SSD or NVMe over SATA, Which platform is better?

Commercially available SSDs are available today in a variety of types, and the choice between them is highly dependent on the user and the consumer purpose platform.

There are several types of SSDs on the market today, most notably SATA 3 and NVMe. If you are looking to buy SSD storage for your PC or servers, you are probably familiar with these terms. Not all users are aware of the details and technical differences of SSD types. In this article, we try to compare the similarities and differences between SSDs, especially SATA and NVMe.

The evolution of SSDs

At the beginning of this article we will point out the whole concept of SSD and why it is popular among PC and laptop manufacturers. In recent years, all manufacturers have been trying to use SSD drives instead of traditional mechanical hard drives, and consumers are already interested in these high-speed memories. In fact, traditional hard drives have many limitations due to the moving parts, the most important of which is the low speed.

Traditional hard drives had a function similar to cassette players. On those devices, we see a moving disk with a lens in the header section that reads information as the disk rotates. The same header does the disk write operation.


Traditional Hard Disks (HDDs) used magnetic rotating screens to store data

The read and write speed of traditional hard drives is related to the speed of their main disk drive (7,200RPM, 5,400 RPM, etc.). Because of this dependency, data read and write speeds in HDD are limited. In addition, waiting times for scrolling headers also delay writing and reading processes. All of this has led to faster storage caches called SSDs.

Samsung 860 PRO EVO QVO review SSD stands for Solid State Drive, which means solid state drive, and comes in the category of storage without moving parts. SSDs use semiconductor chips to write and access memory . SSD has a huge array of semiconductor components that are in charge or discharge mode. The computer reads this state as zero and one read and converts it into intelligible information. The interesting thing about SSDs is that the cells maintain their charge and discharge status after the device is switched off, and therefore the information is not lost.

Computers equipped with SSDs utilize flash technology to read and write information much faster. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are many types of memory on the market today, including SATA 3 and NVMe. These drives use similar semiconductor arrays as described above, but their capacities and capabilities differ.

Sample SSD in 3.5-inch form factor with SATA interface

The main differences between SATA 3 and NVMe

Many SSDs are so fast that the only limiting factor is the way they connect to the computer. PCs (desktops and laptops ) use two types of connectors to connect the storage drive to other components: SATA 3 and NVMe.

The SATA 3 connectors incorporate a dual combination of data cable and power from the SSD to the motherboard of the computer. The Serial ATA or SATA protocol is the cheapest and most common SSD interface in the industry. On the one hand, even the latest generation of this protocol has a lifespan of more than 5 years and its transmission speed reaches up to 5 Gbps. SATA uses the old Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) protocol to connect memory / mainframe subsystems. The AHCI protocol was first developed for HDD drives and has limitations in faster solutions. On the one hand, SATA also has scalability constraints, and is not appropriate in server applications with the restriction of using up to 5 SATAs.

NVMe provides faster connectivity using the PCIe interface

The NVMe protocol, short for Non-Volatile Memory Express, was developed to improve the connectivity of SSD drives. The NVMe connection uses the PCI-E port and the data is transmitted directly to the motherboard directly. The drive also receives its required power directly from the motherboard. All in all, the NVMe connection provides faster connectivity between the SSD and the motherboard. In fact, NVMe’s access to multiple PCI-E lines simultaneously facilitates faster data transfer.

Samsung 860 PRO EVO QVO review

PCI-E lines or lines are the data transmission lines on the motherboard. There are restrictions on the number of routes, and the different ports and ports have different lines. In the new motherboards, depending on the component to be connected, we see ports such as x1, x2, x4, x16; ports built into motherboards for M.2 formats are generally found in new generation x4 and compatible motherboards. The third is PCIe, which delivers a maximum nominal data transfer rate of 1.2 GB / s.

Your port may be of type x2 so be sure to take full advantage of your memory capacity.

To better understand the difference in data transfer between PCIe and SATA based ports, consider the vehicle as information that is to reach a destination from one source; the SATA port is just like a street with a no-drive path; On PCIe they are like a freeway for these feeds. SATA As we mentioned in our review of the Samsung Series 2 memory, these limit the potential of these memories, meaning that NANDs and controllers have more power than they actually offer.

The important point is that the potential of a piece to use is directly dependent on the user – meaning that your user may be simpler than ever needing high-speed data transfer, for example in the tests performed by Zoomit in the review. Memories We observed that when loading games, the difference between the SATA and NVMe samples was not significant enough to justify the price. Conversely, NVMe’s speed advantage in applications such as editing videos and bulk images may be more tangible. The following list shows the differences in memory read / write speeds:

  • 7,200RPM Hard Drive: Average Read / Write Speed ​​of 1 to 2 MB / sec
  • SATA 3 SSD: read / write speeds up to 2 MB / s
  • NVMe SSD: Read / Write Speed ​​Up to 1.5 MB / sec

What are M.2 memories?

In the comparison above, we compared two methods or protocols for reading and writing data to the SSD. One uses PCIe lines and the other connects to the motherboard by cable. There is another term in the world of solid-state drives known as M.2. This is a term used to describe the physical form factor of the drive. M.2 drives are thin types of SSD drives that you can see in the example below. In fact, they are not adding new protocols to the list, and there are a variety of M.2 drives with SATA or NVMe connectivity on the market.

Samsung SSD M.2 SATA

The image above is an example of SATA-based M.2 memory and the following image shows an NVMe-type SSD drive.

M.2 drives are not necessarily faster than other drives. On the one hand, they often use the NVMe protocol because of the thinner form factor, which inherently has a faster connection. Finally, when purchasing an M.2 drive, the consumer must also pay attention to its connection protocol. As you can see in the picture, SATA-based M.2s generally have 2 and 2-pin tabs on both sides of the main tab, but PCIe-based memory has a 4-pin tab next to a large tab.

The difference between SATA and NVMe

NVMe Speed ​​benchmark against SATA 3

Earlier in Zoomit, we introduced NVMe and its variants , and ran several benchmarks to investigate the performance differences. The results you see in the table below clearly indicate the difference between the two NVMe types in the different classes, the SATA and NVMe differences, and the difference between the hard drives and the SSDs.

* All benchmarks listed in this table are executed by CrystalDiskMark software with Zoomit.

As you can see, the NVMe SSDs were much faster in the zoom tests than the SATA ones. Of course there may be products of all three types of memory that perform better or lower than the stated level, but the values ​​listed in the tables above are considered average.

Storage Memory / Read Speed ​​(Write Information) Kind of Order in MB / s 4KB Random Single IOPS
Samsung 970 Pro NVMe SSD ۲۷۹۵ (۲۰۸۷) ۱۴۰۱۴ (۴۱۰۷۸)
Samsung 860 Pro SATA SSD ۵۱۱ (۴۸۷) ۹۶۰۶ (۲۶۰۵۲)
Lexar NS200 SATA SSD ۵۲۳ (۴۷۸) ۸۵۷۷ (۲۴۸۲۰)
ٰWestern Digital WD10EZEX HDD 7200 RPM ۱۴۳/۵ (۱۴۲.۵) ۵۹ (۳۱۴)

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