The first PCIe 5.0 drives aren’t expected until AMD’s Zen 4 processors later this year, but we don’t have to wait that long to discover the next generation of fast PC storage. At its Computex virtual booth, Apacer unveiled the first PCIe Gen5 SSDs running at read speeds of up to 13,000 MB/s.
There are two Apacer units: the Apacer brand AS2280F5 and the Zadak brand TWSG5. Both are rated for 13,000 MB/sec. read speed and 12,000 MB/sec. writing speed. You might say, ‘Hey, that’s overkill for PC gaming’, and yes, you’re probably right as it stands today, but there are technologies that should put your SSD to better use in the near future, namely DirectStorage. And they will still be very useful for moving huge files in the meantime.
Both SSDs are likely utilizing Phison’s recently announced PS5026-E26 controller. The specs largely match: the E26 tops out at 13,500 MB/sec. read and 12,000 MB/sec. write. That’s not exactly the maximum for PCIe 5.0, however. It’s actually 16,000 MB/s, but it usually takes a while for an updated controller to release as much of the new spec.
The Apacer and Zadak SSDs feature the same heatsink as the images on their Computex virtual booth, but the Zadak model is also listed with an ‘ultra-thin graphene’ heatsink. This is more of a thick sticker – useful if you already have SSD heatsinks on your motherboard.
We still don’t know how much cooling a PCIe 5.0 SSD will require, but Phison said he believes his E26 controller will actually run cooler than some currently. That said, he also mentioned that active cooling could one day become the norm for M.2 SSDs.
These new PCIe 5.0 SSDs will likely be released around the at the same time as AMD’s Zen 4 processors in the fall, as that’s when Phison reckons he’ll have the controller ready to go. Intel already supports PCIe 5.0 with its 12th Gen Alder Lake chips, however if anyone has other plans besides Phison’s initial controller, we might see PCIe 5.0 drives before that. I doubt it though – Phison is usually ahead of the crowd.