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How Fast Is PCIe 5.0?

Find out how fast PCI-Express 5.0 is and compare it to other versions.

PCI-Express Kevin Jones / TechReviewer

Last Updated: November 19, 2021

Written by Kevin Jones

How Fast Is PCI-Express 5.0?

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PCI-Express speeds are based on the PCI-Express version and the number of lanes used. One line is referred to as x1, two lanes as x2, etc. PCI-Express technically supports up to a width of x32. However, most consumer motherboards have some set of these PCIe widths: x1, x2, x4, x8, x16.

PCI-Express Speeds (Rounded)
PCIe 4.0PCIe 5.0
x1 Bandwidth 2 GB/s 4 GB/s
x2 Bandwidth 4 GB/s 8 GB/s
x4 Bandwidth 8 GB/s 16 GB/s
x8 Bandwidth 16 GB/s 32 GB/s
x16 Bandwidth 32 GB/s 63 GB/s

Intel's 12th generation CPUs currently provide PCIe 5.0 support for CPU lanes (i.e., one to two PCIe slots) and PCIe 4.0/3.0 speeds for the remaining lanes.

The bandwidth for each PCIe 5.0 lane is 4 GB/s. 4 GB/s per lane means that if you use a PCI-Express 5.0 x16 device, it would have up to 64 GB/s of bandwidth available to it.

NVMe M.2 SSD cards use 2 or 4 lanes, which means they have 4–8 GB/s available to them with PCIe 4.0.

Samsung 980 1TB M.2 SSD Samsung 980 1TB M.2 SSD Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

NVMe PCIe add-in cards can use up to 16 lanes in an x16 slot, thus having up to 32 GB/s of bandwidth available to them with PCIe 4.0.

In comparison, PCIe 3.0 has half of the bandwidth of PCIe 4.0.

PCI-Express 3.0 Speed (Rounded)
x1 Bandwidth 1 GB/s
x2 Bandwidth 2 GB/s
x4 Bandwidth 4 GB/s
x8 Bandwidth 8 GB/s
x16 Bandwidth 16 GB/s

Check out my Recommended PCIe 5.0 CPUs and Motherboards below.

How Fast Are Other Versions of PCI-Express?

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Each generation of PCI-Express roughly doubles the speed. The bandwidth for each PCIe 4.0 lane is 2 GB/s. 2 GB/s per lane means that if you use a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 device, it would have up to 32 GB/s of bandwidth available to it, compared to 16 GB/s for PCIe 3.0.

PCI-Express Speeds (Rounded)
x1 Bandwidthx2 Bandwidthx4 Bandwidthx8 Bandwidthx16 Bandwidth
PCIe 1.0 250 MB/s 500 MB/s 750 MB/s 2 GB/s 4 GB/s
PCIe 2.0 500 MB/s 1000 MB/s 2 GB/s 4 GB/s 8 GB/s
PCIe 3.0 1 GB/s 2 GB/s 4 GB/s 8 GB/s 16 GB/s
PCIe 4.0 2 GB/s 4 GB/s 8 GB/s 16 GB/s 32 GB/s
PCIe 5.0 4 GB/s 8 GB/s 16 GB/s 32 GB/s 63 GB/s
PCIe 6.0 8 GB/s 16 GB/s 32 GB/s 63 GB/s 126 GB/s

How Fast Are M.2 NVMe Drives With PCIe 5.0?

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Even for processors which support PCIe 5.0, the M.2 slots typically run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.

NVMe M.2 cards come in B, M, and B+M keyings, which provide either 2 or 4 lanes. With PCIe 5.0, an M.2 card can use between 8–16 GB/s of throughput, depending on the keying.

  • NVMe M.2 ports with a B keying indicate that the system will provide 2 lanes of PCI-Express bandwidth.
  • NVMe M.2 ports with an M keying indicate that the system will provide 4 lanes of PCI-Express bandwidth.
  • NVMe M.2 ports with a B+M keying maximize compatibility but only provide 2 lines of PCI-Express bandwidth.

NVMe M.2 cards use the PCIe connection to provide a high throughput rate, with a max speed of 8 GB/s for PCIe 4.0.

Each version of PCI-Express roughly doubles the supported bandwidth. For example, a PCI-Express 4.0 NVMe M.2 card using x2 lanes may support up to twice the speed of a PCI-Express 3.0 card using the same number of lanes (same keying).

PCI-Express NVMe M.2 Speed (Rounded)
x2 Bandwidthx4 Bandwidth
PCIe 1.0 500 MB/s 750 MB/s
PCIe 2.0 1000 MB/s 2 GB/s
PCIe 3.0 2 GB/s 4 GB/s
PCIe 4.0 4 GB/s 8 GB/s
PCIe 5.0 8 GB/s 16 GB/s
PCIe 6.0 16 GB/s 32 GB/s

Learn more about storage devices in Storage Type Comparison: M.2, U.2, NVMe, SATA, SSDs, HDDs.

How Fast Are NVMe Add-in Cards (AICs) With PCIe 5.0?

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NVMe add-in cards (AICs) are SSD storage devices that insert directly into PCI-Express expansion slots.

While SSDs in the M.2 form factor are limited to 4 PCIe lanes, add-in cards do not have this limitation. AICs can use up to 16 PCIe lanes, resulting in an upper bandwidth limit of 32 GB/s for PCIe 4.0 and 64 GB/s for PCIe 5.0.

PCIe Add-in Card Speed (Rounded)
x2 Bandwidthx4 Bandwidthx8 Bandwidthx16 Bandwidth
PCIe 1.0 500 MB/s 750 MB/s 2 GB/s 4 GB/s
PCIe 2.0 1000 MB/s 2 GB/s 4 GB/s 8 GB/s
PCIe 3.0 2 GB/s 4 GB/s 8 GB/s 16 GB/s
PCIe 4.0 4 GB/s 8 GB/s 16 GB/s 32 GB/s
PCIe 5.0 8 GB/s 16 GB/s 32 GB/s 63 GB/s
PCIe 6.0 16 GB/s 32 GB/s 63 GB/s 126 GB/s

Learn more about storage devices in Storage Type Comparison: M.2, U.2, NVMe, SATA, SSDs, HDDs.

PCIe 5.0 Benefits

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Current graphics cards typically don't consume the total bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 or 4.0, so the upgrade to 5.0, by itself, won't provide a massive boost to graphics performance.

However, upgrading to the latest generate of CPUs can provide a boost from:

  • Support for the higher speed DDR5 memory
  • CPUs with more cores and threads, which are better optimized
  • PCIe 4.0 lanes for M.2 NVMe SSD devices
  • More M.2 storage device bandwidth for Intel 12th Gen CPUs (DMI 4.0 has double the throughput of DMI 3.0)

The latest M.2 NVMe SSDs can do an excellent job of nearly saturating a PCIe 4.0 connection. We recommend upgrading to get as many PCIe 4.0 lanes as possible for M.2 devices. It seems counter-intuitive, but upgrading to a CPU that supports PCIe 5.0 provides more PCIe 4.0 lanes.

PCIe 5.0 graphics cards won't need to use as many lanes in the future, making more lanes available for other devices via PCIe add-in card slots.

Bandwidth

The key benefit of upgrading to PCI-Express 5.0 is the increased bandwidth. Each version of PCIe roughly doubles the bandwidth available per lane.

PCI-Express 5.0 vs. 4.0 Speeds (Rounded)
PCIe 4.0PCIe 5.0
x1 Bandwidth 2 GB/s 4 GB/s
x2 Bandwidth 4 GB/s 8 GB/s
x4 Bandwidth 8 GB/s 16 GB/s
x8 Bandwidth 16 GB/s 32 GB/s
x16 Bandwidth 32 GB/s 63 GB/s

Any devices which were designed for PCIe 5.0 can benefit from the increase in available bandwidth.

Devices designed for PCIe 5.0 could mean faster storage speeds (video and game loading) and faster graphics (video games and rendering).

However, some devices may not even be reaching the limits of PCIe 4.0 or 3.0 yet. The low bandwidth usage by some devices means that it's only necessary to upgrade if:

  • You are using the latest and fastest storage devices and video cards that use the PCIe 5.0 or 4.0 lanes.
  • You want to free up PCIe lanes by using PCIe 5.0 devices, which won't need as many lanes for the same bandwidth.
  • You want to future-proof your system.

Storage

The component which can benefit the most from fast PCIe speeds is NVMe storage. The latest top-performing NVMe SDD and add-in card (AIC) storage devices can benefit from both the higher throughput and the throughput available per lane.

Currently, only PCIe 4.0 SSDs are on the market. To make use of PCIe 5.0 SSD speeds, you'd likely need to use a PCIe SSD add-in card, as most M.2 slots only support PCIe 4.0 speeds.

Lanes

With each PCIe version doubling the bandwidth per lane, newer devices can reduce the number of needed lanes. For example, if even the top tier of graphics cards no longer need the full 16 lanes to meet their needs, they can use 8 or fewer lanes. By using fewer lanes, it frees up more lanes for other devices. Using fewer lanes is important because CPUs provide a limited number of lanes, which need to be distributed among the devices.

The same is valid for storage. If your storage devices no longer need as many lanes, PCIe add-in card (AIC) adapters can connect more NVMe M.2 SSDs.

For networking, a single lane could now provide enough bandwidth for 10 Gbps Ethernet.

Future-Proofing

If you are building a new system, it may make sense to do the upgrade to 5.0. In particular, future graphics cards and storage devices may further take advantage of this available bandwidth. In this case, you might consider how long you plan to use this computer. For example, will you upgrade your storage and graphics card over the next few years or wait to replace the entire system?

Which PCIe 5.0 CPUs Are Available for PCs?

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Intel's 12th generation Core processors, code-named "Alder Lake," support PCIe 5.0.

AMD has not yet released its PCIe 5.0 processors but is expected to include PCIe 5.0 support in their next-generation Zen 4 architecture, which AMD will release in 2022.

Check out my Recommended PCIe 5.0 CPUs and Motherboards below.

Check out the complete list of CPUs supporting PCIe 5.0 in Which Intel and AMD CPUs Support PCIe 5.0?

Which Motherboards Support PCIe 5.0?

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For PCIe 5.0 support, you'll need to use a motherboard with the chipset listed below.

  • For Intel's 12th generation Core processors, you'll need a motherboard with the Z690 chipset (the only one currently available in the 600-series). The chipset itself doesn't provide PCIe 5.0 lanes for M.2 storage devices. However, it does use a new DMI 4.0 link which is twice as fast as the 3.0 link used by the Z590 chipset.

    GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)
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Best Intel High-Performance Enthusiast CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K

  • Up to 5.2 GHz: perfect for games, video editing, and high-intensity tasks.

  • 16 cores (8 Performance + 8 Efficiency): Quite a few cores considering the frequency! This combination makes it a great all-around system that can handle almost any task.

  • Virtualization features make it great for running virtual machines.

  • Check the latest price of the Intel Core i9-12900K on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Intel Core i9-12900K Processor 16 Cores (8P+8E) up to 5.2 GHz Intel Core i9-12900K Processor 16 Cores (8P+8E) up to 5.2 GHz Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)
  • For the Intel Core i9-12900K CPU, you'll need a motherboard with the Z690 chipset.

  • Our recommended DDR4 motherboard to pair with the i9-12900K is Gigabyte's Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

    • PCIe 5.0 support
    • It supports up to 128GB of DDR4 memory!
    • 2.5 Gb Ethernet port is faster than most home Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
    • Wi-Fi 6
    • Bluetooth 5.2 is great for streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
    • Four x4 NVMe M.2 slots, which is fantastic! All four of these run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
    • Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 on Amazon (affiliate link).
  • Our recommended DDR5 motherboard to pair with the i9-12900K is Gigabyte's Z690 AORUS Master: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

    • PCIe 5.0 support
    • It supports up to 128GB of DDR5 memory (DDR5 provides the fastest memory speeds)!

      DDR5 memory appears to be out of stock at most retailers, so I recommend sticking with a DDR4 motherboard or preparing for a long wait.

    • 10 Gbps Ethernet port is faster than any home Internet speed available with tons of room to spare for file transfers.
    • Wi-Fi 6E makes it easy to reach the fastest speeds and future-proof your Wi-Fi system.
    • Bluetooth 5.2 is great for streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.
    • Four x4 NVMe M.2 slots, which is fantastic! Three of these run at PCIe 4.0 speeds, and one at PCIe 3.0 speeds.
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
    • Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Master on Amazon (affiliate link).

Best Value CPU: Intel Core i5-12600K

  • Less than half the price of the i9-12900K, but still excellent performance at up to 4.9 GHz.

  • 10 cores (6 Performance + 4 Efficiency): This core count makes it suitable for everyday multi-threading tasks, such as having tons of browser windows open.

  • Virtualization features make it great for running virtual machines.

  • Check the latest price of the Intel Core i5-12600K on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Intel Core i5-12600K Intel Core i5-12600K Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)
  • For the Intel Core i5-11600K CPU, you'll need a motherboard with the Z690 chipset to support PCIe 5.0.

  • Our recommended DDR4 motherboard to pair with the i5-12600K is GIGABYTE's Z690 Gaming X DDR4 motherboard: GIGABYTE Z690 Gaming X DDR4 GIGABYTE Z690 Gaming X DDR4 Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

    • PCIe 5.0 support
    • It supports up to 128GB of DDR4 memory!
    • Four x4 NVMe M.2 slots, which is fantastic! All four of these run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.
    • 2.5 Gb Ethernet port is faster than most home Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
    • Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE Z690 Gaming X DDR4 on Amazon (affiliate link).
  • Our recommended DDR5 motherboard to pair with the i5-12600K is GIGABYTE's Z690 AORUS PRO motherboard: GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO Check Price on Amazon (affiliate link)

    • PCIe 5.0 support
    • It supports up to 128GB of DDR5 memory!

      DDR5 memory appears to be out of stock at most retailers, so I recommend sticking with a DDR4 motherboard or preparing for a long wait.

    • Three NVMe M.2 slots, which is excellent! These all run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.
    • 2.5 Gb Ethernet port is faster than most home Internet speeds with room to spare for file transfers.
    • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 offers 20 Gbps USB speeds!
    • Check the latest price of the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO on Amazon (affiliate link).

Learn More About PCI-Express

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Want to brush up on the latest PCIe products, versions, and features? Check out the articles in this PCI-Express series: