Apacer Unleashes First Consumer PCIe 5 SSDs Running At A Blistering 13,000MB/s
Anyone who says storage is getting too darn fast is a blasphemer. Sure, not everyone can fully utilize the transfer speeds that today's top solid state drives (SSDs) deliver, but some can and more will as time goes on. Drive makers seem to agree because they're already looking ahead to next-gen models, two of which Apacer unveiled at its virtual Computex 2022 booth.
You have to register to visit the 'booth', which as it applies to the SSDs is really just a couple of specifications lists. The specs that are laid out, though, are mightily impressive.
There are two models on display. One is Apacer's own branded AS2280F5, and the other is a Zadak TWSG5. Both are in the M.2 form factor with an NVMe interface, and both are next-gen models that leverage the PCI Express 5.0 bus, which offers twice the bandwidth over PCIe 4.0. In theory, this means PCIe 5 SSDs could be twice as fast as PCIe 4 models.
In practice, Apacer's rated specs get pretty close to doubling up the speed of today's fastest SSDs. Both models are rated to deliver sequential read speeds of up to 13,000MB/s and sequential writes of up to 12,000MB/s.
In PCIe 4 territory, the initial crop of high performance SSDs arrived flexing speeds of around 5,000MB/s. Then a second wave of drives emerged that pushed transfer rates to 7,000MB/s, with a handful of models going a few hundred megabytes per second higher. On paper, Apacer's new SSDs blow them out of the water.
It's not entirely clear what the full extent of the differences will be between the Apacer and Zadak models. The only one we can see is the heatsink, potentially—Apacer says its own brand drive is being "designed with exclusive high-quality metal cooling fins" while the Zadak model "comes with two types of heatsinks, ultra-thin graphene and aluminum."
Otherwise, the speeds are the same and the 5-year warranty is the same. We don't know much else, like what kind of NAND flash memory chips they are using and what controller Apacer opted for. As it pertains to the latter, it could be a Phison E26 controller, which supports speeds of up to 16,000MB/s, or something from Silicon Motion or InnoGrit. All three have or are prepping PCIe 5 controllers.
If you're a gamer, these ultra-fast SSDs may not hold much benefit out of the gate. It's worth noting, however, that Microsoft's DirectStorage API recently began shipping as a public software development kit (SDK), which will make it easier for developers to tap into all that delightful speed.
Of course, the other half of the equation is the platform, in order to take full advantage of these drives. Intel supports PCIe 5 with Alder Lake and AMD will follow suit with Zen 4.