A leaked block diagram that appears to originate from the Gigabyte ransomware attack seems to show that the AMD 600 Series motherboard chipset is not compatible with PCIe 5.0 (using TechPowerUp). This is the chipset designed to support Zen 4 processors, which is expected to be released in 2022.
Meanwhile, Intel has confirmed this week in its 2021 Architecture Day that Alder Lake hybrid processors will support PCI Express 5.0. This will give Intel the lead when it comes to super fast storage and potentially also graphics cards, although the latter is a bit more than a leap.
This is a notable change in leadership that AMD has enjoyed with PCIe 4.0 for nearly two years since it landed its Zen-powered Ryzen 3000 Zen series. Intel only offered support for PCIe 4.0 11th generation Rocket Lake chips, launched in March this year.
The main advantage of switching to PCIe 4.0 has been on the storage front, where you can use the bandwidth that is doubled over PCIe 3.0. In case you’re wondering, graphics cards haven’t shown any noticeable benefit in running PCIe 4.0, at least not when it comes to real-world gaming, although there is synthetic evidence to show that there is potential as well.
Although the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSDs have faced the limits of PCIe 4.0, with 7,400 MB / s sequential reads from the Adata XPG Gammix S70 2TB SSD. Bandwidth is doubled again to PCIe 5.0, which should give SSD manufacturers plenty of room to increase sequential performance.
If this is true, does that mean AMD will be left behind? Probably not. While Intel may win some battles along the way, the truth is that the day-to-day performance of the fastest SSDs is still a long way from the limits of PCIe 4.0. While Zen 4 is not expected to launch until next year, AMD should be competitive. And that takes into account any magic that DirectStorage can bring to the party.
The block diagram doesn't get much of a note, other than that there are four more PCIe lanes that feed directly to the discreet USB4 controller, and rumors about AMD supporting DisplayPort 2.0 seem to be correct. DDR5 support is also present and correct, although there are no indications of how fast it runs.
As always, these are just rumors right now and many could change by the time the release of Zen 4. However, the benefit of switching to PCIe 5.0 may not be as urgent as the latest generational update. However, with the release of Alder Lake before the start of the year, we will soon be able to find out one way or another.