 x16 speeds (32 GB/s), so storage and other devices could be smaller and hog fewer resources. Put another way, you could have four NVME SSD drive slots with each using just 1 PCIe lane, and all of them would be twice as fast as a PCIe5 x4 NVMe slot.