Skip to main content

After a seven-year wait, PCI Express 4.0 will turbocharge your next PC

Plextor M8Pe PCIe SSD
Brad Borque/Digital Trends
A new iteration of the humble PCI Express (PCIe) port could open up the floodgates for even more powerful graphics cards in the future, by increasing the available bandwidth by 100 percent. The new PCI Express 4.0 standard allows for the transfer of up to 64GBps in a duplex ×16 port.

PCI Express technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade and a half. It’s gone through several iterations, each one doubling available bandwidth. That has helped improve the capabilities of single and multiple graphics card configurations, and has also enabled the use of high-speed solid state drives (SSD) in form factors like M.2.

The debut of the latest generation of PCIe was announced by chairman and president of PCI-SIG, Al Yanes. He said in his blog post that PCIe 4.0 would bring about not only improved scalability for added lanes and bandwidth but a reduction in system latency, better lane margining, and “improved I/O virtualization.”

Although this sort of development will mostly benefit those running higher-end systems, especially those with multiple graphics cards in a single PC, there are potential benefits to those in lower-end systems, too. As ExtremeTech highlights, increased bandwidth for PCIe ports means that few lanes are required for devices. That means it should be possible for M.2 SSDs, or high-speed network cards to operate in ×1 or similar PCIe ports.

PCIe 4.0 also opens up the possibility of achieving greater power from external graphics cards, helping to leverage their full potential without needing to have them plugged directly into the motherboard.

As usual though, this sort of technology will take time to proliferate. Typically it can take months and even up to a year to see a new standard become commonplace. It will likely be found first in high-end motherboards before making the transition to lower-tier systems as time goes on.

As for the future, the PCI-SIG organization is already hard at work on PCI Express 5.0 — and that one is slated to show up much sooner. Although PCIe 4.0 took seven years to finalize, there are rumblings that 5.0 could take just two years to be standardized in the same fashion. That’s quite an ambitious goal, but if adhered to, could generate some big leaps in internal hardware capabilities over the next few years.

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
This new Windows 11 setting could improve performance and battery life
Windows 11 updates are moving to once a year.

Yesterday, Microsoft released the Windows 11 26252 build, which brings a flood of innovations that will give users a much-needed power boost. One of those changes is a new power setting that will provide the user more control when their PC is on battery power or not, as Phantom Ocean 3 mentions in a post on X (formerly Twitter), which was noticed by Windows Latest.

In theory, this greater degree of control will allow your system to automate power settings so that you don't forget to manually switch them while plugged in or on battery.

Read more
Best Prime Day laptop deals in 2024: Surface Pro, Razer, HP, Dell
Best Prime Day Deals

We can smell Prime Day in the air. The shopping holiday kicks off on July 16 and runs through July 17. However, the discounts are already starting to sprout up, so we've collected some early Prime Day deals on laptops below. We've also broken down what to expect for the main event and how to approach buying a new laptop during Prime Day. This page will be ever-evolving (bookmark it!) as we know more, the event approaches, and more deals become available. Looking for something beyond laptops? Deals exist beyond laptops, of course, and we'll be covering all of the big categories and items you want in our main Prime Day deals coverage.

Today's best laptop deals
Prime Day officially runs from July 16 to July 17. If you want the most options in your deals, you should wait until then to buy a laptop. But, if you're struggling to keep that new laptop itch at bay, there are great laptop deals all year round. While we encourage you to wait until next month to get the widest selection, there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of a deal right now, so long as it suits you.

Read more
Best Prime Day MacBook deals in 2024: Air, M1, M2, M3
Best Prime Day Deals

If you've been eagerly anticipating Prime Day 2024, your wait is almost over. Day One officially kicks off on July 16. It will run for two days until July 17 with loads of great discounts and offers. If you're thinking about buying a MacBook from this year's Prime Day deals, you won't have to wait for long. In fact, there are some early Prime Day laptop deals available right now. Apple's laptops carry premium prices for several good reasons, so there's always a high demand for discounts. You'll get a lot of opportunities with the upcoming Prime Day MacBook deals, but since you'll be racing against other shoppers to score the best bargains, we recommend that you prepare yourself for the shopping event with the tips we've gathered below.
Today's best MacBook deals

Officially, Amazon Prime Day 2024 arrives on July 16 and July 17 with its MacBook deals, so you're going to have to exercise some patience for a week or so. However, if you need a new MacBook as soon as possible, you should know that there are offers that you can take advantage of right now. We've rounded our favorite picks below -- you should know that these prices may go lower on Prime Day, but it can't be helped if you must have your new MacBook immediately.

Read more