The market for faster solid state drives is ripe for expansion with next-gen game consoles and PCs alike sporting storage architectures that can help developers tap into the speed potential of PCIe 4.0 models. And right on cue, Kioxia, formerly known as Toshiba Memory, has come out with a new line of PCIe 4.0 SSDs.
Kioxia's new XG7 and XG7-P (opens in new tab) represent the company's first-ever client (read: not datacenter) PCIe 4.0 models. Compared to the previous generation XG6 series, which are PCIe 3.0 drives, Kioxia says its latest offerings deliver twice the sequential read performance and 1.6x faster sequential writes.
I'd prefer if Kioxia would just provide some concrete speed ratings, but in lieu of those, my math works things out to reads being 6.3GB/s or faster, and writes checking in at 4.6GB/s or higher. These values will probably vary a bit by capacity, with the XG7 being offer offered in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB, and the XG7-P debuting with 2TB and 4TB models.
There are faster PCIe 4.0 SSDs out there, like Samsung's 980 Pro (opens in new tab). Likewise, Phison this week introduced its PS5018-E18 controller (opens in new tab), which supports read and write speeds of up to 7,400MB/s and 7,000MB/s, respectively.
Nevertheless a 6.3GB/s (or higher) read speed is incredibly fast. The highest performing SATA models top out at around 580MB/s and, at the moment, are still plenty fast for gaming. But things could change in a hurry, depending on how developers take advantage of Microsoft's DirectStorage API (opens in new tab) in Windows, which is based on same Velocity storage architecture in the Xbox Series X/S. That's a discussion for another day.
There is no mention of price, as Kioxia is taking aim squarely at OEM system builders and laptop makers. That means upcoming gaming laptops and prebuilt desktops could sport faster storage than what we are accustomed to, provided OEMs bite.