Samsung has teased a PCIe 5.0 SSD showing that storage products should keep doubling in speed every few years, even while Moore's Law is decelerating. Designed for enterprise servers, the PM1743 SSD can hit read speeds of up to 13,000 MB/s and handle 2,500K input/output operations per second (IOPS) — nearly double what the best PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives can do.
PCIe 5.0 supports up to 32 gigatransfers per second (GT/s), double that of PCIe 4.0. To harness that bandwidth, Samsung developed a proprietary controller and worked with Intel to test it. "Together, we have jointly resolved complicated technical issues encountered with PCIe 5.0 during this initial evaluation period," said Intel's Technology Initiatives Director Jim Pappas.
The SSD delivers sequential write speeds of 6,600 MB/s and a random write speed of 250K IOPS, again nearly doubling current specs. It also offers improved power efficiency of up to 30 percent. "This is expected to lower server and data center operating costs significantly, while also helping to reduce their carbon footprint," Samsung wrote.
While PCIe 5.0 is now inevitable, the next version isn't far behind, either. The PCI Special Interest Group has already unveiled a PCI Express 6.0 specification that could hit up to a blistering 256GB per second across 16 lanes — twice as fast as PCIe 5.0 and four times quicker than the 4.0 spec. However, that format will need to use a new trick called Pulse Amplitude Modulation technology that can carry twice as much data as existing methods without the need to use ridiculously high frequencies.
Samsung is now sampling the PM1743 PCIe 5.0 SSD for select customers and has plans to mass produce it in the first quarter of 2022, with capacities ranging from 1.92 terabytes (TB) to 15.36TB. It's also expected to be the first PCIe 5.0 SSD with dual-port support, guaranteeing server operation when a connection to one port fails. The first customers are likely to be data centers, but such technology usually trickles down to consumers a year or so later — so plan accordingly if you have any 16K video editing projects or whatever coming up.