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Super-Fast PCIe 5.0 Drives Are Almost Here, But You Seriously Don’t Need Them

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PCIe 5.0 SSDs, the next generation of solid-state storage for our PCs and laptops, are almost here. It’s tantalizingly close now, with industry titans like privateer other M: YES preparing to launch new drives that promise transfer speeds of more than 10,000 MB/s.

As someone widely known as a big fucking nerd, I’m seriously excited. PCIe 5.0 represents another huge step forward in data transfer technologies; I wasn’t with TechRadar when PCIe 4.0 first launched in the consumer sphere, but you can bet I was drooling over a Gen4 M.2 drive that week.

However, should the average PC user be concerned about this? Hell no! No ordinary person will need that kind of incredible transfer speed! As much as it makes a tech-savvy like me a little nervous to think about transferring thirteen gigabytes of data in a single second, there are a plethora of other factors at play here that ensure these drives aren’t an option. for the average consumer.

What is PCIe 5.0, anyway?

Let’s start with a quick introduction here, for those who think ‘more speed is good, right?’ In simple terms, PCIe (which stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a connection standard used in PCs, laptops, and tablets to transfer data between the main system and additional components; in this case, the solid state drives (SSD) used to store your files.

PCIe 5.0 is the next generation version of this standard, which has already been implemented in some non-consumer systems. Consumer M.2 SSDs are currently at PCIe 4.0, which tops out at 8,000MB/s in the M.2 drive format, though most of these drives actually top out at 6,500MB/s.

The new 5th generation standard doubles that, capable of a maximum of 16,000 MB/s on standard M.2 drives, making it the fastest PCIe 5.0 drive yet announced. Apacer 13,000 MB/s model. Corsair’s version will apparently max out at just 10,000MB/s, though this is still massively faster than anything currently available.

(Image credit: Corsair)

Why shouldn’t you buy one?

It’s unclear when these units will actually hit the market; Announcements have been scattered throughout 2021 and 2022, but no release dates have been set yet. Still, we can reasonably expect it to happen soon, but don’t rush out and buy one when it does.

Now, I’m not some prophetic savant pondering my SSD orb of wisdom, but there are a few lessons from the PCIe 4.0 release to be learned here. It’s been years since the current generation of M.2 SSDs hit the consumer market and we’ve calm it has not seen widespread adoption.

The reason for this is threefold; First of all, data transfer rates are improving much faster than file sizes. Many people still use hard drives (Hard drives) for storage, which tends to transfer data at around 100MB/s, and doesn’t notice the need to upgrade. If you’re just moving family photos and text documents on your old tower PC, you don’t necessarily need a faster drive. Even SATA SSDs are still widely used, capped at 600 MB/s.

The second reason is that M.2 drives are simply more expensive. If you’re building a PC for office work, a SATA or PCIe 3.0 SSD will probably be more than enough. When PCIe 4.0 was first released, they were ridiculously expensive; the price has stabilized a lot since then, but they are still more expensive than perfectly competent PCIe 3.0 drives. The same is almost guaranteed to happen with PCIe 5.0: if you buy one immediately after release, you’ll be scammed.

Lastly, compatibility is an issue. Obviously, if you buy a new laptop, the shiny new drive it contains will work with your existing components, but you can’t just upgrade your old system with a new drive. PCIe 5.0 will require a compatible motherboard and processor to work, such as the upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000 chips. Of course, that will also be expensive, which will compound the price problem.

(Image credit: Gigabytes)

What if I really need faster storage?

If you’ve been considering a storage upgrade for a while (or if you’re thinking of buying a new laptop and you want one with a fast drive), then the idea of ​​waiting until PCIe 5.0 drops might seem appealing.

After all, going from a SATA SSD or HDD to a next-gen M.2 drive will feel like night and day for any user who really needs better transfer speeds — serious photo and video editors who move massive files on a daily basis. , for instance. , or gamers who want their games to load faster.

In fact, cries of ‘SSD’ have long filled the chat boxes of games like Rainbow Six Siege, which shows each player in a match loading the game separately, so if one player is falling behind and holding everyone else back, you can freely be punished by your peers for not upgrading your hardware. Gamers are, after all, a pretty nasty bunch at times.

The thing is, once you get an M.2 SSD, even a late-gen PCIe 3.0, you’ll immediately see a huge increase in speeds compared to older storage formats. Games load faster and you only maintain your internet speed when downloading files. Even your operating system will start faster.

(Image credit: Samsung)

A silver lining, at least

With that in mind, if you’ve heard the siren song of PCIe 5.0 and want to upgrade your faltering old HDD or SATA drive, ask yourself if you really need those ridiculous 12.5 GB/s speeds. Sure, that might be more than twice what a PCIe 3.0 SSD is capable of, but that same PCIe 3.0 drive is a heck of a lot faster than anything a conventional HDD can do.

With PCIe 5.0 coming soon, we really expect PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 drives to drop in price again, in the same way that 3rd-gen drives did when current 4.0 SSDs arrived. SSD storage is cheaper than ever, with Hard drives seemingly on the verge of disappearingWhich means choosing a 3rd generation SSD can give your old gaming rig a major upgrade without costing the world a thing.

black Friday is coming, and there is no doubt that there will be some excellent sales of SSDs from retailers like newegg (opens in a new tab) (whose FantasTech sale actually starts on October 10, for anyone interested). This could be the perfect time to upgrade; don’t be sitting around waiting for a stupidly fast PCIe 5.0 drive that you just don’t need, go for something from the slightly older generations and save some money!

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