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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  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    PCIE has a 75 watt limit. Anandtech shows 6.2W max consumption for a 970 evo drive.

    So 4 drives would 24.8 watt, which would leave more then enough power for the fan. The connector is a bit pointless.
    Reply
  • FullmetalTitan - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    He means that you can effectively remove those 25W from the bus overhead if you use the 6-pin instead. Only applicable in the corner case where you already have >50W of other add ins running via PCIE bus power. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    PCIe is 75W per x16 slot (25W per x1/4), not for the entire bus as a whole. You will occasionally see high end boards designed around 4 GPUs adding a supplemental PCIe power connector to the mobo in the card area to bring in extra power; but that's only needed in extreme edge cases. Reply
  • vgray35@hotmail.com - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    And therefore all this talk of overkill is itself zealous overkill ranting in itself. Come on people do the math! All high end M.2 PCIe devices throttle, which means all those devices are by definition UNDER KILL by providing insufficient power capability. Are you saying throttling should be tolerated - no we have waited long enough for a proper power handling solution. And here it is properly designed to handle throttling. SORRY BUT THIS IS NOT OVERKILL, it is what was needed from the start on all M.2's - a proper power supply.

    MSI knows power on the PCIe Bus needs to be reserved for other power hungry PCI devices, and they are ensuring they do not steal needed power from those other devices. MSI is being considerate to other vendors who also need that power. Any questions. I do not like MSI as a company because their arrogance has screwed me in the past (insufficient cooling on a gaming laptop which they refused to fix) - BUT they did get this one right.
    Reply
  • MajGenRelativity - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    M.2 drives throttle because of thermal constraints, NOT power constraints. Hence the well deserved fan. The power adapter is the overkill part, not the fan. Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, June 22, 2018 - link

    This. TBH with a heatsink that size the fan may be overkill too; it's not going to be doing any real harm in the system they've designed it for though, so why not eh? Reply
  • vgray35@hotmail.com - Friday, June 22, 2018 - link

    Really power and heat are in direct correlation. The more power you draw the greater the heat dissipation, which upon reaching the thermal limit causes power to be throttled back. There is no difference here. Never suggested the fan was overkill, as it is needed to abate thermal dissipation. But likewise power adapter is not overkill because it is already established each M.2 will be able to reach 20W, and 4 of them at 80W exceeds the PCIe power spec, so one needs the power adapter. A 4 pin adopter is too small. As memory chips get more dense M.2 module power draw increases. What about next years crop of M.2's - likely to be higher power devices. Power connector guarantees it will work over the next 3 or 4 years of M.2 upgrades. No brainer really. Reply
  • philehidiot - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    Am I being an idiot here... The drives are mounted on the back with the fan on the other side?

    What's conducting the heat to the fan? The PCB?
    Reply
  • FullmetalTitan - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    Looked to me like the shroud is removed in that image showing the actual M.2 connectors Reply
  • 29a - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    Yes, you're being an idiot. The drives are clearly on the same side of the PCB as the fan. Reply

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