With the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G series, the manufacturer has introduced a new series of NVMe SSDs that is primarily aimed at gamers (hence the G in the name). Special feature: The firmware of the PCIe 4.0 SSD is already optimized for Microsoft’s DirectStorage API.
The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G in detail
At first glance, the new Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G series is a series of quite ordinary NVMe SSDs with PCIe 4.0 connectivity in the classic M.2 form factor. However, the manufacturer is rather vague about the concrete technical details on its website.
There is talk of a speed of over 7,000 MB/s, while the 3D TLC NAND flash is supposed to perform 1,600 MT per second. However, the manufacturer does not provide concrete details about the controller used or similar.
Arguably, however, on the capacities, as the SSD is said to be offered in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB, while there is the colorful gaming heatsink included for free with corresponding pre-order, which normally comes at a cost of $29.99.
What should make the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G so special, however, is the new “O2 Game-Optimized” firmware, which is already optimized for Microsoft’s DirectStorage API. This, of course, raises additional questions.
DirectStorage API with performance advantage in gaming
The redesigned O2 GO firmware of the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G is supposed to take the SSD’s performance to a whole new level, the manufacturer promises on the product website. “Our O2 Go firmware helps catapult the fastest storage – on and off the planet – to unimagined heights,” so the full-bodied promise.
So the SSD should be able to keep up with all the demands you throw at it. Sounds all very nice, but what does that mean in practice?
What’s behind Microsoft’s DirectStorage API
Microsoft’s DirectStorage API is expected to greatly improve SSD performance in gaming starting next year. Microsoft had unveiled the feature, known from current Xbox consoles in June 2021, revealing that content in games will load faster on the graphics card without taxing the CPU or memory.
DirectStorage does this by transmitting data from the SSD, where the games’ storage data resides, directly to the graphics card via RAM. This should not only drastically reduce loading times, but also improve the streaming of assets such as textures, while also reducing the load on the CPU.
How big the performance advantage ultimately turns out to be certainly depends on the respective SSD and is currently still difficult to assess. Whether and in which form the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G can take advantage of the new firmware will only be seen in the coming year.
The action title Forspoken, one of the first games to use the DirectStorage API, was recently postponed to January 2023.
What does this mean for existing SSDs?
The manufacturer promotes the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G as “ready for the future”and specifically “designed for the DirectStorage API” thanks to the redesigned firmware from the ground up.
However, this raises the question of what the situation is like for existing SSDs like the Rocket 4 Plus (without G in the name) and whether it will also support the technology. And if so, whether an update of the firmware will be necessary for it.
This question was also posed by the PCGamer website, which without further ado knocked directly on the manufacturer’s door and got answers from William Harmon, Technical Marketing Specialist at Sabrent. He reveals that the new version of the O2 Game-Optimized firmware is mandatory to use DirectStorage.
However, a new firmware for the already available Rocket 4 Plus is not in sight. Harmon did not want to get carried away with a concrete statement in the interview, but notes: “It is possible to flash the firmware to fulfill the requirements through DirectSotrage. However, the results might not be too great.”
He added that this is exactly why they launched the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G gaming model, which is faster at 1,600 MT/s than the regular 1,200 MT/s version. “In our tests, the normal, flashed Rocket 4 Plus falls down to the new G in terms of performance.”
Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G: Pricing and Availability
The new Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus G gaming SSD is now available for pre-order directly from the manufacturer, at least in the US. The price starts at an MSRP of 169.99 US dollars for the variant with 1 TB of storage.
A doubling to two terabytes costs $299.99, while 4 TB costs $699.99. However, the manufacturer did not reveal when the delivery will take place.