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.