Apex Storage Company introduced X21 expansion card that allows you to install up to 21 PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSDs simultaneously in a PCIe x16 slot. Thus, the card can accommodate up to 168 TB of flash storage in the form of solid state drives, each with a capacity of 8 TB (in the future, after the introduction of the 16 TB models, the maximum capacity will be 336 TB). with a throughput of up to 30.5 GB / s.
Developed by Apex Storage, the X21 expansion card is primarily designed for workstations and applications such as machine learning. The novelty consists of two printed circuit boards built on top of each other, which are completely peppered with M.2 slots.
The novelty leads to the drive slots with 100 PCIe lanes, suggesting that there is a PCIe switch, likely located under the cooler. A single PCIe connector is not enough to power such an expansion card, so the X21 is equipped with two 6-pin power connectors, allowing a total of up to 225W of power to be sent to the card, although typical power consumption is around 95W is .
Interestingly, the Apex Storage X21’s cooling system is passive and consists of a single radiator. However, the manufacturer itself recommends providing additional active cooling with a linear air flow rate of at least 400 LFPM per minute for the most efficient operation possible.
Apex Storage outfitted the X21 with flagship Samsung 990 Pro drives for its presentation, but the expansion card also supports Intel Optane drives. The device specs state that it delivers random read and write performance of over 10M IOPS with an average read and write latency of 79ms and 52ms.
The company did not name the price of the X21 expansion card.