Skip to main content

Aorus’ New PCIe 4 SSD Gobbles Up 16 Lanes of PCIe, Might Make Your GPU Jealous

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

Even though it’s not really a secret anymore, Gigabyte now formally announced this week the Aorus Gen4 AIC SSD 8TB. This is a PCIe add-in-card which houses four 2TB PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSDs, which turns it into, for lack of better words, an absolute storage monster.

Add those numbers up, and you’ve got an 8TB NVMe SSD that runs over the new PCIe 4.0 standard with access to 16 lanes. Gigabyte claims that it should manage a throughput (read and write) of about 15,000 MBps. The unit is rated at 430,000 random read IOPS and 440,000 random write IOPS.

Putting Things in Perspective

Let’s just put this into perspective. The typical 2.5-inch SATA SSD has a throughput of around 550 MBps, and if you’ve got a fancy PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe M.2 SSD, you might have a read speed of about 3,500 MBps. This makes Gigabyte’s new AIC almost 30 times as fast as the SATA SSDs many users have.

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

Gigabyte’s new AIC SSD does need some cooling, though. It comes with a blower-style cooler that pulls air in and exhausts it out the back of the card, outside the PC case. On its way, it cools a copper heatsink placed over the quadruplet of M.2 SSDs installed inside the unit. Inside Gigabyte also fitted the unit with eight temperature sensors, which can be monitored from within the Aorus Storage Manager software. Interestingly, this SSD is one of the few Aorus-branded products that doesn’t come with RGB lighting (though we doubt that's a primary concern of anyone looking at this offering). 

The M.2 SSDs inside the unit are built with Toshiba BiSC4 96-layer 3D TLC NAND, which enable a transfer rate of up to 800 MTps. The NAND on each SSD is brought together by a Phison PS5016-E16 controller. Durability is rated at 3,600 TBW per 2TB SSD. Because we expect this to be a rather costly purchase that any user would want to last, it's fortunate Gigabyte offers a 5-year warranty with it.

This all sounds good, but is there is a caveat. As noted, the Aorus Gen4 AIC SSD 8TB runs on PCIe 4.0. So the only platform you can currently use this with is an an AMD X570 motherboard paired with an AMD Ryzen 3000 CPU. The Ryzen 3000 CPUs have 24 PCIe lanes – four of which are downstream to the chipset. Consequently, from the 20 lanes left, you’d eat up 16 with the Aorus SSD. That leaves only 4 lanes, which may be enough for a graphics card (given that PCIe 4.0 is effectively twice as fast as PCIe 3.0), but the PCIe 4.0 interface is so new it's hard to know for sure without testing. 

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

Thankfully, the rumor mill has been working hard and the TRX40 platform for AMD's Ryzen 3000 Threadrippper CPUs is set to launch next month. Given that the CPUs will carry similar specs as AMD’s Epyc line of CPUs, which have 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes, we’re confident that the Ryzen 3000 Threadripper will have a sufficient number of lanes for utilizing Gigabyte's new Aorus Gen4 AIC SSD 8TB.

No pricing has been revealed yet.

  • alextheblue
    The Ryzen 3000 CPUs have 24 PCIe lanes – four of which are downstream to the chipset. Consequently, from the 20 lanes left, you’d eat up 16 with the Aorus SSD. That leaves only 4 lanes
    That depends on the motherboard. They could split that up a number of ways, even tossing in a switch. With that being said I personally think if you're going to drop this much money on your storage alone, you should probably strongly consider an HEDT platform. This would pair well with the next-gen TR boards and processors.
    Reply
  • nitrium
    "This all sounds good, but is there is a caveat. As noted, the Aorus Gen4 AIC SSD 8TB runs on PCIe 4.0. So the only platform you can currently use this with is an an AMD X570 motherboard paired with an AMD Ryzen 3000 CPU."

    Wait, shouldn't it be backward compatible with older PCIe slots (in fact, doesn't it have to be in order to comply with the PCIe standard)? I know with GPU's you can run PCIe 3.0 boards in PCIe 2.0 and 1.1 slots with no problems. Sure you don't get the max throughput, but it should still work, right?
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    The unit is rated at 430,000 random read IOPS and 440,000 random write IOPS.

    Which means, unless those are QD1 IOPS, it's SLOWER than a 970 EVO Plus, which has 600,000 and 550,000 IOPS. And I seriously doubt those are QD1 IOPS. Since random read and write performance is where nearly all drives "live", this drive is actually slower than just using a standard PCIe 3.0 NVME drive.
    Reply
  • remosito
    Darkbreeze said:
    Which means, unless those are QD1 IOPS, it's SLOWER than a 970 EVO Plus, which has 600,000 and 550,000 IOPS. And I seriously doubt those are QD1 IOPS. Since random read and write performance is where nearly all drives "live", this drive is actually slower than just using a standard PCIe 3.0 NVME drive.

    Bingo!
    Reply
  • gfg
    I think that for the price of this ssd, it is for users of threadripper 3000, that although it is not yet on the market, I have no doubts about the price of this ssd.
    Reply
  • Slesreth
    Darkbreeze said:
    Which means, unless those are QD1 IOPS, it's SLOWER than a 970 EVO Plus, which has 600,000 and 550,000 IOPS. And I seriously doubt those are QD1 IOPS. Since random read and write performance is where nearly all drives "live", this drive is actually slower than just using a standard PCIe 3.0 NVME drive.

    Where Niels Broekhuijsen got his IOPS information from is not provided in any link given in this article. The press release page linked from the article does not even use IOPS or the words that make it. The only numbers given for speed is in this quote from the first paragraph, "..., today launched the AORUS Gen4 AIC SSD 8TB with ultra-fast 15,000MB/s sequential read/write speeds."
    For further reference I give the actual item specification page at gigabyte.com.Which does not list this information either. At this point in time the actual IOPS of this drive appears to be pure speculation.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    Given that it's 4 x 2TB drives, I wonder if this drive is implemented similarly to a 4-way RAID0 internally? That would explain the lackluster random performance and high sequential performance.

    Assuming the IOPS numbers in this article are accurate.
    Reply
  • kinggremlin
    TJ Hooker said:
    Given that it's 4 x 2TB drives, I wonder if this drive is implemented similarly to a 4-way RAID0 internally? That would explain the lackluster random performance and high sequential performance.

    Assuming the IOPS numbers in this article are accurate.

    Yes, it requires RAID to hit max throughput.

    https://www.gigabyte.com/Solid-State-Drive/AORUS-Gen4-AIC-Adaptor

    "test conditions are under PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, Windows 10 OS, AHCI mode, running instant RAID through the AORUS Storage Manager. "
    Reply
  • Bamda
    Aorus Gen4 AIC SSD 8TB is perfectly matched for the new AMD Threadripper 3960X and 3970X with the additional lanes that CPUs provide.
    Reply