Something To Do With An Empty PCIe Slot
Gigabyte have released a new add in card which hides four 512GB M.2 drives and a Marvell 88NR2241-BWW2 RAID controller, which connects via PCIe 3.0. It ships configured for RAID 0 but is also capable of RAID 1, 10 and JBOD if you prefer to configure it for a little more redundancy. The motherboard compatibility that Gigabyte lists seems odd, but should probably be followed even though the list is mostly PCIe 4.0 boards.
Kitguru’s testing shows that the drive does fall behind PCIe 4.0 drives on random reads, hitting 6500MB/s but thanks to the RAID the writes are an impressive 6200MB/s. Thanks to the large heatsinks on top and bottom as well as the 50mm fan there is no sign of thermal throttling at all, even under heavy load the drives barely hit above 50C.
As it is a little older in design, the $630 price is a bit much, even with the professional Marvell controller but there is an interesting alternative. For $350 you can get the newer PCIe 4.0 version, with no drives installed. That would allow you to install your own preferred M.2 drives in the Gigabyte AORUS RAID card and set them up in a RAID of your choice to not only improve performance but also to allow you to expand your storage beyond the M.2 ports available on your motherboard.
Gigabyte’s AORUS RAID 2TB is an AIC format drive that uses a combination of four NVMe SSDs and an enterprise-class NVMe RAID controller to produce read speeds of up to 6,300MB/s via a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface.