Gigabyte/Aorus is Gearing up for PCIe 4.0 SSDs

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AMD is not only launching a brand new generation of Ryzen CPUs this summer – the chip manufacturer is also about to take the lead by launching motherboards that use the fourth-generation PCI Express interface, which doubles the bandwidth.  Gigabyte is one of the storage manufacturers that have announced SSDs that make use of the new interface that offers speeds up to 5 GB/s.

It wasn’t long ago that SATA 6 Gbps was the only interface for SSDs (and hard drives). However, solid state drives quickly reached the interface’s performance ceiling at 600 MB/s. Hence, many devices began to use the PCI Express interface instead (more recently in combination with the NVMe protocol), which was previously used mainly for graphics cards and other add-in cards.

Twice the Bandwidth for Storage

Phison is breaking barriers with the E16

Right now, the industry has started the migration to PCI Express 4.0, which offers 2 GB/s per channel. This effectively doubles the bandwidth over PCI Express 3.0. X570 motherboards for Ryzen 3000 will be the first to offer PCIe 4 slots.

Ahead of the Computex trade show, Gigabyte took the opportunity to reveal a few details about its first Aorus-branded PCIe 4.0 SSD. Since this is the first drive to take advantage of the new interface, it will likely be the speediest drive of its kind at launch.

The main attraction is, of course, higher performance. Today’s devices typically use four channels of PCI Express 3.0 at 1 GB/s each. This means that they are currently limited to 4 GB/s, which is a limit that some of the fastest drives are approaching.

Gigabyte now promises read and write speeds approaching 5 GB/s. On the downside, Gigabyte points out that the higher speeds only apply at “low temperatures,” meaning that the opposite might throttle the unit if sufficient cooling is not available.

The company also did not disclose what controller the upcoming drives will use. As of today, though, Gigabyte uses Phison controllers exclusively. In other words, it’s not particularly far-fetched that it will use Phison’s recently launched PS5016-E16 controller, which coincidentally is also the only controller available at this time that fits the bill. The E16 controller is specifically built to utilize the bandwidth of the PCI Express 4.0, although the showcased read and write speeds were then “only” 4.1 and 4.2 GB / s, respectively.

Gigabyte will likely reveal more detailed specifications and price points for the SSD at Computex 2019, which runs from May 28 through June 1st. 

Jesper Berg

As a PC gaming enthusiast since the 3dfx Voodoo era, Jesper has had time to experiment with a fair few FPS-improving PC parts over the years. His job at GPCB is to test and evaluate hardware, mainly focusing on GPUs and storage devices.

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