Why it matters: These extreme SSD speeds can finally make a difference in load times when games using the DirectStorage API are unavailable. Until then, the usefulness of high sequential transfer rates will be limited to situations such as transfers of large video files.
Phison just showed off a PCIe 5.0 reference SSD based on its new PS5026-E26 controller and 1TB of Micron’s 3D TLC NAND.
In CrystalDiskMark, this SSD achieved a sequential read speed of over 12 GB/s and a sequential write speed of approximately 10 GB/s. Those are extremely impressive numbers, as the flagship PCIe 4.0 drives have a top speed of around 7 GB/s for sequential transfers.
Meanwhile, 4K random readouts at QD1, arguably the most important metric for everyday use, are limited to around 16,000 IOPS, while drives like the Samsung 980 Pro can hit up to 22,000 IOPS here. However, these numbers could improve with more mature firmware in shipping products.
Phison’s PS5026-E26 is the industry’s first PCIe 5.0 controller and comes with two ARM Cortex-R5 cores and three proprietary CoXProcessor 2.0 accelerators. Built on TSMC’s 12nm process node, it supports both TLC and QLC NAND flash memory with data transfer rates of up to 2,400 MT/sec.
It’s also worth noting that Phison’s tech example seems to use a slightly wider M.2 2580 form factor, with most M.2 SSDs using 2280 these days (the first two numbers indicate width, while the last two indicate length). This extra width could make these new SSDs incompatible with previous motherboards, though it’s doubtful anyone would buy a premium PCIe 5 SSD and limit performance by running it on an older platform.
SSDs based on the E26 are expected to hit the market later this year when AMD’s 600 series motherboards also become available.