MSI's add-in card can RAID two M.2 SSDs at 7,200 MB/s

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M.2 SSDs are fast, but what if you could make them way faster? MSI has some crazy storage performance in mind with a PCIe add-in card that puts two M.2 SSDs in RAID 0 for crazy speeds of more than 7,000 MB/s across x8 PCIe lanes. If you're not running SLI in your system, this could be an awesome upgrade to crank up storage performance and make use of that second PCIe slot.

It's only been a couple years since we finally escaped the SATA speed barrier with M.2. As solid state memory got faster and faster, the SATA interface we used (and still use) for traditional 2.5-inch SSDs became more of a bottleneck, but thanks to the M.2 interface we have a now-common form factor for faster SSDs that can read and write data at PCIe speeds. Hundreds of megabytes per second is no longer cool. Thousands of megabytes per second? That's cool. 

But the NVMe SSDs we use to hit those speeds, like the Samsung 960 Pro (opens in new tab), tend to top out at around 3,500 MB/s. MSI strives to double that with its x8 PCIe add-in card, which has two heat-shielded M.2 mounts and a small fan to keep the whole card cool and prevent thermal throttling. It promises speeds of up to 7,200 MB/s.

3,500 MB/s is already crazy fast, so I don't know how discernible doubling that speed would be for running Windows, booting games or anything else I do with my PC. But I want to find out. 

Unfortunately, MSI currently only has plans to offer the gaming storage card as an add-on for its prebuilt systems. I'm hoping some interest and demand for it inspires it to offer it standalone.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter (opens in new tab) and Tested (opens in new tab) before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).