PC: how to have an SSD twice as fast as that of the PS5

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Martí Micolau
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The PS5's SSD is renowned for being extremely fast. However, it is already possible on a PC to far exceed its performance. Explanations.

Here is how to have a very fast SSD on a PC

Since the presentation of the characteristics of the Sony PS5, the speed of its SSD is debated. According to the boss of Epic Games, the new console from Sony is "far superior to anything you find on PC" when it comes to its SSD. This is true for a single SSD, but it is possible on a PC to avoid this limitation to far exceed the speed of the PlayStation 5.

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RAID improves performance

There is a method on PC, often little known, for accumulating storage spaces and pooling them to derive more benefits. This principle is called RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). In the spirit, it is not very far from the possibility of placing two graphics cards (SLI or Crossfire) to increase the computing power, or of multiplying the cores of a processor.

In the case that interests us, there are several RAID solutions. For example, RAID 1 makes it possible to have an exact copy of one storage on another, to practice to be sure of escaping mechanical failures. Today we will rather focus on RAID 0: it makes it possible to multiply the performance of the storage by making the disks work together on a single set of data (without redundancy this time, therefore).

Read speeds of up to 32 GB / s

If the 5,5 Gb / s SSD of the PS5 is indeed faster than that of any computer on the market today, it is without counting the possibility of creating a RAID 0 with SSDs and reach a speed of 32 Gb / s!

Asus Hyper to the rescue

Desktop computers offering multiple SSDs on their motherboards are still particularly rare. The safest is therefore to use a card that will allow you to connect up to 4 SSDs, each with 4 PCI Express lanes, and connect to a 16 lane PCI Express port on the motherboard.

This is exactly what the Asus Hyper M.2 card offers for less than 80 euros. The manufacturer offers two generations of cards, on the one hand the Hyper V2 PCIe 3.0 (up to 16 Gb / s) for motherboards with PCI Express 3.0 port, and on the other the Hyper Gen 4 card (up to 32 Gb / s) for PCI Express 4.0 motherboards. We are talking here about AMD X570 motherboards which offer precisely this new generation of transfer.

Then just connect up to 4 SSDs on this card and configure the RAID to obtain the desired performance.

Which SSD to take to achieve such a speed?

As we said, the Asus Hyper card is not enough, it is now necessary to add the famous SSD to it. Here we decided to aim for a speed 2x faster than that of the SSD of the PS5, that is to say 11 Gb / s in reading. For this we have chosen the Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD which offers a speed of 3,5 Gb / s individually. Once we have shared 4 SSDs, the speed of the whole can reach 14 GB / s, which easily exceeds the objective.

Of course, by using PCIe 4.0 SSDs it is possible to go even faster.

How to configure the RAID?

Please note that configuring a RAID is a more complex task than a traditional installation. You must first take care to install the drivers associated with the management of the RAID, proposed by AMD or Intel, and copy them to the USB key used to install Windows.

Before that, it will especially take care to activate the RAID option in the UEFI bios settings of the computer. The option is in the advanced settings, under the heading “AMD CBS”, or “Intel RST” depending on the ecosystem. Look in particular for the option "Sata mode selection".

When installing Windows, take care to select "load the drivers" when selecting the location for Windows installation.

Is RAID Really Useful Today?

The short answer is no. Today there really isn't a case of using such high playback speed, especially in video games. It will likely be several years before games are fully designed to take advantage of the speed of the PS5's SSD. Even in this case difficult to know if an SSD a little slower than the console will not be able to run these games. By then, individual SSDs should catch up with the speed of the PS5's SSD.

However, storage speed is not everything, the new game consoles benefit from architectures completely optimized for video games, whether it is the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X, which desktop computers cannot offer today. . Just look at what Sony offers with the additional priority levels or the dedicated 3D audio and decompression chips. Another good example is the Xbox Velocity Architecture which promises to multiply the performance of the Xbox Series X SSD.

Is it a good idea ?

As we said, installing a RAID is a task for the discerning public. We do not recommend installing such a setup today as the usefulness of such speed in games remains to be proven. This is above all an exercise to better understand what it is possible to do today on a PC.

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