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Breaking Down the Tech: How HighPoint PCIe NVMe AIC Storage Drives Boost Mac Pro Performance

HighPoint RocketAIC PCIe expansion storage drives eliminate data transfer bottlenecks and streamline critical workflows.


NVMe storage has many unique characteristics that are well suited for a professional workstation platform, such as Apple’s 2023 and 2019 Mac Pros.


The compact form-factor and blazing performance seem the most obvious advantages, but customers should not overlook the inherit strengths of a PCIe-based storage solution. Some of the key factors to consider are outlined below; Low-Latency, Superior Queue Depth, and the direct to CPU hardware architecture.


Ultra Low-Latency: NVMe’s advantage over conventional media is more than just brute power. NVMe’s direct to CPU architecture significantly lowers latency, which enables the entire platform to process I/O requests in a much more efficient manner. Lowering latency improves response times, enables applications to load faster, and streamlines file transfer. It is of critical importance for media applications, which the Mac Pro is ideal for. Excessive latency can introduce the risk of error into media streams and interrupt playback, which can slow and complicate the editing process.


Superior Queue Depth / Parallelism: NVMe storage media can execute a huge number of concurrent tasks. Queue depth, the number of I/O requests that a storage device can handle at one time. NVMe media is measured in the tens of thousands, compared to tens or hundreds for a SAS/SATA device. The difference is staggering: 64K commands with a depth of 64K vs. 32 commands and a depth of 256.


NVMe media, even a single SSD in place of the system disk, enables a Mac Pro to efficiently process an immense number of tasks simultaneously, without ever really tapping into the machine’s potential. Specialized NVMe storage, such as a HighPoint RocketAIC drive, can be added to boost the performance and response time of critical applications, and further streamlines the capability of the workstation.


Direct to CPU Hardware Architecture: Unlike conventional storage media, NVMe drives are designed to interface directly with the system’s CPU and GPU’ via the PCIe host bus, essentially bypassing the conventional storage architecture that relies on layers of storage controller and adapters.

Direct to CPU Hardware Architecture

Key Differences


Protocol: NVMe is far more efficient than SAS/SATA, as it was designed specifically for SSD media.


Connection Interface: SAS/SATA requires multiple controllers and/or adapters, while NVMe interfaces directly with the PCIe Bus.


Latency: In contrast to SAS/SATA storage, NVMe media’s I/O path is short and direct, which significantly reduces latency


Parallelism: NVMe handles a huge number of parallel I/O operations, and can better utilize multi-core CPUs environments.



HighPoint RocketAIC NVMe expansion drives take this a step further by incorporating Broadcom’s industry-leading PCIe switch chipsets to minimize latency, maximize transfer speeds and optimize signal integrity. The technology is integrated directly into the AIC’s board architecture.


This unique approach ensures available PCIe bandwidth is never wasted; x4 lanes of bandwidth is available to each hosted NVMe SSD, at all times.


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