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PCI-E or SATA III SSD?

skaertus

Senior member
Mar 20, 2010
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I am building a new desktop PC and I am wondering which SSD I should put on it. I am definitely going for a 480 GB SSD, but I am in doubt whether I should choose a SATA III or PCI-E one.

I have talked to some people that recommended the PCI-E SSD because it is a lot faster. Those people said to me that storage is usually the bottleneck of computers, and that I should opt for the faster one if I could. Plus, Apple has been using faster SSD drives in its laptops, which means that it probably does make some difference (otherwise Apple would not matter doing this).

However, I read some reviews that stated that PCI-E SSDs were theoretically faster than SATA III ones, but that differences in real world performance would not be worth it. Those reviews said that the user should skip the PCI-E SSD and save money or buying additional storage instead.

Now, I am in doubt. Any recommendations? Thanks.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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NVMe all the way for the OS drive. Going forward, programs and operating systems are really going to start taking advantage of the extra speed. Even right now, things like Windows updates and virus scans are so much faster with a NVMe drive.

They have fallen close (within $30 or so / even less when catching a good sale) to the price of good SATA SSDs, so it only makes since to go with what is faster.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/9799/best-ssds

$99.99 right now for the HP EX920:
HP at Newegg
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
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NVMe all the way for the OS drive. Going forward, programs and operating systems are really going to start taking advantage of the extra speed. Even right now, things like Windows updates and virus scans are so much faster with a NVMe drive.

They have fallen close (within $30 or so / even less when catching a good sale) to the price of good SATA SSDs, so it only makes since to go with what is faster.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/9799/best-ssds

$99.99 right now for the HP EX920:
HP at Newegg
At those prices I would consider getting getting NVMe SSDs over SATA ones. However how is the heat output and longevity of such SSDs in M.2 form factor?
 

UsandThem

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At those prices I would consider getting getting NVMe SSDs over SATA ones. However how is the heat output and longevity of such SSDs in M.2 form factor?
Not with most modern NVMe drives as long as the case has normal air flow. It doesn't have to be exotic or anything, but just having normal fans in the front of the case pulling cool air across them in fine. They run a little warmer than most SSDs, but my 970 EVO never comes anywhere near its max temperature.

If a power user who writes huge files somehow heats it up that high, they are designed to throttle the performance (just like modern CPUs). Most good NVMe drives have the same 3-5 year and TBW warranties that SATA SSDs come with.
 

whm1974

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Jul 24, 2016
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Not with most modern NVMe drives as long as the case has normal air flow. It doesn't have to be exotic or anything, but just having normal fans in the front of the case pulling cool air across them in fine. They run a little warmer than most SSDs, but my 970 EVO never comes anywhere near its max temperature.

If a power user who writes huge files somehow heats it up that high, they are designed to throttle the performance (just like modern CPUs). Most good NVMe drives have the same 3-5 year and TBW warranties that SATA SSDs come with.
Thanks, for my next system I will likely go with NVMe SSDs instead of SATA then.
 

skaertus

Senior member
Mar 20, 2010
211
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91
NVMe all the way for the OS drive. Going forward, programs and operating systems are really going to start taking advantage of the extra speed. Even right now, things like Windows updates and virus scans are so much faster with a NVMe drive.

They have fallen close (within $30 or so / even less when catching a good sale) to the price of good SATA SSDs, so it only makes since to go with what is faster.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/9799/best-ssds

$99.99 right now for the HP EX920:
HP at Newegg
Well, I do not live in the U.S., so I cannot buy at these prices. Here in Brazil, where I live, I can find a 480 GB SATA III SSD for USD 120, but a 480 GB NVMe SSD will cost me USD 230. These are the cheapest prices I managed to find so far.

So, the NVMe SSD will cost me nearly double the SATA III SSD. Is it worth the additional price?

Not with most modern NVMe drives as long as the case has normal air flow. It doesn't have to be exotic or anything, but just having normal fans in the front of the case pulling cool air across them in fine. They run a little warmer than most SSDs, but my 970 EVO never comes anywhere near its max temperature.

If a power user who writes huge files somehow heats it up that high, they are designed to throttle the performance (just like modern CPUs). Most good NVMe drives have the same 3-5 year and TBW warranties that SATA SSDs come with.
Heating is a concern for me. And not because of throttling performance. As I said, I live in Brazil, and the current temperature here is 86o F. Computers make the room even warmer, to the point it gets uncomfortable to use. I am currently writing this on a laptop (a Dell XPS 9550 with a 6th gen Core i7 processor, and a GTX 960M video card), and I am already sweating, as the laptop generates heat.

So, if the NVMe SSD will generate an amount of heat sufficient to make the room any warmer, then I will prefer a lower performance model, for the sake of feeling more comfortable when using the computer.
 

bonehead123

Senior member
Nov 6, 2013
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Airflow/AC is the answer.....

Both for the room and inside your case......increase both and you will not see any issues with throttling on the nvme drive....plus you will be more comfortable while using the computer too :D
 

skaertus

Senior member
Mar 20, 2010
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Airflow/AC is the answer.....

Both for the room and inside your case......increase both and you will not see any issues with throttling on the nvme drive....plus you will be more comfortable while using the computer too :D
I cannot make the changes to the room, as it is a rented apartment. My computer will not be able to generate too much heat, and this is the issue.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
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For many tasks there is little or no difference in speed. Think of the SATA as 10 times as good as a mechanical platter drive, PCI-E as maybe 12 times as good.

If the price difference matters to you, you will be very happy with the slightly slower SATA SSD.
 

UsandThem

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May 4, 2000
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Well, I do not live in the U.S., so I cannot buy at these prices. Here in Brazil, where I live, I can find a 480 GB SATA III SSD for USD 120, but a 480 GB NVMe SSD will cost me USD 230. These are the cheapest prices I managed to find so far.
That would've been great info to include in the OP on a U.S. based hardware site.

I cannot make the changes to the room, as it is a rented apartment. My computer will not be able to generate too much heat, and this is the issue.
You will need to buy lower performance / lower watt PC components then. A GTX 1080ti or an i7-9700k will output the same heat no matter what case you select. All of that heat has to go somewhere, and it's not going to miraculously stay inside your PC case without going into the space the computer occupies.
 

UsandThem

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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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I have misgivings about NVMe (in PCIe form or M.2) because of the lack of options for accessing that storage aside from having to open up a computer to do it.

With PCIe it's more forgivable (one would have to have an enclosure capable of housing a PCIe card), but with M.2 NVMe I would have thought it must be possible to be able to access such a drive through say a USB enclosure, even though it inevitably means significantly lower performance.
 

skaertus

Senior member
Mar 20, 2010
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I just realized you have several different active posts which could have all been asked and answered in one thread to avoid confusion. The common theme in all of these is to avoid excess heat, so the focus of building a lower power / lower heat PC should all be in one thread.

https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/heating-issues.2556760/#post-39650760

https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/which-case.2556764/#post-39650715
Actually, there are different subjects. This thread is about the performance difference between a SATA III and a PCI- E SSD. The heating issue was only mentioned here occasionally.

I made different threads to address different issues. From my experience, one big thread about too many things tend to concentrate on one or two issues at most, and the others are forgotten as the thread develops. I did this to focus the answers on simple and direct issues, with the exact purpose to get straight answers and to avoid confusion.
 

UsandThem

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Actually, there are different subjects. This thread is about the performance difference between a SATA III and a PCI- E SSD. The heating issue was only mentioned here occasionally.

I made different threads to address different issues. From my experience, one big thread about too many things tend to concentrate on one or two issues at most, and the others are forgotten as the thread develops. I did this to focus the answers on simple and direct issues, with the exact purpose to get straight answers and to avoid confusion.
I have to disagree with this. I would have saved time from answering your question, linking to a SSD review, and finally linking to a NVMe drive on sale when it wouldn't be the best choice for you because of your heat issues.

NVMe drives output more heat, and you live in a location outside of the U.S. with different part availability and pricing. It would have saved me the time responding to 2 of your threads, to only find out a 3rd was posted. While all three threads focus on specific components, they all have one thing in common: Your need to build a lower power / lower heat PC. A NVMe drive in a hot PC inside a hot room is a bad idea. It would have been better addressed in one thread in the PC building forum.

Good luck on your build, I'm moving on.
 

skaertus

Senior member
Mar 20, 2010
211
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I have to disagree with this. I would have saved time from answering your question, linking to a SSD review, and finally linking to a NVMe drive on sale when it wouldn't be the best choice for you because of your heat issues.

NVMe drives output more heat, and you live in a location outside of the U.S. with different part availability and pricing. It would have saved me the time responding to 2 of your threads, to only find out a 3rd was posted. While all three threads focus on specific components, they all have one thing in common: Your need to build a lower power / lower heat PC. A NVMe drive in a hot PC inside a hot room is a bad idea. It would have been better addressed in one thread in the PC building forum.

Good luck on your build, I'm moving on.
Sorry for wasting your time. I had no idea that an NVMe SSD would add more heat to the computer, as I thought it would only be a matter of performance.
 

UsandThem

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Sorry for wasting your time. I had no idea that an NVMe SSD would add more heat to the computer, as I thought it would only be a matter of performance.
Hence why all of this being in one thread would have helped. We could have seen what challenges you are facing with your build.

Some NVMe drives (like Samsung ones) are designed to work all the way up to 90c before throttling. A SATA SSD will rarely go above 45c - 50c if it's in front of case fans.

All of this heat has to go somewhere, and since your room already has high ambient temps, the heat output by all your components will quickly saturate your case before it starts heating your room up even more. You mentioned your laptop heats your room up in your other thread, and those are designed to be lower power / lower heat products compared to desktops. You need to ensure every single component you select for your build is as efficient as possible.
 

skaertus

Senior member
Mar 20, 2010
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Hence why all of this being in one thread would have helped. We could have seen what challenges you are facing with your build.

Some NVMe drives (like Samsung ones) are designed to work all the way up to 90c before throttling. A SATA SSD will rarely go above 45c - 50c if it's in front of case fans.

All of this heat has to go somewhere, and since your room already has high ambient temps, the heat output by all your components will quickly saturate your case before it starts heating your room up even more. You mentioned your laptop heats your room up in your other thread, and those are designed to be lower power / lower heat products compared to desktops. You need to ensure every single component you select for your build is as efficient as possible.
Thanks again. Well, I guess i will have to choose carefully all the components of the desktop.

In all sites here in which I can build a PC, there is no NVMEe SSD available for buying. I would have to buy an NVMe SSD from a separate store, and install it myself. Is there anything I have to keep on mind about compatibility? Will it run in every motherboard or do I have to choose any specific configuration when building my PC so I can guarantee future compatibility with an NVMe SSD?
 

UsandThem

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Thanks again. Well, I guess i will have to choose carefully all the components of the desktop.

In all sites here in which I can build a PC, there is no NVMEe SSD available for buying. I would have to buy an NVMe SSD from a separate store, and install it myself. Is there anything I have to keep on mind about compatibility? Will it run in every motherboard or do I have to choose any specific configuration when building my PC so I can guarantee future compatibility with an NVMe SSD?
Most current motherboards work fine with just about every NVMe drive out there, and if for some reason there is a compatibility issue (which is extremely rare), it can be remedied by a simple BIOS update.
 

skaertus

Senior member
Mar 20, 2010
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Most current motherboards work fine with just about every NVMe drive out there, and if for some reason there is a compatibility issue (which is extremely rare), it can be remedied by a simple BIOS update.
Thanks! This is very helpful.

As for the SSDs, I found the following ones available for a somewhat affordable price:

  • Crucial M300 M.2 (525 GB);
  • Corsair Force Series MP300 M.2 (480 GB); and
  • Kingston A1000 M.2 2280 480 GB

Are they all similar? Is any of them better for some reason?

Thanks again for the advice.
 

UsandThem

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Did you mean the Crucial Mx300? That's a rather old (and discontinued drive here). Can you not get SSDs like the Crucial MX500 (or even the BX500) where you live? Other good SATA SSDs along with I mentioned above are the Sandisk and Western Digital 3D NAND, Crucial BX500, and the Intel 545S.

By the way, the Corsair and the Kingston drives you listed are NVMe drives (and not very good ones at that).
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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Thanks! This is very helpful.

As for the SSDs, I found the following ones available for a somewhat affordable price:

  • Crucial M300 M.2 (525 GB);
  • Corsair Force Series MP300 M.2 (480 GB); and
  • Kingston A1000 M.2 2280 480 GB

Are they all similar? Is any of them better for some reason?

Thanks again for the advice.
The last two are PCIe 3.0 x 2 NVMe (Phison E8 controller) and the first one is SATA.

The Corsair is using the Phison Reference design with Toshiba NAND packages and the A1000 is using Kingston branded NAND packages (not sure if Kingston uses the Phison reference design for PCB or not).
 

whm1974

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Jul 24, 2016
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Did you mean the Crucial Mx300? That's a rather old (and discontinued drive here). Can you not get SSDs like the Crucial MX500 (or even the BX500) where you live? Other good SATA SSDs along with I mentioned above are the Sandisk and Western Digital 3D NAND, Crucial BX500, and the Intel 545S.

By the way, the Corsair and the Kingston drives you listed are NVMe drives (and not very good ones at that).
Which in that case a person would be better of getting a good SATA SSD instead of such poor NVMe drives. I can assume that they use TLC or QLC NAND?
 
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UsandThem

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Which in that case a person would be better of getting a good SATA SSD instead of such poor NVMe drives. I can assume that they use TLC or QLC NAND?
Normally I would agree (as I first recommended in this thread).

However, after seeing their other active posts, this user has very hot ambient temperatures, so any higher heat producing component is not a good idea. You should read their post in computer building I linked to in this thread to get the full picture of their issues.
 

whm1974

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Jul 24, 2016
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Normally I would agree (as I first recommended in this thread).

However, after seeing their other active posts, this user has very hot ambient temperatures, so any higher heat producing component is not a good idea. You should read their post in computer building I linked to in this thread to get the full picture of their issues.
Oh I been reading that thread and given some advice as well.

In his case I would go with 2.5" SATA SSDs instead of using M.2 SSDs anyway.
 

UsandThem

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Oh I been reading that thread and given some advice as well.

In his case I would go with 2.5" SATA SSDs instead of using M.2 SSDs anyway.
The firm factor of the SATA isn't very important IMO, as they don't put out anywhere the amount of heat a NVMe drive does. Not to mention if this user buys a case and puts the 2.5" drive behind the motherboard tray, which would be way too hot.
 

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