According to a recent Sabrent newsletter (opens in a 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 final product if possible. If the X5 can hit that high mark, it will outperform all the best SSDs on the market today.
The Rocket X5 is in the development phase right now, and Sabrent says that the name and label could change before launch and the transfer rate. Effectively, Sabrent is trying to push performance as high as current SSD technology will allow without other factors getting in the way.
Currently, prototype versions of the Rocket X5 are already achieving read speeds in excess of 12 GBps, surpassing the speeds offered by the first PCIe Gen 5 SSDs to hit the market. So it looks like Sabrent is making good progress towards its 14 GBps goal, at least for now.
All PCIe Gen 5 SSD manufacturers at this time are shipping products with either 10 GBps or 12 GBps transfer speeds. For those of you who don’t know, 14 GBps to 15 GBps is the specification limit for PCIe Gen 5 x4, and it’s what makes this transfer rate so incentivizing for manufacturers to achieve.
The issue is related to production issues related to the higher speed 2400 MTps 3D NAND flash, which is required to achieve these higher transfer speeds. Currently, none of the three 3D NAND manufacturers making 2400 MTps chips, including Micron, SK Hynix, and YMTC, have been able to bring large volumes of these chips to market.
Technically, Micron doesn’t have this problem. 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 that hamper production. These issues should have been resolved by the time of this writing, according to sources at Tom’s Hardware, but this has not been confirmed. For more details, check out our previous coverage here.
As a result, there seems to be no guarantee that the Rocket X5 will hit 14 GBps every time it boots up. Final drive characteristics will depend on Sabrent’s production strategy and whether or not it wants to wait for high-speed 2400 MTps NAND flash or skip it entirely and release the drive with slower specs.