What is PCIe 4.0? Should you update it as soon as possible?

The long-awaited PCI Express 4.0 update will finally reach a computer. At least, if you buy a new computer or upgrade the hardware For your system, you can opt for PCIe 4.0 much faster than the current 3.0 standard.

But what is PCIe 4.0? Will it help your system to boot faster? This is the new thing you'll see with PCIe 4.0.

What is PCIe?

The Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) standard is a common motherboard connection. Allow several bits of system hardware to communicate with the motherboard and other parts of your system.

Specifically, PCIe relates to system expansion cards, such as a graphics card (GPU), sound card, Wi-Fi card or M.2 NVMe SSD.

As with most things, the higher the number, the faster the connection. PCIe 4.0 is the fourth iteration of the standard. The details of the PCIe 4.0 standard were published in mid-2017. However, until now, any motherboard or chipset manufacturer has implemented the new standard on the next hardware.

Your motherboard will have several PCIe slots. These slots come in several sizes: x1, x4, x8 and x16. The numbers detail how many slots the PCIe slot has. Thus, more slots equals a faster data connection. Most modern expansion cards work best in an x16 slot.

That is because it has the fastest data transfer rate. For example, a modern GPU will use an x16 slot to transfer data quickly to ensure you experience a smooth and consistent game.

An exception is for the form factor M.2. M.2-based expansion cards are not compatible with the standard PCIe slot design. Instead, M.2 expansion cards use M.2 PCI Express connections with two or four slots. Similarly, PCIe M.2 replaces the old mSATA standard.

Is PCIe 4.0 faster?

Yes, PCIe 4 is faster than the previous generation, PCIe 3. It is almost twice as fast, doubling the data transfer rate to 16 gigatransfers per second (G / Ts). However, G / Ts are not a very useful data transfer measure for the vast majority of users.

In more useful terms, an x16 PCIe 4.0 slot (the largest slot) has a unidirectional data transfer of up to 32 GB / s. That means you can have a maximum of 64 GB / s in both directions. However, using the largest amount of 64 GB / s does not make much sense, since that rate is not achieved in one direction.

Even so, 32 GB / s is a significant improvement in PCIe 3.0, which exceeds 16 GB / s.

What hardware accelerates this component?

Certain hardware bits will receive higher performance from this standard than others. Updates affect your system expansion cards, such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet and graphics card. However, an update does not always offer an immediate boost. Why? Well, some of your system hardware is already working at capacity.

Take your graphics cards as an example. The idea of ​​increasing your capabilities is great, right? Well, unless you're playing at a resolution of 3840 × 2160 with a refresh rate of 144Hz, it's not even exceeding the current PCIe 3.0 standard.

Intel's research on the impact on the game of PCIe 4.0 shows that current hardware still has a performance gap before maximizing the current standard.

The highest immediate performance gains for this standard come in the storage of your system. The Corsair Force Series MP600 M.2 SSD is compatible with PCIe 4.0 and, with that, data transfer speeds of up to 5 GB / s.

Something you might notice about the Corsair MP600 is the huge heatsink. You must assume that a significant increase in temperature accompanies the increase in speed of that standard, so it is something else to consider.

Can you buy hardware that uses this standard?

The introduction of new hardware compatible with PCIe 4.0 is what attracts the attention of companies and consumers alike.

AMD X570 chipset

The AMD Ryzen CPU series continues to use the same processor socket: AM4. Your Ryzen CPU is interchangeable for any motherboard with an AM4 socket, regardless of the Ryzen CPU generation.

The difference now for AMD CPU owners is that if you want to use the faster PCIe 4.0 standard, you need a new motherboard built into the new standard.

The new AMD X570 chipset will support the factory PCIe 4.0. Prior to the announcement, lots of updates added PCIe 4.0 support to some AMD motherboards, primarily X470 and X370 models of higher specification.

But due to the demands of this standard, retrospective updates are not possible for all chipsets. Therefore, AMD will no longer issue updates for PCIe 4.0 for existing chipsets.


In another place, you can buy the system storage prepared for PCIe 4.0. At Computex 2019, a global computer development conference, Gigabyte announced a solid-state hard drive with an obscene 8 TB standard.

Technically, four 2TB hard drives intertwined on a single GPU-style expansion card, the unit has an amazing read and write rate of 15,000 MB / s

If that sounds a bit like an exaggeration, Gigabyte also released the AORUS NVMe Gen4 Solid State Hard Disk (SSD). The AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD achieves a read speed of around 5,000 MB / s and a write speed of 4,400 MB / s. The AORUS comes in sizes of 1TB or 2TB.

When could PCIe 5.0 come?

Just when PCIe 4.0 starts to gain speed, people are already waiting for the new standard. This is because PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG), the developers of the PCIe standard, announced PCIe 5.0 shortly after these devices finally hit the market.

The finalized PCIe 4.0 specifications are arriving a couple of years late, causing some overlap between the two standards.

PCIe 5.0 will double the data transfer bandwidth again. That means an increase to 32 G / Ts, or a unidirectional transfer rate of up to 64 GB / s.

Should you upgrade to hardware 4.0?

The difficulty here lies in knowing where the computer hardware is going. The reception of the standard in question is disappointing, to say the least. This is likely due to the fact that most of the hardware is not making the best use of the existing standard, plus the knowledge that, within the next two to five years, PCIe 5.0 will begin to enter hardware production.

In that, the delay to standard 4.0 creates a difficult situation. If you were already updating and have money to spend, it is worth considering it is standard 4.0. If you are mid-cycle, or are simply looking at a speculative update, you may have to wait until more is known about the time frame for PCIe 5.0.