Samsung’s SSD rival has just released one of the world’s fastest PCIe 5.0 SSDs — no, it won’t beat Crucial’s superfast T705 but its no-frills approach means it’s likely to be much cheaper

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Samsung’s big South Korean rival SK Hynix has launched its high-end PCB01 SSD, designed specifically for on-device AI PCs. 

This PCIe Gen 5.0 SSD boasts impressive sequential read and write speeds of 14GB and 12GB per second, respectively, coupled with 4K random read and write rates of 2 million IOPS.

The company says these speeds are fast enough for LLM training and inference tasks to occur almost instantaneously, within a second. The SSD also reportedly offers over a 30% improvement in power efficiency compared to previous generations, enhancing the stability of large-scale AI computing tasks.

Three capacities

One of the standout features of the PCB01 is its adoption of SLC caching, which boosts performance. This technology places the single-level cell in some parts of the NAND cell, for a faster computing experience for both AI services and conventional tasks. The PCB01 also includes a root of trust (ROT) solution that prevents cybersecurity attacks and protects personal data.

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PCB01 is currently undergoing validation and SK Hynix says it plans to mass-produce and ship the drive to corporate and general consumers later this year in three capacities: 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB. Targeted initially at OEMs, these bare drives are part of the company’s new Alistar platform, which uses an 8-channel interface and 238-layer TLC NAND technology.

Because this is an OEM product it doesn’t come with any frills, including a heatsink. Any model that ends up in retail is almost certainly going to be cheaper than Crucial’s superfast T705 for this reason alone, but we don’t have any indication of pricing at this stage.

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Ahn Hyun, Head of the N-S Committee at SK Hynix, says the company is seeing high demand for new product from global makers of AI PCs. “We will work towards enhancing our leadership as the global top AI memory provider also in the NAND solution space by successfully completing the customer validation and mass production of PCB01, which will be in the limelight,” he added.

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