Sabrent has introduced a controller-based PCIe 3.0 x4 card that adapts four NVMe drives to a single slot. Unlike controller-free solutions, it does not rely on CPU PCIe bifurcation but instead uses an internal data hub. Sabrent has not informed us of which controller it’s using, but necking down four PCIe 4.0 drives to a single PCIe 3.0 interface at the same (x4) width does not sound like a plan for performance:
What does sound like a great idea is taking a bunch of retired 128 or 256GB NVMe drives and putting them on a single card so that they only consume four PCIe lanes. Four 256GB drives suddenly become a ‘terabyte’ of storage at maximum PCIe 3.0 bandwidth. Of course those still have to be NVMe drives: SATA-based drives are incompatible.
Since we’ve noted that the device takes us back to PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth (3.9GB/s combined for all four drives), Sabrent would like to point out that it still supports advanced features such as Latency Tolerance Reporting (LTR), Advanced Error Reporting (AER), and Separate Reference Clock with Independent Spread (SRIS), Active State Power Management (ASPM) with the L0s/L1//L23/L3 power states and L1 sub-states, and is also compliant with the S3 and S4 sleep states. Fine, but we’d think that for its $180 asking price, the firm could have found a PCIe 4.0 controller…
The adapter is already being sold at Amazon despite Sabrent’s apparent inability to determine whether the part number should be PC-P3X4 or EC-P3X4: Both numbers appear at its launch announcement and at the Amazon link above.