Whatever solid state drive you have running in your PC right now is not as fast as Corsair’s new Force Series MP600 model. I can confidently say this because Corsair’s drive one of the first SSDs to tap into the PCI Express 4.0 bus, which doubles the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0, support for which was introduced with AMD’s recently announced X570 chipset.
In case you missed it, AMD on Monday announced its latest generation of processors based on its 7-nanometer Zen 2 architecture. To go along with the new Ryzen 3000 series of desktop CPUs, AMD also unveiled its X570 chipset. The two notable features of X570 are improved power delivery for the latest iteration of Zen, and PCIe 4.0 support.
PCIe 4.0 effectively doubles the bandwidth between the CPU and chipset, as well as the CPU and peripherals like graphics cards. Bandwidth for GPUs has not really been a major bottleneck for games, but PCIe 4.0 does enable faster M.2 NVMe SSDs, such as the one Corsair just announced.
When plugging the new MP600 drive into an X570 motherboard and pairing it with a third-generation Ryzen processor, sequential read speeds can hit 4,950MB/s, Corsair says. No small feat, this is one of the first M.2 SSDs to approach 5GB/s. Gigabyte has one in the works as well, and we’re sure other manufacturers will follow.
Corsair’s drive isn’t using any overly special parts—it’s built with standard 3D TLC (triple-level cell) NAND flash memory, which we’ve seen before, combined with a Phison PS5016-E16 controller. In other words, the speed gains are owed primarily to PCIe 4.0 support.
"AMD is making huge strides in bringing new, high-performance features to the PC enthusiast market, and we’re delighted to be able to partner with them in doing so," said Andy Paul, Founder and CEO of Corsair. "With the MP600, AMD X570 motherboard owners will be able to experience the benefits of PCIe 4.0 immediately, with the fastest Corsair SSD yet at the center of their system."
For comparison, Samsung’s 970 Evo Plus is one of the fastest NVMe SSDs available, and it’s rated to deliver sequential read and write speeds of up to 3,500MB/s and 3,300MB/s, respectively. And those speeds are basically the limit of a PCIe 3.0 x4 connection, so the MP600 is a fair bit faster. Note that we don't have any data on random IO performance yet, which is another factor.
That said, the added speed is not really going to help games load or run any faster. Even going from a SATA 6Gbps SSD that tops out at around 560MB/s to an NVMe SSD yields nominal performance gains for gaming—it’s why we still consider Samsung’s 860 Evo 1TB as one of the best SSDs for gaming. When doing heavy file lifting outside of gaming, however, these faster speeds can come in handy.
Corsair hasn’t said what capacities the MP600 series will ship in, or what pricing will look like. Undoubtedly, they new drives be priced on the higher end of the NVMe SSD spectrum, though. We’ll find out in July when they launch alongside AMD’s Ryzen 3000 series CPUs.