MSI's next-gen PCIe Gen5 M.2 Expander-Z card: SSDs up to 128GB/sec

MSI shows off its next-gen PCIe Gen5 M.2 Expander-Z card offers 128GB/sec SSDs of the future, with passive or active cooling.

@anthony256
Published Sat, Oct 30 2021 9:22 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Nov 26 2021 3:03 AM CST

MSI has teased its ultra-high-speed PCIe Gen5 M.2 Expander-Z card, oozing bandwidth from the next-gen PCIe 5.0 x16 socket on future PCIe 5.0-capable motherboards.

MSI's next-gen PCIe Gen5 M.2 Expander-Z card: SSDs up to 128GB/sec 01 | TweakTown.com
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The new MSI PCIe Gen5 M.2 Expander-Z card arrives on a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and could be one of the first PCIe 5.0-capable devices outside of NVIDIA's purported GeForce RTX 3090 Ti which should arrive in January 2022 on PCIe 5.0 x16 if we're lucky.

MSI is promising a huge 128GB/sec of speed here which is the maximum that the PCIe 5.0 x16 connector can handle, while Phison has recently been teasing next-gen SSDs pushing a huge 14GB/sec. Right now we're maxed out at 7GB/sec or so for PCIe 4.0-based SSDs but we should see the world of 14GB/sec+ with PCIe 5.0 SSDs.

MSI's next-gen PCIe Gen5 M.2 Expander-Z card: SSDs up to 128GB/sec 02 | TweakTown.comMSI's next-gen PCIe Gen5 M.2 Expander-Z card: SSDs up to 128GB/sec 03 | TweakTown.com

You're not going to be pushing all those crazy-insane 128GB/sec speeds without active cooling, but MSI is also able to use passive cooling here -- with the heat sink over the M.2 slot and single fan on the card. This fan can be disabled if you don't want the noise. No power numbers have been released from MSI, but that will be interesting to see, too.

MSI hasn't provided an ETA for when its PCIe Gen 5 M.2 Expander-Z card will be available, but we could see it bundled with one of MSI's flagship Z690 motherboards in the near future.

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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