Intel’s upcoming Rocket Lake processors are set to launch sometime next month in March, and with it will be bringing official support for PCIe Gen 4.0 compatibility. According to Intel though, the flagship Core i9-11900K will be around 11% faster than the Ryzen 9 5950X in terms of SSD performance.

11th Gen Core desktop platform delivers up to 11 percent better PCIe Gen 4 storage performance vs the AMD Ryzen 9 5000 platform,” Intel recently said. Backing up this claim Intel released a benchmark result comparing to the flagship CPUs from both of the latest generations of Intel and AMD processors, the Core i9-11900K and Ryzen 9 5950X.

Both CPUs were tested on similar systems, with 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, an RTX 3090, and comparing performance on a 1TB Samsung 980 Pro SSD. The Intel CPU was paired with an Asus Z590 ROG Maximus XIII Hero motherboard, whereas the AMD CPU used an Asus X570 ROG Rampage VIII mobo.

Ryan Shrout, the Chief Performance Strategist at Intel, recently posted the graph on Twitter stating that: “at #CES21 we looked at Rocket Lake-S gaming. Here’s a sneak peek of Core i9-11900K PCIe Gen 4 storage performance - up to 11% faster on PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark vs the 5950X.

When asked whether the 980 Pro SSD was installed directly into the M.2 slot on the AMD system, Shrout replied that they “didn’t test using the M.2 slots, he used a x16 slot with a riser card to make sure it was CPU attached on both platforms.

So if Intel’s claims are true, then PCIe 4.0 capable SSDs will perform faster on the Rocket Lake CPUs compared to Ryzen. But there are some caveats with this benchmark.

First of all, this is most likely just the best case scenario result, as the PCMark benchmark software used describes the test as a “shorter test with a smaller set of less demanding real-world traces,” and that users can run on “smaller system drives that are unable to run the Full System Drive benchmark.” So it’s not quite the most thorough benchmark result, and only a single one at that. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait for more and thorough benchmarks after the Rocket Lake processors launch soon.

Second of all, faster SSD performance doesn’t always translate directly into in-game performance. As not all games leverage the enhanced transfer speeds of PCIe 4.0 SSDs just yet. Things may change soon though as the latest generation of consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, both contain support for PCIe 4.0 SSDs. So hopefully developers will take advantage of the increased transfer speeds in future games.

For now though, a SATA SSD is still perfectly fine for gaming. But arguably Intel is taking the first step here in order to encourage developers to make use of the technology more often.

What do you think? Has Intel cherry picked the best case scenario here? Is it worth getting a PCIe 4.0 SSD now? Or is a SATA SSD still okay to use? And do you think this will help encourage developers to make use of PCIe 4.0 SSDs in there games? Or will that still take some time? Let us know!

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