PCI Express 5.0 specs: double bandwidth

PCI Express 4.0 motherboards, Solid State Drives. and other devices are not widely available yet, but that has not stopped the Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) from releasing PCI Express 5.0 specifications on May 29, 2019.

Compared to PCI Express 4.0, PCI Express 5.0 promises double the bandwidth and other improvements while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing PCI Express peripherals.

PCI Express 4.0 doubled the bandwidth, frequency, and transfer rate of PCIe 3.0, and PCI Express 5.0 is designed to quadruple it.

Target markets for PCI Express 5.0 include gaming, visual computing, AI, storage, and machine learning.

The new specification increases performance in the high-performance markets including artificial intelligence, machine learning, gaming, visual computing, storage and networking.

Tools like HwInfo or CPU-Z may help you find out which PCI Express standards the PC you run this on supports (if any).

pci express 4.0

PCI Express 5.0 specification details

  • Bandwidth of 128 GB/s, 32 GT/s, 32.0 GHz frequency, and 128b/130b encoding.
  • Backwards compatible with all major PCI Express standards (4.0, 3.x, 2.x, and 1.x).
  • Features new backwards compatible CEM connector for add-in cards.
  • Support for extended tags and credits.
  • Electrical changes improve signal integrity and mechanical performance of connectors.

Closing Words

Most existing devices don’t support PCI Express 4.0 and general availability of PCI Express 4.0 supporting hardware such as motherboards or Solid State Drives is just about to get better in 2019.

AMD announced in January 2019 that the company’s X570 motherboard chipset would support PCI Express 4.0, and that some 300 and 400-series motherboards could be updated to support PCI Express 4.0 at least partially.

Phison revealed a PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD controller in January 2019 as well and managed to gain 4 GB/s of sequential reads and 4.2 of write performance out of a hardware setup back then.

With PCI Express 5.0 announced, many might wonder whether it makes senses to jump on the PCI Express 4.0 bandwagon or wait until devices that support PCI Express 5.0 come out.

PCI Express 4.0 was announced in 2017 and adoption is just about starting in the consumer market. It is not too far fetched to assume that PCI Express 5.0 will need 18 to 24 months at the minimum before devices start to become available for consumers.

 

 

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Nvidia GeForce Driver 430.64 fixes high load issue and security issues

Nvidia released a new GeForce Game Ready Driver on May 9, 2019. The new GeForce 430.64 driver fixes a performance issue in the previous driver version caused by the process nvdisplay.container.exe, and addresses security issues in driver components.

The new driver is already available on Nvidia’s official download site for all supported video cards and graphics adapters.

Note: it is recommended that you install only the driver components that you require, e.g. only the Nvidia video card driver. You may also want to make sure that Telemetry tracking is disabled on your system after driver installation. Programs like NVCleanstall or NVSlimmer may also be used to remove unwanted driver components. End

Nvidia GeForce Driver 430.64

nvidia driver 430.64

The driver series 430 supports Microsoft’s Windows 10 May 2019 Update officially. It includes the usual assortment of new game profiles and updates for SLI profiles. This particular release adds Rage 2, Total War: Three Kingdoms and World War Z Game Ready profiles to the system.

More importantly, it addresses the NVDisplay.Container.exe high CPU usage issue that was introduced in driver 430.39. Nvidia issued a hotfix release already but the GeForce Driver 430.64 is the first official driver release that patches the issue. Users affected by the issue may want to upgrade to the new driver version immediately to resolve the issue.

The remaining fixes in the release address several crashes and freezes: a crash in Hitman 2, a freeze in Shadow of the Tomb Raider when using SLI, and a crash when using BeamNG. The new release fixes the secondary monitor flickering issue and flickering when launching the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark.

The release has two unresolved issues on Windows 10. The first produces random crashes in the game Sniper Elite 4, the second affects the VSync setting.

The new driver version patches a security vulnerability that “may allow access to application data processed on the GPU through a side channel exposed by the GPU performance counters”.

The patch disables access to GPU performance counters for non-admin users. Nvidia notes that administrators may enable access for non-administrators again in the Nvidia Control Panel under Developer > Manage GPU Performance Counters.

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nvdisplay.container.exe causing high CPU load

The most recent Nvidia graphics driver, version 430.39, may cause high CPU usage on some systems it is installed on.

Nvidia released the graphics driver 430.39 last week; the new WHQL driver adds support for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, comes with new or updated game profiles, and includes a new feature to merge two portrait monitors into a third landscape monitor.

Reports suggest that the new graphics driver is causing high CPU load issues on some systems it is installed on. A thread on the official Geforce forum highlights the issue and suggests that the issue dates back to as early as mid 2018. The most recent issue has something to do with Telemetry collecting, apparently.

nvdisplay.container.exe

The high CPU load is caused by NVIDIA Container, or nvdisplay.container.exe which may slow down the system because of the high load.  The process appears to be responsible for other high load situations.

Nvdisplay.container.exe was used initially by Nvidia to power the Control Panel.

You can verify that the process is the cause by opening the Windows Task Manager with the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Esc. You may need to switch to the Details tab to locate the process in the listing. It is a good idea to sort by CPU usage with a click on the header.

Günter Born suggests that nvdisplay.container.exe is used for collecting Telemetry data. Our colleagues at Deskmodder provide additional information: the Nvidia driver creates the new folder DisplayDriverRAS which is used by nvdisplay.container.exe for additional Telemetry collecting.

Workarounds

displaydriverras

A fix is available; users who can may also want to consider uninstalling the Nvidia graphics driver 430.39 completely, e.g. using Display Driver Uninstaller, and installing the previous driver again; this should resolve the issue temporarily as well.

The actual fix requires elevated privileges. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Use Explorer to open C:Program FilesNVIDIA CorporationDisplay.NvContainerpluginsLocalSystem
  2. Locate the folder DisplayDriverRAS and delete it, e.g. by right-clicking on it and selecting Delete.
  3. Navigate to C:Program FilesNVIDIA Corporation.
  4. Delete the folder DisplayDriverRAS.
  5. Kill the nvdisplay.container.exe process (or processes) in the Windows Task Manager.
  6. Restart the computer.

Doing so should not interfere with functionality. The process nvdisplay.container.exe still runs after the restart, but the high CPU load should be a thing of the past.

Closing Words

The folder is created even if you choose to install the display driver only using the custom installation option that Nvidia’s official driver installer supports.

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Nvidia drops 3D Vision support in GeForce Game Ready Drivers

Nvidia revealed in March 2019 that future GeForce Game Ready drivers will drop support for 3D Vision, a technology that enables stereoscopic vision for Direct3D video games.

Nvidia plans to release the last version of the GeForce Game Reader driver 418 in April 2019. Release 418 drivers will be the last release to support 3D Vision. Future drivers, release 419 and newer, won’t release the technology and software anymore.

The company will support release 418 until April 2020 but only to address critical driver issues according to a new support page on the official Nvidia support website.

Nvidia plans to include the 3D gaming software 3DTV Play with the driver release and to remove the standalone download of 3DTV from its website following the release.  3DTV is used for 3D gaming on 3D capable TVs. The previously commercial software will be offered for free with the release of driver 418 in Apirl 2019.  The 3D Vision Video Player software remains available as a standalone download throughout 2019.

nvidia graphics driver 397.31

Nvidia customers who use 3D Vision should stay on Release 418 to use the technology until 2020.

Support will be dropped completely in April 2020 by Nvidia. While it is still possible to stay on the then-outdated and unsupported driver to continue using 3D Vision, it is not recommended to do so because of the lack of support.

Nvidia did not mention why it decided to end support for 3D Vision. The most likely explanation is that 3D never caught on in home entertainment let alone in gaming, and that demand likely dropped even further with the release of the first Virtual Reality headsets. While VR technology is facing an uphill battle to win over gamers and consumers in general as well, it has better chances than 3D technology especially since it is possible to use the technology to watch movies in 3D.

Gamers who use the default installation profile when they install Nvidia drivers will notice that 3D Vision won’t be installed anymore once releases reach version 419. Less bloat for users who use the default installation profile.

Experienced users customize Nvidia driver installations or use third-party software like NVSlimmer to block any component that they don’t require from installing on their devices to remove Nvidia Telemetry and other components that may start with Windows or run in the background.

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Thunderbolt-based USB4: backward compatible, speed gains and more

The USB Promoter Group revealed information about the upcoming USB4 specification today in a press release.

In short: USB4 is based on Thunderbolt, backwards compatible with USB 3.2, 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3, and about twice as fast as USB 3.2 Gen2x2.

When USB 3.0 was introduced back in 2009, it was an improvement in all regards compared to the-then dominating standard USB 2.0. USB 3.1 and 3.2 were introduced in the years that followed; each a step up in terms of performance and data transfer rates over the previous standard.

Not all is golden today though. Not all new devices that come on the market support the latest USB versions. It is not uncommon, especially for low-end devices, to only support USB 2.0, or include more USB 2.0 ports than USB 3.0 ports. It does not help either that the names that the USB Promoter Group picked for the individual specifications are confusing, and that people had to deal with different cables and connectors next on top of that.

To add even more icing to the cake, it was announced recently that USB terms would be rebranded: USB 3.0 to USB 3.2 Gen 1 and the marketing term SuperSpeed USB, USB 3.1 to USB 3.2 Gen 2 and the marketing term SuperSpeed USb 10Gbps, and USB 3.2 to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and the marketing term SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps.

usb4

Today’s announcement adds USB4 to list of available USB versions. USB4 is based on Intel’s Thunderbolt technology. Intel made Thunderbolt 3 royalty-free and the USB Promoter Group uses the Thunderbolt specification as the base for USB4.

USB4 offers double the bandwidth of USB 3.2 Gen2x2, and the same as Thunderbolt 3 which Intel launched in 2015. The standard supports up to 40GB/s opposed to 20GB/s which USB 3.2 supported. The upcoming version features additional improvements such as efficient options to share multiple data an display protocols.

USB4 uses USB Type C which was introduced with USB 3.2 Gen2. Intel plans to integrate support for Thunderbolt 3 and USB4 natively into upcoming products. It is likely that other manufacturers will do the same eventually thanks to the royalty-free nature of USB4.

The new USB4 architecture defines a method to share a single high-speed link with multiple end device types dynamically that best serves the transfer of data by type and application. As the USB Type-C™ connector has evolved into the role as the external display port of many host products, the USB4 specification provides the host the ability to optimally scale allocations for display data flow. Even as the USB4 specification introduces a new underlying protocol, compatibility with existing USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 hosts and devices is supported; the resulting connection scales to the best mutual capability of the devices being connected.

Closing Words

The specification has not been released officially yet; while it is possible that things may change before that happens, it seems unlikely that this is going to happen.

The announcement leaves some questions unanswered:

  1. When will the first consumer devices with USB4 support be released?
  2. Will USB 3.2 Gen2x2 be dead on arrival?

Now You: What is your take on the USB standard and the new USB4?

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