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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  • npz - Friday, June 22, 2018 - link

    The chipset and bios needs to support PCIE lane bifurcation for your slot (to twice halve the pcie x16 into separate four x4 lanes) I don't know of any mITX board that can do that.

    Otherwise you need to get the very expensive version of these types of a cards with that uses a PCIE switch onboard so you get chipset to card = pcie x16 connection, then each downstream port of the switch will be a x4 connection to each m.2 slot
    Reply
  • vgray35@hotmail.com - Friday, June 22, 2018 - link

    A switch is not needed if the card itself does all the buffering between the 4xM.2's and the PCIe Bus. Reply
  • jrs77 - Saturday, June 23, 2018 - link

    That's exactly the problem it seems. The PEG-slot (PCI Express for Graphics) is somehow not usable as a normal PCIe slot. So anything else than a graphics card can't be used, as the board won't even recognize the card. Reply
  • danwat1234 - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    No pics of the underside of the heatsink? Reply
  • zodiacfml - Thursday, June 21, 2018 - link

    Lacks RGB Reply
  • koaschten - Friday, June 22, 2018 - link

    Am I the only one thinking:
    Hmmm would have been neat to see a picture of the heatsinks contact area to the SSDs.

    I wonder if it is just one huge thermal pad? or is it 4 stripes? re-usable?

    Are there replacement stripes in the box?

    What do i do when I gradually go from 1 to 4 SSDs?
    Reply
  • FuzzDad - Monday, June 25, 2018 - link

    Given this it will not be long before EKWB introduces an M2 waterblock and all discussions on overkill w/power will be overwhelmed by a $100 block and assorted fittings, etc. Reply

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