80 companies collaborate on standard that aims to bypass SATA for massive performance gains.

Push for new PCIe SSD standard

High-speed SSDs look set to increasingly connect via the PCi Express bus as a new PCIe interface standard is agreed by a consortium of SSD manufacturers.

Previously PCIe-equipped SSD drives have been limited to hugely expensive enterprise drives but the interface holds wider interest with the demand for ever greater bandwidth threatening to outstrip that of the latest 6Gb/sec SATA.

The NVMe standard was formerly defined last year by a collaboration of more than 80 companies. Now new PCIe-equipped SSDs are being developed with the first laboratory offering compliance testing coming online last month.

Connecting solid state drives to PCIe takes advantage of a very high-speed interconnect direct to the CPU rather than funnelling data through slower intermediary standards. While plug-in cards are the easier route to adoption for desktops, it’s very likely that PCIe SATA drives will be directly integrated into the motherboards of notebook computers.

Earlier in the year OCZ announced that the firm will sample drives this year conforming to the NVM Express specification and that upcoming drives would be capable of up to 3.2 million IOPS. To put that in perspective, the fastest normal SATA 6Gb/s drives deliver around 25,000 IOPs.

A host of new NVMe SSD drives are expected to appear later in the year.

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