Some PCIe 5.0 SSDs Confined to 10 GBps; Others Hit 12.4 GBps

At least three SSD makers — CorsairGigabyte, and Goodram — announced their SSDs based on Phison’s E26 controller with a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface over the past few weeks. Corsair’s and Goodram’s drives offer a maximum sequential read speed of 10 GBps, whereas Gigabyte’s product is said to hit 12.4 GBps. There is a reason for that: No 3D NAND chips are currently fast enough to saturate the controller’s capabilities.

Phison’s PS5026-E26 controller has eight NAND channels, which is typical for client SSDs. These channels support different data transfer rates, but to saturate a PCIe 5.0 x4 (15.754 GBps in both directions), it needs 3D NAND memory with a 2400 MTps interface. Micron was first to announce such memory this July, SK Hynix followed in early August, then YMTC introduced its Xtacking 3.0 architecture enabling a 2400 MTps speed. All of Phison’s E26 demonstrations were with SSDs featuring Micron’s latest 3D NAND chips, and this is when those drives hit ~12 GBps sequential read speeds. Galax is also testing its HOF Extreme 50 SSDs with Micron’s 232-layer 2400 MTps chips, according to ITHome (opens in new tab).

Micron’s 232-layer 3D NAND chips with a 2400 MTps interface are ahead of the rivals in mass production and maturity. But there is a problem. Yields of chips with 2400 MTps data transfer rates are low; they work perfectly at 1600 MTps, though. As a result, it will take the company some time to initiate mass production of chips that all work at 2400 MTps, which will presumably happen sometime early next year, according to Tom’s Hardware sources.

In the meantime, SSDs based on Phison’s E26 controller will only hit around 10,000 MBps. Gigabyte announced its Aorus Gen5 10000 SSD with a 12.4 GB/s sequential read speed with Micron’s 2400 MTps memory, whereas Corsair and Goodram rated their drives at 10 GBps since they will have to use 3D NAND memory with a 1600 MTps interface.

Will Gigabyte be able to procure enough 2400 MTps chips for proper availability of its drive is something only time will tell. Corsair and Goodram are arguably more realistic with their performance targets, so expect their SSDs to be available widely, and these will be among the best SSDs this fall. Also, expect these companies to launch successors to their MP700 and IRDM Pro drives as soon as memory with a 2400 MTps interface is available widely. Finally, we have no idea when Galax plans to introduce its HOF Extreme 50 drive, but since it is testing it with Micron’s 232-layer 2400 MTps chips, you can make some guesses.