Most companies still haven’t shifted their entire NVMe SSD lineups to use PCI Express 4.0, but PCIe 5.0 SSDs for PCs are already on the horizon.
Storage company Silicon Motion said in a recent earnings call that it expects its PCIe 5.0-capable SSD controllers for consumer SSDs will be available sometime in 2024, opening the door to a wide variety of high-performance drives from different manufacturers. SSD manufacturer ADATA teased some PCIe 5.0 SSDs at CES last month (albeit without an expected release date), boasting of read speeds up to 14GB/s and write speeds of up to 12GB/s using a Silicon Motion SM2508 controller. Current high-end PCIe 4.0 SSDs like Samsung’s 980 Pro top out at roughly half those speeds.
Other reports have suggested that these PCIe 5.0 consumer SSDs are coming later in 2022, but according to the call transcript, that only applies to the latest version of Silicon Motion’s PCIe 5.0 controller for enterprise SSDs—the products that end up in servers and data centers, not what typically ends up in the PC on your desk or lap. Early PCIe 4.0 SSDs for consumer PCs were also demonstrated at CES a couple of years before they became products that you could actually buy.
For 2022 and 2023, Silicon Motion will continue to focus on those PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Budget SSDs like Western Digital’s WD Black SN770 SE are only beginning to transition to PCIe 4.0, and according to reviews like this one from Tom’s Hardware, their controllers and flash memory aren’t yet fast enough to benefit much from the extra bandwidth. Silicon Motion also says that PCIe 4.0 SSDs have only become common in pre-built PCs within the last year because of “extensive verification and testing” requirements.
If you’d like to future-proof your PC for PCIe 5.0 SSDs when they do arrive, Intel’s 12th-generation “Alder Lake” processors and AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000-series Zen 4 CPUs both support PCIe 5.0.