Galax HOF Extreme 50 PCIe 5 SSD Touts A Huge Active Cooler And Smoking-Fast Speeds

Galax HOF Extreme 50 SSD in front of a lighted tunnel.
It's taking a minute or two, but the next generation of solid state drives leveraging the PCI Express 5.0 bus are starting to materialize. Adding to the modest but growing pile is the Galax HOF (Hall of Fame) Extreme 50. This is Galax's first foray into PCIe 5.0 storage territory, and it enters the scene with a stylish (albeit very large) active cooling solution.

Chunky coolers are fast becoming the norm for the new wave of PCIe 5.0 SSDs. We've seen them on drives like Crucial's T700 (the fat cooler is optional) and Gigabyte's latest generation Aorus SSD, both of which employ comparatively gargantuan heatsinks.

In some cases, drive makers go the active cooling route. Such is the case with CFD Gaming and the HOF Extreme 50 SSD pictured up above. Also notable is that ASRock recently unveiled a standalone active cooler for SSDs. This is something that controller maker Phison discussed a year ago.

"As the speed continues to go up with each new generation, our challenge is to manage the heat. … With Gen4, sometimes people need a cooler, sometimes they are okay with a metal foil label. If their board has enough airflow, it’s fine," Sebastien Jean, chief technical officer at Phison, said at the time.

"There are lots of things that we’re doing to keep the SSD power within a reasonable envelope, but for sure, the SSDs are going to be hotter, in the same way that CPU and GPU got hotter in the 1990s. As we move to Gen 5 and Gen 6, we may need to consider active cooling," Jean added.

Top-angled view of the Galax HOF Extreme 50 SSD.

Speaking of Phison, and getting back to the HOF Extreme 50, the latest SSD from Galax pairs a Phison E26 controller with 232-layer 3D triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash memory chips. The drive is debuting in two capacities—2TB and 1TB—with similar but slightly different speed ratings.

The 2TB model with 4GB of LPDDR4 of DRAM cache is the faster of the two with sequential reads and writes rated at 10GB/s (10,000MB/s) and 9.5GB/s (9,500MB/s), respectively. It also boasts 1.5 million IOPS for random 4K reads and 1.25 million IOPS for 4K random writes.

As for the 1TB model, which has 2GB of LPDDR4 of DRAM cache, it sports sequential reads of up to 9.5GB/s (9,500MB/s) and sequential writes of up to 8.5GB/s (8,500MB/s). For 4K random reads and writes, it's rated to deliver up to 1.3 million IOPS and 1.1 million IOPS, respectively.

There's still headroom for manufacturers to squeeze out even more performance form the PCIe 5.0 spec. In terms of theoretical maximum throughput, four lanes of PCIe 5.0 traffic can accommodate up to 15.76GB/s (15,760MB/s). And indeed, Galax is already planning to launch a faster PCIe 5.0 SSD line, though it's keeping those details under lock and key for the moment.

Galax has released the 2TB HOF Extreme 50 SSD in China for 2,499 Chinese yuan and plans to bring it to the US market priced at $349.99. Pricing for the 1TB model has not yet been revealed.