Regardless of which you choose, the Memblaze PBlaze5 916 series is one of, if not the fastest, enterprise NVMe SSDs shipping today.
The PBlaze5 C916, the HHHL add-in card is a rarity these days. Intel still ships add-in cards, but the industry has transitioned to 2.5" U.2 drives as standard protocol and new "next-gen" form factors like the Ruler for bleeding edge rack density.
Memblaze calls the PBlaze5 series an accelerator card. The HHHL C916 does a great job pushing past the limitation of PCIe 3.0 x4 for large block size workloads, but every other measurement is nearly identical to the 2.5" D916 in our testing.
The specification sheet shows a modest performance improvement in random workloads for the C916 HHHL model, but you will need a very powerful server to squeeze the extra couple hundred thousand IOPS. Clearly, our test server is not capable of scaling that high with all the vulnerability patches that plague most platforms today.
The PBlaze5 D916 2.5" U.2 NVMe SSD is the workhorse of the two models we tested today. This form factor is widespread across the industry and its even shipping in commodity NAS servers like our new QSAN XN8012R that we use to test HDD media. Even with new form factors emerging, the 2.5" U.2 continues to grow.
The one area we would like to see Memblaze improve is availability. The company is in Beijing, but so many technology-focused firms are. When you search for Memblaze PBlaze the autofill feature on Google instantly shows "price" right after. For those in the know, these are highly sought after components, but availability is nonexistent in the channel and pricing details are just as difficult to come by.
Bundle and Packaging 90%
The Bottom Line
Memblaze has an incredible product line but don't expect to find these in the channel. The C916 HHHL AIC is one of the fastest SSDs we've ever tested but the 2.5" D916 is the workhorse.