SSD stands for solid state drive and is a type of data storage. It does not have any moving mechanical components like a standard hard disk drive does, which makes them less likely to break through physical error (such as the read/write heads being misaligned). There are different types of SSDs that you can buy and two of these are PCIe and SATA. But what are these and what benefits do each offer?
PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express. It is one of the four form factors for a solid state drive. A form factor is essentially the configuration of a solid state storage media. PCIe was created in 2004 and made to replace the older PCI, PCI-X and AGP standards. PCIe is a very fast expansion format that links up a computer with its peripherals through point-to-point architecture. Benefits include a smaller physical presence, higher system bus throughput and a lower I/O pin count.
The greatest benefit that a PCIe SSD offers is the increased performance. This is because of the increased number of internal channels that the data can run through. However, there is a drawback. There is no standard set of disk controls on a PCIe, which means common features such as running operating systems and booting from the media on the drive are hard for manufacturer’s to implement.
PCIe is still relatively new, but it is becoming more popular and being adopted by more consumers. As big companies begin to use it as their SSD of choice then it will likely become widely used. So how does it compare to a SATA SSD?
SATA stands for Serial ATA. It was designed as a replacement for the AT Attachment standard, offering advantages such as decreased cable size and cost, the ability to natively hot swap, quicker data transfer through higher signalling rates and efficient transfer through a I/O queuing protocol. In 2008, SATA had a market share of 99% in desktop computers. PCIe is becoming more common when it comes to solid state drives, but SATA was the computer bus interface that was used first.
SATA SSD is another host interface that can be used on a solid state drive. A SATA SSD is similar to a standard hard disk drive in the way that it makes use of the same host interface. As such, the system accessing it through the same operating system driver stack as it would. However, although the SATA SSD has far superior performance capabilities over a standard hard disk drive, their power can be limited. This is because of the latency and bottlenecks that come from using a driver stack.
At the moment there are far more SATA SSDs available on the market compared to PCIe. This is because how common and widely used SATA is. However, in the future it is likely that PCIe will become increasingly popular due to the increased performance that you can get from it. However, if you are buying one then make sure it is going to be compatible with your computer.
PCIe vs. SATA SSDs
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