Intel showcases NVM-Express SSDs for consumers



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Intel has revealed SSDs with a NVM-Express bus targeted at gamers and other high-end applications.

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I’m glad to hear they are finally moving away from the bottleneck that SATA is, and moving to NVMe on the consumer side.

There is very likely to be quite a lot of NVMe SSDs showing up in H2 of this year, or perhaps even sooner.

Many motherboard manufacturers have already added native NVMe support to their latest motherboards, and even added support to motherboards that have been around almost a year, via a BIOS update.


^:iagree::iagree: This is long overdue.

SATA isn’t just a bottleneck, it is now an unnecessary complication. Much simpler to have a single direct PCI Express to storage device controller on the drive itself. A common standard is vital though - we [I]really[/I] don’t want to have to install device-specific drivers.

It sounds like they are following the model of USB Mass Storage, which should allow manufacturers much freedom to innovate while still ensuring everything ‘just works’.

Hope they have allowed for future bandwidth increases though - ~2200MB/S (4x550MB/S) could become a new bottleneck in only a few years. :iagree: If they have planned ahead it should be a straightforward matter of allocating more PCIe lanes or switching to PCIe 4.

These were always going to be two significant advantages of PCIe - being able scale up bandwidth with more lanes and being able to use it over greater distances through cables. But I don’t think many people realised a decade ago just how important it would be.


The whole idea of NVMe is that it will be natively supported by the operating system, and shouldn’t require additional drivers. That doesn’t mean that Intel for example won’t release optimised drivers for their chipsets.

Consumer NVMe will probably be restricted to 8 PCIe3 lanes, to allow the addition of a graphics card. The current crop of consumer grade NVMe drives will probably be 4X PCIe3. allowing transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps (4GB/s) transfer speeds. Enterprise class NVMe drives could probably use 16X PCIe3 or in other words, up to 160Gbps (16GB/s) transfer speeds.

Probably more important than the transfer speeds is, latency will be much lower, and support for queue depths beyond 65,000.

I would guess the first consumer grade NVMe SSDs will use a 2.5 inch form factor and look much like a SATA 2.5 inch drive, except instead of a SATA connector at one end of the drive, you’ll find a PCB edge connector much like a graphics card, which can be plugged into a standard PCIe3 16X socket.

Future motherboard chipsets, such as the Intel Z170 chipset for the SkyLake platform due H2 2015, may have PCIe3 4X sockets designed specifically for NVMe SSDs.


It looks like 2.5"/3.5" and M.2 form factor NVMe SSDs will connect to the motherboard via SATA Express, but using NVMe rather than AHCI as the logical device interface. The current specification allows for four PCIe 3.0 lanes, but many implementations only use two PCIe 2.0.