When solid-state drives started to hit the performance ceiling of the SATA interface and the AHCI protocol, manufacturers started looking to PCIe and the NVM Express protocol to open up a new vista of performance. A few PCIe SSD options, like Intel's 750 Series and Samsung's 950 Pro, have been on the market for a little while, but the competition is starting to heat up. With its Sonix PCIe SSD, Zotac is officially entering the field.
The Sonix is a 480GB SSD that uses the add-in card form factor rather than the more compact M.2 2280 design typical of other PCIe SSDs. It houses Toshiba MLC NAND and a 512MB cache of DDR3 RAM. The Sonix supports NVMe and four lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity, a combination that promises a lot of performance.
Zotac's claimed read and write speeds for the Sonix are impressive. Zotac claims the drive can reach sequential read speeds of up to 2,600 MB/s, and sequential writes as fast as 1,300 MB/s. For comparison, Zotac claims that its Premium SATA SSDs are capable of 560 MB/s sequential reads and 500 MB/s sequential writes. That's a healthy boost for moving to the new interface.
The better comparison, of course, is with other PCIe drives. Samsung's 512GB 950 Pro is specified for 2,500 MB/s sequential reads and 1,500 MB/s sequential writes, while Intel's 400GB 750 Series drive promises 2,200 MB/s sequential reads and 900 MB/s sequential writes.
If the Sonix lives up to Zotac's claims, it could be quite the contender. It's a little concerning, though, that Zotac didn't provide random I/O specs at all, an unusual omission for any SSD. The Sonix PCIe SSD ships with a low-profile adapter and comes with a three-year warranty. Zotac has not yet announced pricing and availability.