Being the world’s largest maker of motherboards and one of the world’s largest producers of PC hardware in general, Asus supplies almost everything imaginable, from humble mouse mats to large-format displays. But there are a few things that are missing in Asus’s portfolio; among them are solid-state drives. But it looks like the company will fill this gap real soon.
The company posted a teaser with its ROG Strix SQ7 drive over on its Taiwanese Facebook page (opens in new tab) on Saturday, just weeks ahead of the looming Computex 2022 trade show. The ROG Strix SQ7 will contend with the best SSDs today.
The teaser does not mention detailed technical specifications of the product but only says that this is a 1TB M.2-2280 drive with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface that is ‘coming soon.’ Additionally, the drive comes with a simplistic graphene heat spreader to fit into desktops, laptops, and potentially the Sony's latest PlayStation 5 console.
The rather simplistic graphene heat spreader is not an indicator of anything. It can hide a modest mid-range turnkey SSD solution or a custom high-performance drive with a proprietary controller and firmware (Samsung’s top-of-the-range 980 Pro client SSD comes with a graphene heat spreader, for example). Given that this is Asus’s first hooray into internal SSDs, we believe it is reasonable to assume that the company is using a turnkey solution, yet with some customizations to justify the Asus ROG branding. Meanwhile, a 1TB capacity indicates that Asus wants to address the sweet spot of the gaming SSD market.
Virtually all leading gaming hardware makers (Gigabyte, MSI, to name a few) started to offer SSDs in recent years. Of course, it is a risky business as SSD costs and prices fluctuate because of fluctuating 3D NAND prices, and competition is cutthroat. Still, you get a steady revenue stream from loyal customers and additional exposure to your brand as a reward.
Enthusiasts who buy leading-edge hardware, such as platforms based on Intel’s 12th Generation Alder Lake processors, eagerly await SSDs with a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface. Unfortunately, these SSD platforms will not be ready for prime time for some time, so Asus is proceeding with a PCIe Gen4 drive. After all, the first product is always a test, so why not go with a proven platform?