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PCIe 4.0 vs 5.0: Which is the Future of Computing?

PCIe 4.0 vs 5.0

PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a high-speed serial computer expansion bus standard that allows for high-speed communication between various computer components, such as a motherboard, CPU, graphics card, sound card, network adapter, and storage devices. It is designed to replace the previous PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) and AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) standards and offers significantly higher data transfer rates, lower latency, and improved scalability.

PCIe uses a point-to-point architecture, which means that each device connected to the bus has its own dedicated connection to the CPU, allowing for higher bandwidth and reduced communication overhead. It also uses a packet-based protocol, where data is transmitted in small packets with headers and checksums, improving data reliability and allowing for more efficient use of the bus.

PCIe comes in different sizes, known as “lanes”, with the most common sizes being x1, x4, x8, and x16, each providing different levels of bandwidth. The number of lanes a device uses determines the maximum amount of data it can transfer, with a single lane providing a maximum transfer rate of around 1GB/s.

PCIe is backwards compatible with older PCI and AGP standards, meaning that devices using these standards can still be used with a PCIe-enabled system, although they will not benefit from the improved performance of PCIe. PCIe is also hot-swappable, meaning that devices can be added or removed without the need to reboot the system, making it more flexible and easier to use.

What is PCIe 5.0?

PCIe 5.0 is the fifth generation of the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) interface, which is a high-speed bus standard serial computer expansion that connects various devices to a computer’s motherboard. It was officially released in May 2019, and it offers a maximum bandwidth of 64 gigabytes per second (GB/s) or 128 GB/s with PAM-4 encoding.

PCIe 5.0 is designed to provide faster data transfer rates, lower latency, and higher power efficiency than its predecessor, PCIe 4.0. It uses a new coding scheme called Pulse Amplitude Modulation 4 (PAM-4), which allows for a doubling of the data transfer rate per lane compared to previous versions. It supports up to 32 lanes, giving a total bandwidth of 2 GB/s per lane, which is ideal for high-performance computing applications.

One of the key features of PCIe 5.0 is its backward compatibility with previous generations of PCIe, allowing for easy integration with existing hardware and software. It is also designed to be forward compatible with future technologies such as optical networking, making it a versatile and future-proof interface.

PCIe 5.0 also introduces a new feature called Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) protection, which ensures data integrity during transmission. This feature is particularly important for high-speed data transfers where errors can have a significant impact on performance.

What is PCIe 4.0?

PCIe 4.0 (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express 4.0) is a computer bus standard that supports faster data transfer rates between the computer’s CPU and other peripheral devices. PCIe 4.0 is the Previous version of PCIe, and it provides a significant improvement in speed compared to its predecessor, PCIe 3.0.

PCIe 4.0 was developed by the PCI-SIG (Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group), a group of more than 900 member companies that includes major technology companies like Intel, AMD, IBM, and Microsoft. The standard was first announced in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2017 that it was released to the market.

The primary benefit of PCIe 4.0 is its increased speed. It supports a maximum data transfer rate of 16 GT/s (gigatransfers per second), which is double the speed of PCIe 3.0. This increased speed is achieved by increasing the number of lanes (data paths) in the bus. PCIe 4.0 has 16 lanes per slot, compared to PCIe 3.0’s eight lanes per slot.

Another advantage of PCIe 4.0 is that it’s backward compatible with previous PCIe versions. This means that PCIe 4.0 devices can be used in PCIe 3.0 or PCIe 2.0 slots, but the transfer speeds will be limited to the maximum speed of the slower version.

PCIe 4.0 is also designed to be more power-efficient than its predecessor, which is crucial for mobile devices that run on batteries. The standard supports a lower voltage (0.6 volts) and features several power-saving features that help reduce power consumption.

Comparison of PCIe 5.0 vs 4.0

PCIe 5.0 is the latest iteration of the PCIe standard, which promises to deliver twice the bandwidth of PCIe 4.0. With a maximum speed of 32 GT/s, PCIe 5.0 can transfer data at a rate of up to 128 GB/s, making it an ideal choice for high-performance applications like gaming and data centers. PCIe 5.0 achieves this by doubling the data rate per lane and increasing the number of lanes to 32, providing a massive boost in performance over PCIe 4.0.

Furthermore, PCIe 5.0 also includes new features like Forward Error Correction (FEC), which helps improve the reliability of data transmission, making it a must-have for modern computing systems. While PCIe 4.0 is still a viable option for many applications, PCIe 5.0 represents a significant upgrade in performance and features that can help unlock the full potential of modern computing systems.

A. Performance comparison:

PCIe 5.0 is the latest version of the PCI Express standard, with a maximum bandwidth of 32 GT/s (gigatransfers per second), doubling that of PCIe 4.0’s 16 GT/s. PCIe 5.0 offers a maximum data transfer rate of 128 GB/s (gigabytes per second) on a x16 lane configuration, while PCIe 4.0 offers a maximum transfer rate of 64 GB/s on the same configuration. Therefore, PCIe 5.0 provides twice the bandwidth of PCIe 4.0, which translates to better performance in terms of data transfer and I/O operations. PCIe 5.0 also supports a higher number of lanes than PCIe 4.0, which enables higher flexibility in system design and allows for more peripherals to be connected simultaneously.

B. Power Consumption Comparison:

PCIe 5.0 has improved power efficiency compared to PCIe 4.0, which means that it consumes less power while providing higher bandwidth. The improved power efficiency is achieved through better signal integrity, lower voltage requirements, and improved equalization techniques. As a result, PCIe 5.0 allows for the creation of more power-efficient systems that are critical in data centers and other high-performance computing applications.

C. Adoption Rate and Market Availability:

PCIe 5.0 was released in 2019, and it has gained significant traction in the industry, with several chipmakers, including AMD and Intel, supporting it in their latest CPUs and chipsets. However, PCIe 5.0 is still not widely adopted in the market, and there are still many devices and systems that use PCIe 4.0 or earlier versions of the standard. PCIe 5.0 devices and components are more expensive than their PCIe 4.0 counterparts, which can slow down the adoption rate. Nevertheless, as more devices and systems move towards higher bandwidth requirements, the adoption rate of PCIe 5.0 is expected to increase.

D. Impact on Gaming and other Applications:

PCIe 5.0’s higher bandwidth and improved power efficiency can significantly impact gaming and other high-performance applications. With PCIe 5.0, gamers can expect faster load times, higher frame rates, and improved overall gaming performance, particularly in data-intensive games that require high-bandwidth data transfer. PCIe 5.0 can also improve the performance of applications such as video editing, rendering, and scientific simulations that require high data transfer rates. However, the impact of PCIe 5.0 on overall system performance also depends on the other components in the system, such as the CPU, GPU, and storage devices.

Why PCIe 4.0 Now and PCIe 5.0 in The Future?

PCIe 4.0 was officially introduced in 2017 and offers several improvements over the previous version, PCIe 3.0. Here are the reasons why PCIe 4.0 is necessary and why PCIe 5.0 will be necessary in the future.

Faster Data Transfer Rates

One of the most significant advantages of PCIe 4.0 over PCIe 3.0 is its faster data transfer rate. PCIe 4.0 can provide up to 16GT/s (gigatransfers per second) per lane, which is twice as fast as PCIe 3.0’s 8GT/s. This means that data can be transferred between components more quickly, improving overall system performance.

Increased Bandwidth

Another benefit of PCIe 4.0 is its increased bandwidth. PCIe 4.0 can provide up to 64GB/s (gigabytes per second) of bandwidth for a 16-lane connection, compared to PCIe 3.0’s maximum of 32GB/s. This increase in bandwidth allows for more data to be transferred between components, resulting in faster system performance.

Support for New Technologies

PCIe 4.0 also supports new technologies that require higher bandwidth and faster data transfer rates, such as NVMe SSDs (non-volatile memory express solid-state drives) and GPUs (graphics processing units). These technologies can take advantage of PCIe 4.0’s increased bandwidth and faster data transfer rates to provide better performance.


PCIe 5.0 is the next version of the PCIe interface standard, and it is expected to be released in 2022. PCIe 5.0 will offer even faster data transfer rates and increased bandwidth, providing better performance for future technologies. By implementing PCIe 4.0 now, systems will be better prepared to handle the demands of future technologies that require PCIe 5.0.


In conclusion, PCIe 4.0 offers faster data transfer rates, increased bandwidth, and support for new technologies. It is necessary to keep up with the demands of modern technology. PCIe 5.0 will be necessary in the future to continue to improve system performance and keep up with evolving technologies.

While PCIe 5.0 may be the latest technology, our mini PC with PCIe 4.0 is not only cost-effective but also compatible with older PCIe devices, providing users with a versatile solution that can adapt to their changing needs.

Plus, with PCIe 4.0 being a proven technology that will be supported for years to come, you can rest assured that your investment in our mini PC will provide you with a reliable and future-proof solution. Experience the benefits of PCIe 4.0 with our mini PC today!




Jonathan is a Technical Support Engineer at GEEKOM. With years of experience under his belt, he is an expert at troubleshooting hardware and software issues, assisting customers with their inquiries, and providing clear and concise instructions to even the most technically challenged users.

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