I finally picked up my first NVMe drive the other day, and I’ve been spending some time benchmarking it before I move my live stuff over. I’m impressed with the speeds, but it’s hard not to cross my arms jealously at the NVMe SSD that Adata showed off at CES with its PCIe Gen4 interface and massive read/write speeds.
PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs on the market right now top out at 3,500 MB/s, but PCIe 4.0 has a lot more bandwidth to spare. Adata showcased just how fast the standard allows with its new XPD Sage NVMe SSD, which can reach read speeds of over 7,000 MB/s.
That 7,000 MB/s number is for sequential reads. For sequential writes, Adata is talking 5,300 MB/s. The Innogrit Rainier controller on the drive is the first to break 1 million read IOPs, and it’s also capable of 800,000 write IOPs, too. The controller supports drive capacities up to 16TB according to Innogrit’s website, but Adata will only go up to 4TB. Adata didn’t have a price on offer for the upcoming hardware just yet, but expects to release it in mid-2020.
Chipmakers aren’t supporting PCIe Gen4 well just yet, though. AMD began supporting PCIe Gen4 in late 2019 with the X570 chipset from AMD supporting the spec, while Intel lags behind. The PCIe Gen5 spec is complete and expected to start manufacturing this year, but it’s hard to tell just yet how the adoption of PCIe Gen4 and Gen5 will play out. The PCIe Gen4 spec was completed back in 2017, and it’s only now that we’re seeing hardware makers adopt it. PCIe Gen5 could be a few years out. Or those hardware makers could start supporting it, but with a premium price to match the new-car smell of the technology.
Gamers can wait on PCIe Gen4
With that said, gamers shouldn’t start getting their wallets out just yet. While an NVMe is objectively faster than a SATA SSD, games are not an ideal use-case for NVMe. Especially with how well in-game data streaming works to keep big open-world environments stutter-free even on the traditional drives in the latest Xbox and PlayStation systems, games aren’t seeing much benefit just yet beyond initial loading times. Games don’t pass enough data at any given moment to push a SATA SSD to its limits, let alone an NVMe drive.
But then, if you do heavy video editing, especially at 8K and 4K resolution, these numbers are probably looking pretty tantalizing.