What's the Difference Between Gen4 and Gen5 SSDs?

What's the Difference Between Gen4 and Gen5 SSDs?

The entire ecosystem of PC gaming and computing power is set to change forever in 2024, as many brands begin to look towards the new gold standard in storage: Gen5 SSDs.

With significant changes to speed, performance and technology compared to that of Gen4 SSDs, there's plenty to know about Gen5 SSDs as more and more begin to arrive to market. Let's discuss some of the key differences between Gen4 and Gen5 SSDs, what to know about each and what the future of storage will look like.  

An Overview on Gen4 SSDs

Gen4 x4 SSDs represent the current generation and standard of gaming storage. For many gamers, Gen4 is completely acceptable and functional in a typical system. 

Gen4 x4 became a quick industry standard following Gen3 drives for its improved stability in high-performance workloads and data environments. In the context of gaming, it became a must to keep up with high-speed games and sustaining online play, and with 16GT/s transfer speeds up from 8GT/s in Gen3, load times and overall performance saw a big boost. 

Gen4 SSDs also welcomed the addition of PCIe NVMe SSDs, which utilize the high-speed PCIe bus and NVMe (or Non-Volatile Memory Express) protocol to send commands to the motherboard, resulting in much quicker response times and higher sequential speeds. Ultimately, much like the jump from Gen4 to Gen5, Gen4 represents the current generation standard of improvement for a newer generation of high-speed gaming. 

An Overview on Gen5 SSDs

The general assumption to make about Gen5 x4 SSDs is that they offer better overall performance than Gen4 x4 SSDs. Early on, this is absolutely the case, as many Gen5 SSDs are already reaching upwards of nearly double the speed of many Gen4 SSDs, with many reaching well over 10,000 MB/s in both sequential read and write speeds today. These drastic increases to read and write speeds make for ridiculous performance across the board, especially for gaming. This offers major improvements to loading times, overall game performance and high capacities of storage that modern-day gaming requires. 

Gen5 SSDs also offer backwards compatibility with both Gen4 SSDs and Gen3 SSDs. Although Gen5 drives will require upgrades to both motherboards and CPUs for the right components to sustain the drive's power, the proper gear with the overwhelming power of Gen5 SSDs makes for absurd overall performance. Add in the ability to rely on PCIe NVMe 2.0, and Gen5 SSDs make the massive jump between Gen4 SSDs that they did in years past over Gen3. 

What are the Key Differences Between Generations?

As we touched on at the beginning, arguably the biggest differences between Gen4 x4 and Gen5 x4 SSDs today will come with the upgrades to speed and overall performance with Gen5 storage. With higher speeds, improved and more throughput power through PCIe lanes, Gen5 SSDs are more suitable for heavy workloads and demanding gaming environments than standard Gen4 SSDs with their 32GT/s transfer speeds. Still, Gen4 SSDs can stand on their own in terms of performance as a 16GT/s that offers the performance most gamers will need, by and large. In that way, this means that Gen5 SSDs offer the best reliability and ability to multitask on demanding tasks.

One crucial element noted in the PV553 we touched on in our previous CES 2024 coverage is how different cooling will be when jumping into the next generation. The power and electrical load required for Gen5 SSDs will be much greater than that of Gen4 SSDs reflected in their increased performance. As a result, heat dissipation will be a key element to the functionality to Gen5 SSDs. As we see with the PV553, there are additional steps to improve cooling measures, including a 16.5mm heatshield, thermal throttling and a blower fan designed rated at 25,000 hours of use, while standard Gen4 x4 will only require standard heatshields and thermal throttling to keep a focus on staying cool. However, just as Gen4 SSDs have improved in cooling and overall functionality over the years, Gen5 SSDs will follow a similar lineage as we see the next generation take over the world of gaming. 

Be sure to keep up with Patriot's daily CES 2024 coverage to see all of the exciting things coming in 2024 and beyond. Check out yesterday's articles on today's newest announcements, the differences between UDIMMs and RDIMMs, a bevy of new SSDs and an early sample of Viper's upcoming RDIMM, and Viper Gaming's first collaboration with ASUS' TUF Gaming

Reading next

CES 2024 Preview: Viper Xtreme 5 Non-RGB DDR5 9000+ MT/s Kit and the Portable SSD Type C
CES 2024 Preview: Viper PV573 M.2 PCIe Gen5 x4 SSD, Patriot Portable SSD USB 4.0 and the Portable SSD USB Duo A/C

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