Dual-slot storage card holds eight E.1 SSDs and can reach 55GB/s


Forward-looking: Storage add-in-boards (AIBs) that host large numbers of fast solid-state drives aren’t uncommon, but HighPoint’s new product pushes the envelope in a few key areas. Although it may not be the most spacious card, its potential speed and cooling apparatus could pave the way for groundbreaking performance.

HighPoint recently introduced the SSD7749E, the first dual-slot storage AIB capable of maintaining high transfer speeds for eight E.1 NVMe SSDs while effectively managing heat to prevent throttling.

Designed primarily for servers and industrial applications, the SSD7749E incorporates a dual PCIe slot design primarily to accommodate enhanced heatsinks integrated into its aluminum casing. The card features quiet cooling fans at one end, a vent bracket at the other, and additional vents on the front panel to further enhance heat dissipation. Despite its dual-slot format, this 1.53-inch-thick AIB efficiently houses all the drives within a space no larger than a standard graphics card, without fully occupying the dual-slot allocation, thus allowing for additional airflow.

Innovative designs like these are likely to gain importance as SSDs continue to increase in speed, demanding more effective cooling solutions. The SSD7749E supports PCIe 4.0 drives, capable of achieving speeds up to 7GB/s. However, single-slot AIBs from companies such as Gigabyte and ASRock can accommodate four PCIe 5.0 SSDs, reaching speeds of up to 14GB/s. Individual PCIe 5.0 drives typically require large heatsinks to prevent severe throttling. Therefore, it will be interesting to observe how future dual-slot PCIe cards could assist them in reaching their full performance potential.

Dynamically allocating up to x4 PCIe lanes for each SSD, HighPoint’s new product offers a total bandwidth of up to 28GB/s. By using cross-sync RAID, administrators can further scale the bus bandwidth to 32 lanes, achieving speeds of up to 55GB/s.

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The SSD7749E supports RAID 0, 1, and 10 arrays. Additionally, it is compatible with single drives, multiple arrays, multiple bootable volumes, boot-plus-storage configurations, and mixed arrays.

A wide range of operating systems are supported, including Windows 10, 11, Server 2022, 2019, and 2016, Microsoft Hyper-V, macOS 10.13, all Ventura 13 versions, RHEL, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Rocky Linux, provided they run on a Linux kernel version 3.10 or newer. Mac support extends to both Intel and M1 systems.

Excluding the SSDs, the SSD7749E retails for $1,499. If you were to purchase eight 8TB SSDs, the total storage capacity would exceed 60TB, costing at least $7,000. Other AIBs from Sabrent and Apex can accommodate up to 21 M.2 SSDs, which could run into tens of thousands of dollars, but they lack HighPoint’s custom 55GB/s bandwidth.



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