Having seen both ASUS and ASRock’s PCIe cards that support four M.2 NVMe drives each at a x4 connection at CES, and then GIGABYTE’s prototype card at Computex, there was only one company left to actually show one. MSI might be the fourth out of the four, but the design we saw goes above and beyond, perhaps to excess. If you ever wanted to crush an egg with a Buick, this is it.

On the face of it, MSI’s variant looks very similar to the others. A simple PCIe 3.0 x16 card with four M.2 slots and some minor circuitry and everything follows the status quo. If you didn’t look closely enough, then the fact that the card had a double slot back plate might have passed you by, and it’s at that point that the MSI Aero fan comes into view. Yes, that’s right: MSI is pairing its four-way M.2 PCIe card with one of its styled GPU coolers.

This means that if you have that specific workload that causes four high-end NVMe drives to start thermally throttling, MSI has you covered, and then some. This cooler should be easily capable of 50W+ of cooling, if not more, and the PCIe card even has a 6-pin connector in play, should 75W+ be needed.

MSI stated that they will be shipping this card in the same box as their new Threadripper X399 MEG Creation motherboard, which is part of the X399 motherboard refreshes for Threadripper 2. Beyond that, MSI expects to sell the card individually at retail at some point over the next few months.

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  • MajGenRelativity - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I thought the M.2 spec doesn't allow for drives to pull close to 20W of power, at which point they'd need a PCIe connector. This seems like massive overkill Reply
  • The Chill Blueberry - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    It is massive Overkill. I guess it's mostly a joke to laugh about their m.2 thermal armor cover on their motherboards that ended up being thermal traps more than anything else. It just MSI going: "You want m.2 cooling?? REALLY?? Well HERE! Graphics card level thermal solution for you!" Reply
  • eek2121 - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    My Samsung 960 EVO throttles unless I have a fan blowing directly on it. 4 m.2 drives would generate considerable heat and would likely throttle. Also, as I stated above, I believe the PCIE bus as a whole has a max power limit of around 150 watts. As each m.2 drive can consume up to 20 watts by itself, that's 80 watts of power, that leaves you with 70 watts left, now let's say you have 2 additional m.2 drives onboard, that leaves the PCIE bus with only 30 watts of potential power. By including the power connector, they can not take power from the PCIE bus at all, and since they have all that extra power, they included a fan. There are already heatsinks for m.2 drives out there, so I can understand the need for an 'overkill' heatsink to cool 4 drives. Reply
  • notashill - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    The PCIe bus does not have a 150 watt power limit, it has 75 watts which is not enough for 4 NVMe drives drawing the max the spec allows (and the fan power draw, and VRM losses). There was a big outrage back when the RX480 came out because it was drawing 86W from the slot. Reply
  • eek2121 - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    PCIE 2.0 has 75 watts, IIRC PCIE 3.0 doubled that to 150. Reply
  • Jared13000 - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    What!? Then why did people get so upset over the RX480? There can't be that many people still running GPUs in PCI-e 2.0 slots. Reply
  • EpicPlayer - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    No, PCIe 3.0 still only allows 75 watts through the slot. I'm not sure where they got the 150 watt figure. And yeah, I think the whole RX 480 thing was overblown. It never damaged anyone's motherboard drawing more than 75 watts anyway. Reply
  • frenchy_2001 - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    PCIe 3.0 spec says that a 16x slot can provide up to 75W.
    A 8x slot or less can only provide up to 25W.
    So, bundling 4 PCIe x4 slots on one card can pull up to 100W, hence the PCIe 6 pins power (allowing for an additional 75W).
    The card can deliver up to 150W (75 port + 75 power connector), but spec says it should only pull 100W max.
    Some enterprise drives (micron...) had a "Turbo" mode, pulling 35W (from port) for additional performances. Not sure if M.2 drives can do something like that...

    So, their power delivery is on point, their cooling too, as 100W max cannot be expected to just disapear (otherwise Intel would not bundle fans with their processors).
    Reply
  • npz - Friday, June 22, 2018 - link

    Those are purely U.2 and AIC drives, hence the beefy heatsinks and big, filled pcbs on the 2.5" U.2 (which is literally a giant heasink). There's no M.2 pulling anything remotely close to that. Reply
  • EpicPlayer - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    No, PCIe 3.0 still only allows 75 watts through the slot. I'm not sure where they got the 150 watt figure. And yeah, I think the whole RX 480 thing was overblown. It never damaged anyone's motherboard drawing more than 75 watts anyway. Reply

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