Can you use a PCIe 4.0 SSD on your existing motherboard?
AMD's X570 chipset required
PCIe 4.0 is a standard, but so far the only confirmed way to make use of it is on AMD's X570 platform. This was announced at Computex 2019 alongside the new Ryzen 3000 processors.
As such, the major motherboard manufacturers, including ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock and MSI, should all have X570 motherboards available from July 7 to go with the Ryzen 3000 launch.
X570 will offer a raft of other improvements over previous generation AMD chipsets, but specifically to PCIe 4.0, it's currently the only one that will officially support the new standard and its super fast SSDs.
The first SSDs have already been announced, but so far the only hint on pricing has been for the Corsair MP600 which was briefly listed on Amazon U.S. starting at $250 for the 1TB model. The Japanese listing claims a July 13 availability.
Some older motherboards did get updates
Initially, it looked like older motherboards would be able to accept a limited amount of PCIe 4.0 hardware through a BIOS update. Indeed, some manufacturers started pushing them out — the Aorus X470 motherboard received a BIOS update that enabled PCIe 4.0 on the top slot.
AMD has since come out and said that officially it will not be supporting PCIe 4.0 on pre-X570 motherboards.
The reasoning is sound, especially with regards AMD's duty of care to its customers. If you have a motherboard that already received such a BIOS update, then you may have some success. But the safe bet is not to bank on that before spending hundreds of dollars on a new SSD.
You're also going to get a lot more heat from PCIe 4.0 and the X570 chipset than your current system is probably equipped to handle (as evidenced by the number of X570 boards already announced with dedicated fans on the chipset).
Nothing from Intel
All this sounds good for AMD PC builders but what about if you prefer using Intel CPUs? Well that's where the disappointment kicks in. Right now, Intel hasn't officially confirmed whether it will even support PCIe 4.0 at all.
There's no guarantee that it ever will, either. The next stage, PCIe 5.0, is in development and if that accelerates at all, Intel could just skip a generation. Nobody knows right now.
Recommendation for everyone else
So, you can't get a new, ridiculously fast PCIe 4.0 SSD to upgrade your existing rig. So what can you get? If you're in the market for super fast storage, as we'd assume you are if you're interested in PCIe 4.0, then there's a great alternative from Samsung.
The 970 EVO Plus is currently one of our absolute favorite SSDs with read and write speeds up to 3,500 and 3,300 MB/s respectively. It's reliable, comes with a great warranty, easy to use companion software, and with capacity up to 2TB you won't be left short.
It's also surprisingly affordable given the performance it offers.
The very best you can get
If you need a super fast SSD and your PC can accept this drive, then it's the very best you can currently buy.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine