The debut of AMD's third-gen Ryzen chips hastened the arrival of blazingly-fast PCIe 4.0 SSDs, but we'll soon be jaded about SSDs with a "paltry" 5GB/s of throughput, especially with new models coming with even faster speeds. But what if you could boot your PC with an SSD adapter that hits 15 GB/s?
That's the purpose of Gigabyte's prototype quad-SSD adapter. This new add-in card snaps into your PCIe slot to get access to the full blazing 64 GB/s of theoretical throughput available through the PCIe 4.0 x16 connection. After you add in the annoying, yet unavoidable overhead of the PCIe interface and RAID, Gigabyte's new prototype has hit up to 15 GB/s when paired with four of the company's new Aorus PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Each of those SSDs hit up to 5GB/s, so the card could potentially push up to 20 GB/s with further tuning.
Using AMD's hardware RAID built into its motherboard, you can boot directly to this quad-SSD adapter if it's placed in the first PCIe slot. Snap in four SSDs, and you're ready to go. Currently the most capacious PCIe 4.0 SSDs come with 2TB of capacity, giving you an 8TB limit with the card, but that'll improve when more capacious SSDs come to market.
Gigabyte's SSD adapter has a thick (and heavy) metal frontplate and backplate to keep the SSDs cool, while the blower-style fan exhausts air out of the rear of the case. The SSDs slot into the four standard M.2 sockets on the board and each has its own dedicated redriver to ensure top performance. The card is slot-powered, so you won't need to plug in any bulky power supply cables. This prototype has a switch on the upper left-hand corner that turns on some RGB bling, but Gigabyte decided not to include LED lighting on the final product.
Gigabyte hasn't decided on final pricing for the adapter but expects that the combined cost of both the PCIe 4.0 SSDs and the adaptor will keep this out of the reach of most normal enthusiasts. Instead, Gigabyte plans to market the as-yet-unnamed card to the workstation market (hence the removal of the RGB lighting).
The combination of PCIe 4.0's blazing throughput for storage devices with secondary PCIe 4.0 GPUs used for accelerated compute (like AMD's Radeon Instinct or Navi cards) will open up new levels of performance for creative professionals. Gigabyte is in the final stages of development, but hasn't finalized the launch date.