The first PCIe 5.0 drives aren't expected until AMD's Zen 4 processors later this year, but we don't have to wait that long to find out about the next generation of speedy PC storage. Over at its virtual Computex booth, Apacer has revealed the first PCIe Gen5 SSDs running at up to 13,000MB/s read speeds.
There are two drives from Apacer: the Apacer branded AS2280F5 and the Zadak branded TWSG5. Both are rated to a lofty 13,000MB/s seq. read speed and 12,000MB/s seq. write speed. You might say, 'Hey, that's overkill for PC gaming', and yeah you're probably right as it stands today, but there are technologies expected to put your SSD to better use in the near future, namely DirectStorage. And they'll still be hella useful for moving massive files around in the meantime.
Both SSDs are most likely utilising Phison's recently announced PS5026-E26 controller. The specs largely match up: the E26 tops out at 13,500MB/s seq. read and 12,000MB/s seq. write. That's not quite the maximum for PCIe 5.0, however. That's actually 16,000MB/s, but it usually takes a little while for an updated controller to unleash the most out of the new specification.
Both Apacer and Zadak SSDs feature the same heat sink from the images in their virtual Computex booth, but the Zadak model is listed with an 'ultra-thin graphene' heat sink, too. That's more of a thick sticker—handy if you already have SSD heat sinks on your motherboard.
We don't yet know how much cooling a PCIe 5.0 SSD will require, but Phison has said it reckons its E26 controller will actually run cooler than some around today. That said, it also mentioned active cooling could one day become the norm for M.2 SSDs.
These new PCIe 5.0 SSDs are likely to release around the same time as AMD's Zen 4 processors in the fall, as that's when Phison reckons it will have the controller ready to go. Intel already offers PCIe 5.0 support with its 12th Gen Alder Lake chips, however, so if someone does have other plans beyond Phison's initial controller, we could see PCIe 5.0 drives before then. I'd doubt it, though—Phison is usually ahead of the crowd.