NVMe vs.SATA: Which SSD Technology is considered faster?

NVMe vs.SATA

Do you know that NVMe drives are a big deal in computer storage right now? It is very fast and easy to use.

NVMe vs.SATA III

For instance, the 1 TB Samsung 860 Pro, a 2.5-inch SSD with a maximum sequential read speed of 560 megabytes per second (MB/s).  However, the NVMe-based 960 Pro, is more than six times faster than it. It even has a top speed of 3,500 MB/s.

NVMe vs.SATA

NVMe vs.SATA

What is SATA III?

SATA was introduced to replace the Parallel ATA in 2000. It has higher speed connections, which helps it greatly to improve performance. SATA III rolled out eight years later with a maximum transfer rate of 600 MB/s.  Also, SATA III components use a particular type of connector to slot into a laptop, and a specific type of cable to connect to a desktop PC motherboard.

After connecting to the computer system via SATA III, you will need a host controller interface.  AHCI will do this which is the most common way for SATA III drives to talk to a computer system.

What Is PCIe?

Further, PCIe is another hardware interface. Many people know it as the way a graphics card slots into a desktop PC. A lot of people as well use it for sound cards, Thunderbolt expansion cards, and M.2 drives (more on those later).

Gigabyte

Gigabytes usually come in x16, x8, x4, and x1 variants. They show how many lanes of data transmission a slot has. However, the higher the number of lanes, the more data you can move. No wonder graphics cards use x16 slots.

Usually, the key PCIe slots on any computer. It has lanes connected to the CPU for the best performance possible. The rest of the PCIe slots connect to the chipset.

At present, there are two generations of PCIe in use: 3.0 (the most common) and 4.0. As of mid-2019, PCIe 4.0 was brand-spanking-new and only supported on AMD’S Ryzen 3000 processors and X570 motherboards. But Version 4 is very much faster.

NVMe over PCIe

PCIe and SATA III are alike; you can use any of the 2 to connect individual components to a computer system. Just like SATA III needs AHCI before a hard drive or SSD can communicate with a computer system, PCIe-based drives only use a host controller, called non-volatile memory express (NVMe). Today’s standard new version: NVMe is better from all angles.

NVMe drives accept a lot of commands at once. This makes it better than SATA III mechanical hard drives or SSDs. That is why  NVMe drives faster and better.

What Do NVMe Drives Look Like?

Do you want to buy an NVMe-based drive? Go for an M.2 gum stick. This kind of drive has up to 1TB of storage. However, this kind of drive is very small.

Interestingly, these drives connect to special M.2 PCIe slots that support up to four lanes of data transfer. They are usually NVMe based. But some use SATA III.

However, SATA III-based M.2s are hard to find.

Should you stop using SATA III Drives?

Even though NVMe is superb, easy to use, and fast, a lot of people still use SATA III for secondary storage. If you are building a new PC, use an M.2 NVMe drive for a boot drive and primary storage. Also, you can add a cheaper hard drive or 2.5-inch SSD with greater capacity as secondary storage. You will not regret this at all.

Further, you can have all your storage running over PCIe.  But at the moment, NVMe drives are limited to about 2 TB. Higher capacities are quite costly. A budget 1 TB, M.2 NVMe drive commonly costs about $100 (which is about what a 2 TB high-performance SATA III hard drives costs). Here, your choice depends on your budget and needs. However, combining M.2 with secondary SSDs and hard drives is the best option.

For laptops or PC, use NVMe flash storage, and a spare 2.5-inch bay for a SATA III hard drive or SSD. Carefully review the label to know the exact storage capacity of the drive.

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