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Thread: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

  1. #17
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    Re: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

    Yeah, but SATA is slow, slow, SLLLLOOOOOOOWWWW compared to the potential of PCIe. 6Gb/sec (as in bits) compared to 126 GB/sec (as in BYTES) on a 16-lane PCIe (under v6, due this year).

    There's more to it than that, obviously (like low latency, deeper command queues, and MUCH greater parallelism), provided both hardware (CPU) and OS are ready for it.

    As each generation of PCIe comes out, so the speed oes up, and so does the maximum number of lanes. The common analogy is a road. Imagine how many cars you can get down a SATA as a single lane road and a max of 70mph, then imagine a highway with 16-lanes and a 300mph speed limit (and cars that will do it), and think about the cars getting down that in a given period of time.

    But note that PCIe supports a lot more than HDs and SSDs, whether the SSDs are Sata or NVMe. There will be a given amount of CIe lanes for a given processor, and you'll be sticking both HD and SSD storage down it, as well as USB, Bluetooth, LAN, NFC and all sorts. And raphics, of course.

    So it all depends on the hardware achitecture as to how many lanes (PCIe y.0) where y is generation, from 1 to 6, and how many lanes (x1, x4, x8, x16).

    Some manufacturers, for example, might ewlect to use an PCIe whatever, x8 slot giving RAIDed SSDs a lot of bandwidth, and another might provide two x4 slots. The latter could support an SSD on one x4 but with less bandwidth, and a fast LAN board, or Wifi6, etc, on the other.

    If you're trying to saturate an M.2 PCIe lane with SSDs, it'll depend not just on how many SSDs, and the performance of each of them, but how wide that portion of the lane is. Overall performane depends on it. It's a case of trying to balance how many cars, I mean how much data, you can get out of the SSDs without bottlenecking, versus leaving bandwidth for non-SSD usage too. And that is use-case dependent.

    Please excuse the simplistic analogy but there's a good reason for me explaining it that way, that being that it's about the depth of how far I understand what's going on.
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    Re: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

    ATM,most games,etc are made for normal SATA drives because the consoles and most PCs are on SATA. However,the new consoles use NVME SSDs and both Sony/MS have said they do want to use their advantages more in games,so I can see NVME SSDs starting to show more importance in next generation titles in the near future. ATM,there is also not much price difference between SATA and NVME SSDs at capacities of 1TB and under - however for larger capacities SATA SSDs do appear to still be noticeably cheaper,as even a Crucial BX500 2TB can be had for around £124.

    Edit!!

    In my case,the only game I can see a bit of a difference was in highly modded Fallout 4 with 200+ mods. There were some instances when read speeds went past the SATA limit for brief periods!!

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    Re: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

    Some of you guys make this place a really good read! add so much detail, solid advice too!

    but yeah buy an m.2 NVMe.... who doesn't like their hard drive benching super fast and WORKING super fast!

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    Re: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

    Personally, I went from a 850 EVO to a boot system with a Samsung 961 (which was a datacentre part mainly) and it's a little faster in normal use, it was twice the size as well which was a big plus, but honestly I wouldn't say there was a big speed increase. A little one, sure, but not worth the 200 pounds of the part at the time.

    Now, with prices much better, I would recommend going for what you can afford, the difference is mainly not noticeable and you would benefit from more threads or better GPU much more.
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    Re: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

    I've gone from a system with SATA SSD and an old 3570k to NVME slow PCIe3 SSD (WD Blue) with an i5-10400F so I can't say for sure where the changes come from, however the entire system feels much snappier. I didn't think of my old system as slow TBH and I didn't see CPU bottlenecking apart from a short time after boot/login.

    What I actually liked the most was the lack of cables!

    One important thing: QLC is baaaaad Mkaaaaay. Everyone bangs on about endurance and performance but no one mentions data loss. Leave your system unpowered for a reasonable length of time and it's bye bye data!

    TLC is fine though

    See here for details:

    https://www.extremetech.com/computin...-without-power

    Ignore the extremes - the figures are for worn out SSD's but that table was created when TLC was brand new - QLC has twice as many voltage levels per cell........
    Last edited by badass; 24-03-2021 at 06:18 PM.
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    Re: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

    Agreed regarding QLC. I tend to not mention it as it's a little harder to substantiate but ISTR that the greater demands on state precision leave data more vulnerable to loss. We did see some evidence of drives struggling with reads of older data and falling back to slower ECC in the planar TLC era - 3D QLC is ostensibly around the same sort of 'tolerance' level and brings with it many of the same challenges.

    Without meaning to come across as condescending to anyone who has knowingly decided on a QLC drive, I think many people buy into them on a sort of fallacy - wringing out a bit more perceived value at a cost in other areas. Some will point to the SLC cache performance of these drive and how they perform as well as TLC drives for short writes, and with the empty-drive performance allowing a huge SLC cache, you may never exceed that cached performance, right? Well I don't think it's quite as simple as that.

    Firstly, it's critical to remember that the dynamically sized SLC cache can be an absolute maximum of the size of all of the available NAND cells on the device working in SLC mode (it's not a coincidence that many drives on the market max out at the same cache size for a given capacity). It is not a separate cache, it uses the same QLC NAND in a faster mode temporarily before folding the writes into QLC states. For a QLC drive, divide the drive capacity by 4, so a 1TB drive has an absolute upper limit of a 256GB cache. This cache must shrink as those NAND cells are filled in QLC mode. Install Windows at say 20GB? There, you lost 80GB of that cache straight away. Half fill the drive, now you only have a 128GB cache, max. Check benchmarked sustained performance to see what happens when you saturate this cache. Drives with a static cache and perhaps a modestly sized dynamic cache tend to fall back gracefully. Drives with this synthetic benchmark-chasing absolute-max SLC dynamic cache size often fall back catastrophically, to sub-mechanical HDD speeds. Don't think "the drive has a 250GB cache and I won't write that much" because that's a broken logic - the cache size is only ever that large when the drive is totally empty, and shrinks accordingly as the drive fills.

    Writing to QLC is SLOOOWWW, by any measure. But what's worse is, many of the QLC drives on sale with this sort of caching system can't simply fall back to their native QLC write speed when the cache is saturated, because at this point their whole NAND capacity is saturated and there is nowhere left to write in QLC mode. So now the controller has to free up space on-the-fly by reading the SLC cache, folding that to QLC cells, erasing the SLC-mode cells to free up space, all while trying to figure out what to do with the data now backing up on the input buffers.

    Many of these drives on the market seem to be sold on the strength of their empty-drive, synthetic benchmark performance, boasting huge SLC caches to reassure people, and the assumption that people won't come close to filling them. To me at least, it seems a bit pointless buying a drive under that assumption.



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    Remember mechanical drives can comfortably exceed 200MB/s sequential nowadays!

    There are some edge cases where QLC drives may offer value, but even then I still don't think the remaining drawbacks are worth the small saving.
    Last edited by watercooled; 25-03-2021 at 02:43 AM.

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    Re: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

    It depends on what you are doing.
    For gaming there is no noticeable difference in load times between M.2 and SATA.
    If you do actual work and productivity tasks there is a noticeable difference.

    Having said that DirectStorage is coming soon which will take advantage of M.2 and improve loading times in games. At that point you will see a noticeable difference but considering SATA SSDs already have fast loading times it might not be financially worth it for people to upgrade for literally just slightly faster loading times. Generally you should not go out of your way to buy M.2 unless you are doing a new build as M.2 prices are so low now that anyone can afford 1 TB.

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    Re: Is there much real world performance difference between Sata 6gbps and NVME SSDs?

    MP Force Gen 4 NVME vs Crucial SSD in my daily usage is giving me no bonus what so ever. Then again, I bought with direct storage/ win 11 in mind.

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