Thanks to a Tweet by @momomo_us, we have our first detailed look at Asus’ brand new ROG Gen-Z.2 M.2 riser card that comes with the new AM5 ROG Crosshair X670E Extreme (opens in new tab) motherboard. What makes the new card so special is added support for PCIe Gen 5 SSDs.
The Gen-Z.2 is a proprietary PCIe card designed to slot into supported Asus motherboards. The card features two M.2 slots on either side, with one supporting Gen 4 speeds and the other Gen 5. Both slots support a maximum length of 110mm SSDs, but the Gen 5 slot gets its own dedicated passive heatsink cooler to aid in cooling more power-hungry Gen 5 SSDs.
The card sports an all-black finish to match the color scheme of Asus’ ROG Crosshair motherboards, and will sit perpendicular to the DDR5 slots to the right of supported motherboards when installed. The stealthy color scheme of the Gen-Z.2 should aid users looking for a streamlined aesthetic, where the DDR5 modules can stand out from the somewhat bulky M.2 card.
The added heatsink will also substantially improve the cooling performance of M.2 SSDs sitting in the primary Gen 5 slot compared to SSDs sitting within the motherboard. The built-in heatsink has direct access to airflow from the front intake fans of a computer case, and is aided by the exhaust airflow from a CPU tower cooler.
The GenZ.2 card will also improve the X670E Crosshair Extreme’s M.2 storage capacity quite a bit, and will double the board’s M.2 slot capacity from two to four –three of which support PCIe Gen 5. This is not to mention the additional PCIe 5.0 M.2 card that the Extreme ships with, further increasing the board’s M.2 capacity.
PCIe Gen 5 SSDs will be out coming soon, with launch dates for some drives as early as October. But don’t get your hopes high just yet; these first-generation variants will not be able to saturate the full bandwidth of four PCIe 5.0 lanes and will be limited to just 10GBps to 12.4GBps. Nonetheless, these first-gen drives will be much faster than the best PCIe Gen 4 drives on the market today. Even faster PCIe 5 SSDs are expected to arrive in 2023.