In a recent YouTube video from MSI, the company announced a new M.2 PCIe Gen 5 adapter card during its coverage of new Z690 motherboards. The new card will run on a PCIe Gen 5 x8 interface, allowing full compatibility with future Gen 5 NVMe SSDs once they arrive in consumers' hands. MSI did not say if the card would come with any motherboards, but we presume it will come with a few of its flagship motherboards and also be sold separately.
This card could be handy once compatible drives are announced. Alder Lake does not have Gen 5 support on its native M.2 slots, so this card will be one of the few ways you can get Gen 5 NVMe compatibility on the Alder Lake platform.
The card looks very similar to MSI's previous Gen 4 M.2 cards, featuring a black shroud with a small heatsink and fan for actively cooling the single M.2 slot in the card. MSI notes that PCIe Gen 5 M.2 SSDs will get hot, so active cooling is necessary to cool these future SSDs.
The card runs on a Gen 5 x8 interface, but the physical connection is x16. This card is designed to run in the second Gen 5 slot of Z690 motherboards, which are wired for x8 but are physically capable of housing x16 cards. The only downside to this approach is the deduction of 8 lanes to your main graphics card. Meaning your GPU has to run in x8 mode to run the M.2 card at the same time.
So far, we don't have any concrete information on actual release dates for any Gen 5 SSDs. However, Samsung has teased its own enterprise PCIe Gen 5.0 SSDs are coming in Q2 of 2022. If true, we can expect consumer SSDs to arrive sometime in late 2022 or probably early 2023 if we had to guess.