According to a recent Sabrent newsletter (opens in new tab), the company is developing a new “Rocket X5” PCIe Gen 5 SSD that has the potential to reach speeds of 14 GBps. This drive is currently in the prototyping stage, and Sabrent is determined to hit the 14 GBps transfer speed target for the finalized product if possible. If the X5 can attain that lofty mark, it will outperform all of the best SSDs on the market today.
The Rocket X5 is in the development phase right now, with Sabrent saying the name and label could change before release and the transfer rate. Effectively, Sabrent is trying to push performance as high as current SSD technology allows without other factors getting in the way.
Currently, prototype versions of the Rocket X5 are already hitting read speeds in excess of 12 GBps, exceeding the speeds offered by the first PCIe Gen 5 SSDs to hit the market. So it appears Sabrent is making good progress on achieving its 14 GBps goal, at least for now.
All PCIe Gen 5 SSD manufacturers right now are shipping products with either 10 GBps or 12 GBps transfer speeds. For those of you unaware, 14 GBps to 15 GBps is the spec limit for PCIe Gen 5 x4, and is what makes this transfer rate so incentivizing for manufacturers to hit.
The issue is related to production issues surrounding higher speed 2400MTps 3D NAND flash, which is required to hit these higher transfer speeds. Currently, none of the three 3D NAND manufacturers that make 2400MTps chips, including Micron, SK Hynix and YMTC, have been able to deliver large volumes of these chips to the market.
Technically, Micron does not have this issue. It is well ahead of SK Hynix and YMTC in both maturity and mass production, but the company has been dealing with chip yield shortages bottlenecking production. These issues should have been resolved already at the time of this writing, according to Tom’s Hardware sources, but this has not been confirmed. For more details, check out our previous coverage here.
As a result, it appears there is no guarantee the Rocket X5 will hit 14 GBps whenever it launches. The drive’s final characteristics will depend on Sabrent’s production strategy and whether or not it wants to wait for high-speed 2400MTps NAND flash or skip it entirely and launch the drive with slower specifications.