HighPoint Rocket 1608A Gen5 x16 NVMe Switch AIC Review - World's Fastest Storage Device

If you would benefit from over 59GB/s sequential throughput, then HighPoint's newest PCIe Gen5 x16 AIC is exactly what you have been waiting for.

Published
Manufacturer: HighPoint (R1608A-72C0000)
4 minutes & 57 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 95%
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The Bottom Line

Capable of 59.8GB/s sequential throughput, a properly equipped HighPoint R1608A is currently the fastest SSD platform in the world.

Pros

  • + Record throughput
  • + No driver required
  • + Single slot design
  • + Runs cool

Cons

  • - High queue depths required for maximum throughput

Should you buy it?

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Introduction & Drive Details

About 2 years ago, we spent some time with a Gen4 HighPoint Technologies SSD7540 via Sabrent's 32TB Destroyer and 64TB Destroyer 2.0. This PCIe Gen4 x16 storage platform proved to be the fastest we had ever tested, capable of a blistering 28GB/s sequential throughput.

So here we are today, smack in the middle of the PCIe Gen5 era. With double the throughput of PCIe Gen4, PCIe Gen5 has ushered in the era of 14,000 MB/s SSDs, and right on queue, HighPoint Technologies has responded with a new PCIe Gen5 x16 storage platform:

HighPoint Rocket 1608A Gen5 x16 NVMe Switch AIC Review - World's Fastest Storage Device 01

HighPoint's newest is physically a more refined version of the SSD7540 we tested almost two years ago. The card is a familiar single slot, full length design, requiring a single 6-pin VGA power source to operate as intended. This time however, the card is cooled by a single fan flush mounted on its full length heatsink. Being PCIe Gen5 x16, HighPoint's Rocket 1608A has a theoretical bandwidth of 64GB/s - double that of anything we've tested before.

HighPoint's Rocket 1608A AIC is a switch only, meaning it doesn't have a driver/RAID interface between its Broadcom PLX89048 switch and its 8 PCIe Gen5 x4 M.2 channels. This is a play on compatibility, making the storage platform plug and play compatible with any operating system that has a built-in NVMe driver. For full throughput, simply stripe the drives into a dynamic disk, better known as software RAID. The only drawback to this is RAID 0 or 1 is all that can be had from a driverless card.

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Additionally, the Rocket 1608A is backward compatible with PCIe Gen4 SSDs. We like this a lot because you can still get up to 56GB/s throughput from 8x PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSDs with up to 64TB RAW capacity. With Gen5 x4 SSDs, you only need 4x drives to hit that same 56GB/s sequential throughput. However, as things currently stand, 32TB is the maximum capacity attainable using 8x 4TB M.2 SSDs.

Naturally, we went the PCIe Gen5 SSD route for our testing purposes. We tested with 5, 6, and 8 Gen5 SSDs, finding that for performance, 5 drives are the sweet spot. 8x Gen5 SSDs stripped together cranking out more than 59GB/s sequential throughput? That's gonna get incredibly hot - isn't it? Well, actually not bad at all, as evidenced by the following:

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We ran the card with only self-cooling enabled, and after 2 x9 CDM sequential, all eight SSDs stayed well below their throttling threshold. Excellent.

For our choice of SSD to populate the card's 8x M.2 slots, we went with the highest-performing SSD we've tested to date - Crucial's supremely powerful T705 2TB Gen5 SSD:

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Whatever you choose - take note that the SSDs must be bare drives to fit in the card.

Okay, let's get into this review and see exactly what the HighPoint Rocket 1608A can do for you by the numbers, keeping in mind that it is a highly specialized product not intended to be used as a typical consumer storage device. It is intended for content creation applications where higher sequential throughput equals faster data processing. As such, this will be a standalone review without comparison products or charts. Additionally, the price of ownership is well outside what we consider to be in the consumer realm. We chose to test the Rocket 1608A on our high thread count AMD platform as we feel it best represents a workstation setting.

Drive Details

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Jon's Test System Specifications

AMD Test System

Buy at Amazon

HighPoint Rocket 1608A Gen5 x16 NVMe Switch AIC

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Benchmarks: CDM, ATTO, Blackmagic, Anvil & DiskBench

CrystalDiskMark

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MB/s

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IOPS

We employ CDM as our standard benchmark for sequential throughput. In terms of sequential throughput, we find our test subject fully capable of exceeding quoted up to factory throughput specifications. At almost 60GB/s with 5x SSDs, this beast had us doing a double take. Can it go faster with more?

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MB/s

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IOPS

HighPoint Rocket 1608A Gen5 x16 NVMe Switch AIC Review - World's Fastest Storage Device 17

MB/s

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IOPS

Turns out that there is no meaningful speed increase by using more than 5x Gen5 SSDs as we are up against the maximum a PCIe Gen5 x16 slot can deliver after overhead. However, more than 5x Gen5 drives can be useful for those who want more capacity.

ATTO

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ATTO clearly shows what transfer sizes a particular SSD favors in terms of sequential throughput. With 5x 2TB SSDs, our test subject favors sequential transfers of 4MB or larger when serving data to the host (reading) and 4MB or larger when programming (writing) data. ATTO is a single-threaded test, and we tested at QD32, which is likely the reason for 25GB/s being the maximum speed attainable.

Blackmagic

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When serving data to the host (reading) or programming it (writing), we find our test subject delivering far more than any similarly interfaced device we've ever tested, including the Sabrent Destroyer 2.0.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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The previous record for a flash-based SSD was a total score of 51,837. The HP 1608 takes that to a whole other level returning a total score of 65,587. Impressive.

DiskBench - Transfer Rates

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Our 100GB data transfer is composed of more than 62,000 files of random types of data, making it very hard to swallow for any storage device, especially for a sequential specialist like the Rocket 1608A. Not the type of data the Rocket 1608A is targeted at, we just wanted to see how it would handle it. Surprisingly well all things considered, as the new throughput king returns the highest rate, we've ever attained from any storage device.

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Our read transfer file is more to the Rocket 1608A's liking because it is a single zip file. However, this is a single-threaded benchmark, and that is not to the HighPoint card's liking. Despite its aversion to what we are transferring, the 1608A manages yet another lab record. Impressive.

Final Thoughts

In terms of sequential throughput, HighPoint's Rocket 1608A Gen5 x16 NVMe Switch AIC is the new undisputed champion. It has more than doubled the sequential throughput of its predecessors. Of course, the new throughput champion isn't for the common consumer, and it won't run common consumer workloads any better than a single SSD. However, if you are a high-volume content creator or run huge data sets that benefit from high queue depth sequential throughput, then we say to you, this right here is your Holy Grail of storage devices, capable of delivering record levels of efficiency which translates as more profit for your business.

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HighPoint's Rocket 1608A Gen5 x16 NVMe Switch AIC delivers the highest sequential throughput of any storage device we know of, including the APEX X16, and has earned our highest award. Editor's choice.

Photo of product for sale

Performance

90%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

90%

Overall

95%

The Bottom Line

Capable of 59.8GB/s sequential throughput, a properly equipped HighPoint R1608A is currently the fastest SSD platform in the world.

TweakTown award
95%

HighPoint Rocket 1608A Gen5 x16 NVMe Switch AIC

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1499.00$1499.00-
* Prices last scanned on 7/23/2024 at 9:58 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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