PCIe 5.0 SSDs are yet to reach tipping point: 'The percentage of Gen5 shipping to the percentage of Gen 4 is very small' but Micron says that might change next year

Crucial T700 SSD
(Image credit: Future)

It might not surprise you to learn that PCIe 5.0 SSDs, Gen 5 by another name, isn't selling in anywhere near the sort of quantities that PCIe 4.0 is. As Micron tells me over at Computex 2024, the newer, faster SSDs haven't reached a tipping point in popularity.

"The percentage of Gen5 shipping to the percentage of Gen4 is very small," Dinesh Bahal, VP and GM of Micron's Consumer & Components Group, says.

"It again goes back to 'what am I trying to do and am I really going to be able to get the advantage of using that'."

We've reviewed a good few PCIe 5.0 SSDs and ended up on the same fundamental conclusion: the benefits of a PCIe 5.0 SSD simple don't justify the costs right now, at least not for gaming. The sequential read and write speeds are extremely quick, though the random speeds aren't much improved. That means these drives generally only offer a great benefit when you have two of them and a really good reason to be moving massive files around regular. 

Simply put: they're extremely niche. And expensive.

Not to mention quite hot, and that means either large passive coolers are required or noisy active ones. Altogether, we're just not that convinced, even with the cheaper models.

Though Micron says there may be some hope on the horizon. 

"Watch this space over the next nine months or so. And you'll see some interesting Gen5 announcements that should help people move from Gen4 to Gen5.

"There will definitely be a price difference, but it won't be as substantial as it is."

Micron won't say what the big upgrade will be, but you betcha it'll be a new controller and cheaper, high-performance NAND. The same thing occurred with PCIe 4.0, which started slow and eventually became much more affordable. Though it's worth mentioning that Micron also told me that it expects demand for memory, both NAND and DRAM, to increase due to AI, which may affect the overall pricing.

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(Image credit: Jacob Ridley)

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"It's just a matter of time where A) that price delta goes lower, and B) you have the applications which really need that level of performance."

Those applications that require speedy drives could be all manner of thing. DirectStorage probably will be better made use of in years to come, which may mean faster drives actually make a big difference in gaming, where they don't really have much impact today. Though I have a feeling Micron also means AI, which it told me has "made memory sexy again."

If all this talk of PCIe 5.0 drives is making you fearful for your wallet, you can still pick up heaps of excellent PCIe 4.0 SSDs for not a lot of money. And it depends what you're coming from—if you're still rocking an HDD as a boot drive, any SSD, of any age, will be an incredible upgrade.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.