Amid all of the hoopla surrounding AMD's next-generation Ryzen processors based on its Zen 2 CPU architecture is an interesting technology that complements the launch. We are talking about PCI Express 4.0. This is part of AMD's accompanying X570 chipset for Ryzen, and it doubles the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0. One of the immediate benefits we will see from this is the introduction of faster NVMe solid state drives, such as Gigabyte's newest AORUS model.
The caveat is that, on the consumer side, the only combination that supports PCIe 4.0 right now is an X570 motherboard paired with a third-generation Ryzen processor, both of which you will be able to get your hands on in July. In the meantime, we are seeing several companies trot out NVMe Gen4 SSDs with blazing fast transfer speeds.
In the case of Gigabyte's new AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD, it is rated to deliver up to 5,000MB/s of sequential read performance and up to 4,400MB/s of sequential write performance. Traditionally, Samsung has held onto the performance crown in the M.2 NVMe SSD space, but that is going to be challenged with all of these new models that are coming out.
One thing these next-gen SSDs have in common is the controller, made by Phison. All of the new drives that push 5GB/s read speeds are using the Phison PS5016-E16 controller, paired with 3D TLC (triple-level cell) NAND flash memory chips (Toshiba BiCS 96-layer chips, in this case).
"The advanced fabrication process ensures PS5016-E16 has enough compute power for ECC processing when adopting the latest 3D TLC NAND flash. PS5016-E16 also features eight NAND channels with 32 CE targets, DDR4 DRAM caching, and a PCIe 4.0x4 interface. As for features, the chip supports the NVMe 1.3 protocol, LDPC error correction, and Wear Leveling, Over-Provision technologies to improve reliability and durability of SSDs," Gigabyte explains.
Gigabyte is offering the new AORUS SSDs in 1TB and 2TB capacities. These drives sport a thick, full body copper heatsink to keep temps in check. While we have not tested this (or any of the PCIe 4.0 SSDs) yet, but we strongly suspect that temp control will play in a big factor in being able to both hit the rated speed claims, and maintain that level of performance for any length of time.
As for price and availability, Gigabyte made no mention of other. However, we anticipate the new AORUS line will launch in July, and will cost a premium.