ASUS M.2 expansion card can support up to four Gen5 SSDs
The card has limited support on Intel platforms.
ASUS has introduced a new iteration of its Hyper M.2 PCIe expansion card, complementing the existing Gen4 model. This M.2 SSD expansion card can accommodate up to four drives, making optimal use of the PCIe x16 slot’s full bandwidth. However, it’s important to note that the introduction of the PCI Gen5 standard with this model may restrict compatibility with the current lineup of motherboards.
As per information found on ASUS’s product page, this storage solution can handle up to 512 Gbps (64 GB/s) of bandwidth in RAID0 mode. Achieving this speed will require storage manufacturers to produce Gen5 devices with read speeds of up to 16 GB/s, which are not yet available in the market.
The Hyper M.2 card is versatile, supporting various form factors such as 2242, 2260, 2280, and 22110, and is compatible with both Gen4 and Gen5 standards. Installation and drive swapping are made hassle-free thanks to ASUS’s Q-Latch system, eliminating the need for screws.
This card demands a 6-pin PCIe external power connection to effectively power all four SSD drives simultaneously, with each drive being capable of receiving up to 14 watts of power, according to ASUS. Users can opt to operate them separately or in various RAID configurations.
Notably, the card features an active cooling system that covers the entire board while maintaining a single-slot design. Interestingly, ASUS provides an option to disable the fan through a small button located on the I/O bracket. Additionally, there are four LEDs on the bracket, one for each SSD, indicating their operational status.
In terms of compatibility, the expansion card can support SSD configurations ranging from 1 to 4 drives. The specific supported configurations will rely on both the platform and CPU selected (some CPUs limit how many PCIe lanes are enabled). High-end desktop (HEDT) platforms like TRX40 and X299 offer wider PCIe lane support and can accommodate more expansion cards.
However, PCIe Gen5’s effective use is primarily seen on newer platforms such as Intel W690, Z790, W790, or AMD X670 and B650. For Intel, the optimal platform for this card is the HEDT W790 chipset, which boasts PCIe Gen5 support and more lanes compared to the consumer line, which is limited to a total of 16 lanes. Consequently, Intel Z690/Z790 motherboards can only support two drives, while AMD X670 can accommodate up to four drives when installed on Hyper expansion card. The full list with individual ASUS motherboard SKUs listed can be found here.
ASUS Product Manager for North America, Juan Jose Guerrero, has confirmed that the Hyper M.2 expansion card will cost $79.