Kioxia Unveils BG5 NVMe SSDs To Bring PCIe 4 To Everyday Gamers And Affordable Laptops

Kioxia BG5 SSD
It's been a little while since Kioxia last introduced a client solid state drive line, that being the BG4 series we reviewed in 2019. Now a bit over two years later Kioxia is following that up with its new BG5 series, which aims to "bring a suitable balance of performance, cost, and power to everyday gamers and PC users." Does it deliver?

That's a question we'll address another day when we have an opportunity to review the latest lineup. In the meantime, we can relay what makes the BG5 series tick and go over the features and specifications, including its status as a PCI Express 4.0 SSD line.

The BG5 is built around fifth-generation 3D BiCS Flash memory and packaged in a compact M.2 2230 single-sided form factor (it will also be offered in a longer M.2 2280 form factor). This is a DRAM-less drive line that Kioxia says is "finely optimized" for back end performance while remaining affordable.

"Market adoption of DRAM-less SSDs is increasing steadily, thanks to HMB’s ability to reduce the overall bill of materials without degrading the data read/write performance of the SSD," noted Neville Ichhaporia, vice president, SSD marketing and product management, Kioxia America, Inc. "The fact that Kioxia realized PCIe 4.0 performance with a DRAM-less architecture is a win for mainstream client applications."

Though this is a PCIe Gen 4 drive series, the rated speeds are what we are more accustomed to seeing from higher-end PCIe Gen 3 models—up to 3,500MB/s for sequential reads and 2,900MB/s for sequential writes, along with 500,000 IOPS of random read and 450,000 IOPS of random write performance.

Those are certainly respectable speed tiers all around, just not within the upper echelon of PCIe Gen 4 SSDs, some of which offer data rates exceeding 7,000MB/s. Kioxia's presumably shooting for much lower price points than those drives, though. How much less remains to be seen—Kioxia hasn't mentioned any MSRPs yet, but did say the BG5 series will be available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities.

"With this latest addition to our comprehensive PCIe 4.0 SSD portfolio, KIOXIA is delivering premium performance to the mainstream swim-lane by enabling PCIe 4.0 without sacrificing affordability,"  Ichhaporia added. "We are committed to leading the transition to next generation storage for gaming, mobile computing and workstation applications, and will continue to develop advanced technologies for high-performance, small-footprint SSDs."

There's some value in attempting to fast-track the transition to PCIe Gen 4, though the appeal of these drives will largely boil down to the bang-for-buck ratio since they're not pushing the performance envelope. We should find out relatively soon as Kioxia said it has begun sampling its BG5 SSDs to key partners.