SSDs over the SATA3 (6 Gb/s) interface have reached a performance ceiling, and high-performance M.2 SSDs still need to make their way onto the market in masses. That doesn't mean that you cannot buy a faster-than-SATA3 SSD though, as some manufacturers make PCI Express-based SSDs that perform quite admirably. The latest contender to make such an SSD is G.Skill, which has built the "Phoenix Blade."
The Phoenix Blade goes by the cryptic yet somewhat-understandable model number FM-PCx8G2R4-480G, and it's designed to be very, very fast. It operates over an 8x PCI-Express 2.0 interface and is capable of reading and writing at up to 2000 MB/s. Sequentially and continuously, though, it will write at about 1050 MB/s and read at around 1900 MB/s, which is still mighty fast. 4K Random Read performance sits at up to 90,000 IOPS, while 4K Random Writes will go all the way up to 245,000 IOPS.
Such performance is accomplished by using four LSI SF-2281 SSD controllers, each linked to 120 GB of MLC flash and slapped into a RAID0 array. Despite the RAID array and PCI Express interface, G.Skill has still managed to get TRIM commands to work on the SSD, so you can rest assured that performance won't degrade either.
The 480 GB G.Skill Phoenix Blade will be available next week on NewEgg.com for $699 and ships with a three-year warranty.
Clarification: This article was updated at 9:19 AM EST on October 23 to include pricing and availability information.