Nvidia’s Ampere GPU architecture has been with us for nearly two years, so gaming enthusiasts are eager to see what its successor, Nvidia Ada, delivers for the consumer market. Unfortunately, since Nvidia hasn’t officially announced Ada — that is expected to happen during the latter half of 2022 — we don’t have any concrete details for the assumed GeForce RTX 40 Series. However, one assumption was that the graphics cards would use the PCIe 5.0 interface for data.
A new tweet from serial leaker kopite7kimi seemingly adds doubt to those PCIe 5.0 claims. According to kopite7kimi, Ada will continue to use the PCIe 4.0 interface, which provides 64 GB/sec of total bandwidth.
The previous assumptions seemed plausible because Ada supports the PCIe 5.0 (12VHPWR) 16-pin power connector (12 + 4 pin), which can supply up to 600W of power to a graphics card. Further fueling this speculation is that Nvidia’s enterprise-class Hopper H100 GPU uses a PCIe 5.0 data bus, capable of delivering total bandwidth of 128 GB/sec.
But there could be a very good reason why Ada won’t adopt PCIe 5.0: it likely isn’t needed. Current generation graphics cards like the GeForce RTX 30 and Radeon RX 6000 families cannot saturate the PCIe 4.0 bus. So, Ada may happily hum along just fine with PCIe 4.0, while Hopper GPUs can actually leverage the additional overhead afforded by PCIe 5.0.
Retaining PCIe 4.0 support would also allow gamers to extract the best performance from the GeForce RTX 40 cards using currently-available platforms from AMD (i.e., X570) with Zen 3 processors. Intel already supports PCIe 5.0 with its Alder Lake processor platform, and AMD’s upcoming AM5 Zen 4 platform will also support the standard.
We must caution that we should take this new information with a big spoon of salt. Nothing is set in stone until we hear it from Jensen Huang’s mouth, so there’s still a possibility that kopite7kimi got it wrong. And we still don’t know what AMD’s plans are for RDNA 3. If AMD adopts PCIe 5.0 while Nvidia opts out, it will give the former a marketing advantage. We also wouldn’t put it past Intel to bring PCIe 5.0 support to its Arc Alchemist (or perhaps its sequel, Battlemage) discrete desktop GPUs scheduled to arrive later this year.
According to recent reporting, the Ada AD102 GPU recently entered the testing phase as Nvidia gears up to add a new entry to our list of best graphics cards for gaming. Also, be sure to read everything we know so far about Ada and the GeForce RTX 40 Series.