Solid-state drives, often abbreviated as SSDs, use non-volatile memory to store data in a manner that is far more efficient, quicker and reliable than the traditional, disk-based hard drives that you're probably familiar with. While it's still a relatively new form of data storage, businesses and consumers alike are embracing SSD storage at record numbers.
While SSDs are superior to hard disk drives (HDDs) in nearly every way, there are some drawbacks. Firstly, SSDs are rather costly – especially when compared to the disk capacity of HDDs at the same price. In this category, SSDs simply can't keep up with the amount of data storage offered with older drives.
Nonetheless, if it's speed, reliability or performance you're after, there's no better choice than a modern SSD. But which format do you choose; SATA or NVMe? Which one is right for you?
The first SSDs introduced to the public relied on the Serial ATA (SATA) interface to physically connect the drive to the computer. SATA was unveiled in 2003, as a replacement to Parallel ATA (PATA) technology and, although SATA-driven SSDs are superior to HDDs in terms of performance, they still can't match their predecessors when it comes down to storage capacity.
According to benchmarks, the SATA 3.0 interface is capable of achieving transfer speeds up to 750 MB/s. It's important to note, however, that actual speeds are close to 600MB/s or less. Regardless, this is quite an improvement when compared to traditional HDDs.
While the SATA interface is enough for SSD users to experience a rather noticeable performance boost over HDDs, they still couldn't reach their full potential – until recently.
Also know as Non-Volatile Memory Express, or NVMe, this is the latest and greatest interface for connecting an SSD to a host computer. It's actually powered by the system's PCI Express (PCIe) port, which is commonly used for connecting third-party graphics and sound cards.
Because PCIe accommodates far more bandwidth than SATA, the newer, NVMe-driven SSDs are capable of achieving far greater read-write speeds than ever before. Unfortunately, they're still struggling to compete with HDDs in terms of overall disk capacity.
With SATA SSDs run around 0.6 GB/s, NVMe SSDs can achieve throughput speeds around 3.0 GB/s. Since NVMe's can be routed through as many as four PCIe lanes simultaneously, and with each lane supporting up to 1.0 GB/s, these drives are six to eight times as fast as SATA SSDs.
For comparison, the highest-performing HDD, which boasts an impressive 10,000 RPM, is only capable of achieving 140 MB/s of sustained throughput. Today's NVMe SSDs, and even the earlier SATA SSDs, are exponentially faster.
As you can see, NVMe technology far outperforms SATA-based SSDs. although SATA SSDs are still faster and more reliable than traditional HDDs, neither of them can match the benchmarks of the newest NVMe-powered SSDs. If you're looking for overall disk capacity, however, you might want to add an older, disk-based drive to your system while installing your most important files – including system files – on the SSD.
NVMe SSD vs. Sata SSD: Which Is Better?
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