House of Cards: PCIe SSD Performance Roundup

The new NVMe SSDs are now the de facto standard performance kings when it comes to accessing data on a desktop PC. However, there are more than a few other alternatives when it comes to PCIe attached SSD storage solutions. We take a look at how the other current PCIe SSDs on the market fare against NVMe and the best performing SATA.

Introduction

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. This is the unfortunate but temporary state of consumer SSDs that aren’t the Intel 750 or Samsung SM951. Both of those drives offer cutting-edge performance, value (relative to peers), and the potential for real compatibility headaches. Intel’s 750 requires a 9-series chipset, and Samsung’s SM951 is an OEM-targeted product which, like its predecessor the XP941, is finicky about BIOS and motherboard compatibility.

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Today’s roundup of PCI Express SSDs is, in many ways, a fight for third place, behind the Intel 750 and Samsung SM951. However these SSDs do not come hobbled with many of the requirements of the first and second place holders.

The odds of the models that we’re reviewing being updated in the coming months are quite good, and in some cases the timing of their launch is enough to make you ponder the thought of why the manufacturers bothered releasing these in their current states. The market segment in play isn’t particularly vast. The subset of enthusiasts willing to pay >$1/GB for an SSD, yet unwilling to deal with the compatibility requirements of the top drives, is undoubtedly tiny. For the value-conscious in that niche however, opportunity is in the air! Prices are falling as retailers look to unload inventory, and there will be genuine bargains that fall out of the transition to NVMe.

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PCIe SSDs

Our contenders include the Kingston HyperX Predator, G.Skill Phoenix Blade, OCZ RevoDrive 350, and ASUS ROG RAIDR Express.

We’ve also included the Samsung 850 Pro, playing the role of the high-end SATA drive in our comparison. Before jumping into the benchmarks, we’ll have a look at each offering.