To meet their high-capacity storage needs, the average consumer is turning to hard disk drives (HDD). They are generally not as fast or reliable as SSDs, but they are a lot cheaper. the Storage Apex X21 The add-on card (AIC) currently making its rounds on the Internet isn’t about the most cost-effective storage usage, though. Instead, the expansion card, which appears to be a new product from a hitherto unknown storage company, is for people or businesses willing to spend what it takes to store the card with up to 21 8TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs.
tom devices First discovered by the X21’s website on Sunday, Henry Hill, in engineering and sales for the company, confirmed the product to Ars Technica via email. The product will cost $2,800, he said, with discounts available for volume purchases, which will ship by the second quarter. Samples are already available to customers, he said, and consumer shipments will begin “before the end of 2023.”
MIke Spicer, listed as founder and CEO of Apex Storage, has launched a Kickstarter in 2021 with a concept similar to the X21. Instead of 21 M.2 SSDs, Apex Storage Scaler claimed to support a modest 16 SSDs. It is unclear how many, if any, of these cards reached backers. However, in July, Spicer hinted at a “V2” for the product on Twitter.
The X21 product page states that the AIC runs in a standard PCIe 4.0 x16 slot. The pictures show 10 holes and a heatsink inside a pair of printed circuit boards (PCBs).
There are also 11 holes on the outside of the PCB. The card is said to be full-length, full-length, and support QLC, TLC, MLC, and Intel Optane engines. In terms of operating systems, there is support for Windows 10, 11 and Server as well as Linux.
“The card is PCIe-deployed, so RAID support will be provided via a third-party software or hardware solution, such as Graid,” Hill told Ars Technica.
Apex Storage is also looking forward to the AIC being able to support up to 336TB if 16TB M.2 2280 SSDs hit the market.
Speaking of forward-looking, this component is not technically future-proof, as it does not support PCIe 5.0 (it is backwards compatible with PCIe 3.0). But while the X21 isn’t aimed at budget-prioritizing users who choose hard drives, going with PCIe 5.0 SSDs will be more expensive. AIC cooling requirements will also increase. As it is, the X21 requires 400 LFM (linear feet per minute) airflow.
In terms of performance, Apex Storage claims sequential read and write speeds of 30.5 and 26.5GBps, respectively, while the multi-card setup required 107GBps and 70GBps, respectively. The Apex Storage website also reports 7.5 million random read IOPS and 6.2 million random write IOPS with a single card, with those numbers increasing to 20 million and 10 million, respectively, in a multi-card configuration.
Apex Storage sees the X21 used for a NAS or SAN array, 8K video editing, artificial intelligence, machine learning training, and other use cases, including notably enterprise ones. Given the high price of 21 PCIe 4.0 SSDs, the company could make a more realistic appeal to businesses than to individuals. Filling out an AIC can cost upwards of $21,000 to the average consumer, in addition to the price of the card itself. Alternative products, like the HighPoint SSD7540, can get you started $1,099 But it has smaller maximum capacities (64TB in the case of the SSD7540).
Without any previous products, it’s hard to tell if this was the case Self-described A “PCIe AIC Design Firm” based in Utah will be able to deliver on its promises. But it will be interesting to know.
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