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PCIe 5.0 SSDs vs. PCIe 4.0: What 75% Faster Really Means?

    With the launch of PCIe 5.0 SSDs, we are now seeing sequential speeds reaching over 10 GB/s. There are numerous SSDs such as Crucial T700 and Gigabyte Aorus Gen5 10000 coming into the market and trying to take away the stardom from PCIe 4.0 SSDs.

    But, is there any actual difference in the performance when it comes to the practical usage? If you have seen Linus’s review of T700, you might know what I am talking about. If not, I am making things clear for you here.

    The sequential numbers might be reaching above 10 GB/s. However, the actual difference in the day-to-day performance can be counted based on the random performance. This is where these PCIe 5.0 drives are not able to make any huge differences. Let me explain what I am saying.

    The numbers are looking huge. The sequential read and write speeds are like never before.

    But, pay attention to the Random Q1T1 speed. Isn’t it just like or even lower than what the Samsung 990 Pro can offer?

    This is where the actual problem arises. These Gen 5.0 are making the best use of the sequential read/write capabilities of the controllers because it is easy to fit this huge chunk of files into the free space available. But, when it comes to the random speed, the process will have to be slow.

    The Crucial T700 seems to be living in 3023 while we’re stuck in 2023. Paired with a PCIe Gen 5 capable CPU and motherboard, this drive can theoretically reach up to nearly 16 GB/s. Compare that to the best Gen 4 SSDs, which max out at 7.9 GB/s, and you’ll see why I’m so excited. But hold your horses; I had a “but wait, there’s less” moment here.

    Also Read: Top 8 Best PCIe Gen 5.0 SSDs in 2023

    These results may amaze you but the difference is huge only in the sequential performance. In fact, the T700 Gen 5.0 SSD is getting beaten up by some Gen 4.0 SSDs such as the Samsung 990 Pro.

    I have to question the relevance of this new technology. For most users, the benefits of Gen 5 might be negligible. Yes, synthetic benchmarks will wow you, but the performance gains in everyday applications are not groundbreaking. So, who is it for? Well, unless you’re a power user running a plethora of virtual machines or Docker containers, the cost-to-benefit ratio of a Gen 5 SSD remains questionable.

    However, this is the first generation of Gen 5.0 SSDs and they are still new in the industry. We can see some improvements in the firmware and can have improvements in random performance.

    In summary, while Gen 5 SSDs like the Aorus 10000 and T700 offer tantalizing glimpses into the future of storage with faster speeds and more robust architecture, the tech is still in its nascent stages. It’s a bold step forward, but given the performance inconsistencies and premium price tag, I think it’s wise for most consumers to hold off for now—especially as more Gen 5 SSDs are set to hit the market, and optimizations are likely to follow.

    The problem is that these new PCIe Gen 5.0 drives are offering the same random performance as we were getting with the Gen 4.0 drives. So, they kind of become irrelevant for those who do not read and write huge sets of files on their computers.

    If you are a gamer or a content creator, you will hardly be able to make use of that high-speed sequential performance.

    So, if you are not getting any substantial difference in the day-to-day activities and even gaming, a huge percentage of the market will be good with their existing drives.

    Switching from a Gen 4.0 to a Gen 5.0 SSD will not help you with anything when you are playing games. The loading speed may vary by milliseconds but you can’t see that.

    However, moving and copying games here and there will become faster.

    This is how the cache works in drives. Most of the drives in the markets use one NAND cell to store more than one bit of information.

    However, just like the other performance drives, these Gen 5.0 drives use these cells to store one bit per cell as the cache storage. This becomes the cache storage which is limited in capacity and fills up fast because it’s actually very fast.

    Once this cache is filled, you will see speeds decreasing aggressively. This will happen when working with huge files i.e. this doesn’t reflects normal usage.

    If you’re on the cutting edge of technology and crave the fastest speeds possible, Gen 5.0 SSDs are hard to ignore. But, let’s be realistic—should you empty your wallet for this new tech wonder? Here are my thoughts:

    Early Adopters and Enthusiasts

    For those who want the latest and greatest, diving into Gen 5.0 is a no-brainer. You’re not just buying an SSD; you’re buying bragging rights and a ticket to the future of data storage. But remember, this future comes at a premium price.

    Professional Content Creators

    I’m talking about 4K, 8K video editing, 3D rendering, and massive data simulations. When time is money, those extra megabytes per second could save hours on a project.


    Although Gen 5.0 SSDs don’t offer a monumental performance leap in gaming, the increased speeds might shave a few seconds off loading times. Is it worth it? That’s subjective. You won’t be getting better frame rates, but you will be the first to load into a match.

    High-End Workstation Users

    Whether you’re a developer compiling massive codebases or a scientist running complex simulations, faster read/write speeds can make a noticeable difference. Plus, the higher TBW (Total Bytes Written) spec means the SSD will last longer under heavy workloads.

    The ‘Wait and See’ Crowd

    If you’re like me, always cautious about first-generation products, maybe hold off a bit. First-gen products often come with bugs or other hiccups. Plus, competition will arrive soon, hopefully driving down prices.

    Price-sensitive Buyers

    This SSD is not for you—plain and simple. Gen 4 and even Gen 3 SSDs offer excellent performance for a fraction of the price. Unless you have a specific use case that would substantially benefit from the extra speed, save your hard-earned cash for now.

    Bottom Line

    I’m excited about Gen 5.0 SSDs, don’t get me wrong. They mark a step forward in SSD technology. But I also know it’s not for everyone. The firmware needs polishing, and not all systems will support the bandwidth it offers. But if you find yourself in one of the first few categories, then welcome to the future of storage—it’s lightning fast.

    First off, the big challenge: is PCIe 5.0 support. Sure, it’s creeping into more and more motherboards, but when we zoom into M.2 slots that support this new standard, the list starts to thin out considerably. I experienced this limitation firsthand when trying to pick a motherboard for my test setup—it was quite the ordeal.

    And don’t get me started on the need for a compatible CPU. On Intel’s side, you’re looking at 12th- and 13th-gen processors as the only options to unlock PCIe 5.0. While these CPUs offer support, the existing Intel chipsets don’t, meaning that the platform controller hub is stuck at PCIe 4.0. Talk about a bottleneck!

    AMD offers a glimmer of hope with their latest Ryzen CPUs, which not only support PCIe 5.0 but also throw in extra lanes. This makes it simpler to max out both your graphics card and your SSD. However, what tilted the scales in Intel’s favor for me was their native support for Thunderbolt 4/USB4. Plus, there’s the price factor to consider.

    Also, keep in mind that using a Gen 5.0 drive on your motherboard will use up some bandwidth from your graphics card.

    In my opinion, until there’s broader adoption of PCIe 5.0, especially in M.2 slots, we’re all going to have to make some trade-offs. Whether it’s sacrificing Thunderbolt 4 or ponying up more cash, the ideal platform for the Gen 5.0 drives is still something of a mirage.

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