Thanks to a Tweet by @momomo_us, we have our first detailed look at Asus' brand new ROG Gen-Z.2 M.2 riser card that comes with the new AM5 ROG Crosshair X670E Extreme motherboard. What makes the new card so special is added support for PCIe Gen 5 SSDs.
The Gen-Z.2 is a proprietary PCIe card designed to slot into supported Asus motherboards. The card features two M.2 slots on either side, with one supporting Gen 4 speeds and the other Gen 5. Both slots support a maximum length of 110mm SSDs, but the Gen 5 slot gets its own dedicated passive heatsink cooler to aid in cooling more power-hungry Gen 5 SSDs.
The card sports an all-black finish to match the color scheme of Asus' ROG Crosshair motherboards, and will sit perpendicular to the DDR5 slots to the right of supported motherboards when installed. The stealthy color scheme of the Gen-Z.2 should aid users looking for a streamlined aesthetic, where the DDR5 modules can stand out from the somewhat bulky M.2 card.
The added heatsink will also substantially improve the cooling performance of M.2 SSDs sitting in the primary Gen 5 slot compared to SSDs sitting within the motherboard. The built-in heatsink has direct access to airflow from the front intake fans of a computer case, and is aided by the exhaust airflow from a CPU tower cooler.
The GenZ.2 card will also improve the X670E Crosshair Extreme's M.2 storage capacity quite a bit, and will double the board's M.2 slot capacity from two to four --three of which support PCIe Gen 5. This is not to mention the additional PCIe 5.0 M.2 card that the Extreme ships with, further increasing the board's M.2 capacity.
PCIe Gen 5 SSDs will be out coming soon, with launch dates for some drives as early as October. But don't get your hopes high just yet; these first-generation variants will not be able to saturate the full bandwidth of four PCIe 5.0 lanes and will be limited to just 10GBps to 12.4GBps. Nonetheless, these first-gen drives will be much faster than the best PCIe Gen 4 drives on the market today. Even faster PCIe 5 SSDs are expected to arrive in 2023.
Yeah, for 4 & more M.2 you'll need to step up the size of the motherboard.
Some next-gen MATX motherboards only have 2 PCIe slots because of flush mount M.2... And yes, the 2x PCIe slots includes the graphics one, so you only get one PCIe slot if you have a dGPU.
And high-end consumer motherboards started to move to E-ATX just 2-3 years ago because of the increased M.2 slots and the extra amount of integrated goodies.
Not to mention the move to ATX12VO were the motherboard will require more space to have the extra voltage conversion.
This didn't need a riser. This could easily be a 16x PCIe card. If it needs more power, an SATA or Molex would be just fine. That's how video cards used to be before they got their own dedicated connectors.
Proprietary interfaces is a huge step in the wrong direction. We buy Asus or others specifically because we don't want Apple.
I don't disagree, remember when phones all had different power adapters? That's where we'd be heading with proprietary adapters and cables.
Irregardless, I think it's time that traditional rectangular cases be redesigned and optimized for modern PC components. We are try so hard to optimize PCs cooling in a case design from the 80s. Something less conventional will undoubtedly make cooling easier and more efficient.