PCIe 5 vs 4 vs 3 PCI Express Generation Specifications Comparison

This article compares the PCIe 5 vs 4 vs 3 PCI Express standards that offer incremental performance improvements over its previous gen. Read along to know more.

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PCIe connectivity is what you need the most when it comes to your computer interconnects. There have been several versions and generations of PCIe, with each of the generations offering additional achievements. The latest PCIe 5.0 is being launched in 2019 and is touted to be featuring a few exciting features. The Gen 5 is expected to offer about 32 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s) vs. 16GT/s, with an aggregate x16 interconnect serial link bandwidth of almost 128 Gigabytes per second (GBps).

Also Read: Best m.2 PCIe 4.0 Gen 4 NVMe SSDs

What exactly is PCIe?

PCIe is the acronym for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express. The standard is used for connecting the internal components on a computer or laptop. The PCIe is a term correctly used for the different expansion slots on a PC or laptop, which accepts the different PCIe cards.

You have access to multiple expansion slots. The internal components on a computer can be connected using several different connectivity options. PCIe has been treated to be the best possible option among them. The PCIe standard does provide access to improved and enhanced performance options. You can be assured of low latency and high-speed performance standards.

PCIe alone may not be an easy option as such when it comes to general understanding. One of the terminologies that would be confusing enough can be  PCIe x 1, PCIe x4, or PCIe x 8. The number after X would indicate the multiplicity offered by the PCIe interface concerned. Ideally speaking, it would represent the number of pins along with the length of the connection.

A PCIe slot would be dependent upon the number of PCIe lanes it can provide you access to. The details for the PCIe slots and paths would be

X15 Gbps / 400Mbps
X420 Gbps / 1.6 Gbps
X840 Gbps / 3.2 Gbps
X1680 Gbps / 6.4 Gbps

The PCIe versions can be used with backward compatibility. You should be able to use any of the pin-compatible devices on any other version. However, using a higher generation connection on a lower generation device would lower the performance of the serial bus. Even the installation on any of the slots would be permitted and does work. However, the return will be bottlenecked to the standard of the lower version. For instance, you can use the X8 card on an X1 slot, but you will not get the performance of the data transfer performance of X8, but it will be limited to X1.

PCIe 4.0 – What does it offer You?

While PCIe 5.0 is just around the corner, the PCIe 4.0 version seems to be the in-thing even now. The launch of SSD drives and graphic cards with the PCIe 4.0 standard should indicate this fact.

The PCIe 4.0 standard was launched in mid-2017, and the devices powered by the rule have become prominent two years after. What are the advantages offered by the platform? A few pointers and facts here can be a good indication.

  • It offers you access to a data transfer speed of 16 GT per second.
  • A newer DLLP functionality
  • It aids the high performance I/O technology
  • It can help meet the Big Data requirements.

What will PCIe 5.0 bring ahead?

Of course, it can be too early to predict the new generation of PCIe 5.0. The new standard will be making a debut in 2019. Given the fact that PCIe 4.0 took two years to go, mainstream should be an example in itself.

The PCIe 3.0 standard is one of the long-standing rules ever. We would not think PCIe 4.0 stands for such a benefit. The high-end standards offered by the new standard of PCIe 5.0 would make it one of the preferred options when it is made commercially available.

PCIe VersionTransfer Rate (Giga Transfers per second)Throughput
PCIe 3.08 GT per secX1 – 984 MB per sec

X4 – 3.94 GB per sec

X8 – 7.88 GB per sec

X16 – 15.8 GB per sec

PCIe 4.016 GT per secX1 – 1969 MB per sec

X4 – 7.88 GB per sec

X8 – 15.75 GB per sec

X16 – 31.5 GB per sec

PCIe 5.016 GT per secx1 – 7.88

x2 – 15.75

x4 – 31.51

x8 – 63.02

x16 – 126.03

The PCIe 5.0 standard is designed to offer you a 32 GT per second data transfer performance. The PCIe 4.0 standard may not as yet go out of the reckoning as, however. It should be noticed that the motherboard chipset manufacturers like AMD have been investing slowly enough in the PCIe 4.0 concept. As such, we do not expect them t jump ship right away and abandon the development of PCIe 4.0.

The PCIe 4.0 and 3.0 are expected to rule the roost for some time now.

However, it may understand a few key parameters you can expect with the new PCIe 5.0 version.

  • Support for 4000 series Gb Ethernet solutions
  • 50 GB connectivity in both directions
  • Total full-duplex up to 128 GB/s
  • The connector comes with support for backward compatibility with add-in cards

The standard is set for a release in 2019.

What is the difference between PCIe 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0?

The comparison guide for the best features offered by PCIe 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 should be clear with the following head-to-head chart.

PCIe VersionRaw BitrateLink BandwidthBandwidth per laneTotal bandwidth
PCIe 3.08.0 GT per sec8 GB per sec1 GB per sec32 GB per sec
PCIe 4.016GT per sec16 GB per sec2 GB per sec64 GB per sec
PCIe 5.032 GT per sec32 GB per sec4 GB per sec128 GB per sec


That was it. That should provide you a clear understanding of what to expect from the PCIe 5.0 and how effective it would be compared to the PCIe 4.0 or PCIe 3.0.

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