NVMe vs. M.2 vs. SATA

NVMe-vs.-M.2-vs.-SATA

For anyone who is in the market looking for a new storage drive, you will run into a lot of options. The thing is that the whole storage landscape has shifted to a point that people are not having any issues buying the storage they want.

But since there are so many options available in the market, it can be a complicated process to choose the right one.

We are not counting the standard hard disk drives here since everyone knows about them.

Instead, we are focusing more on the SSD side of things mainly because there are different standards and finding the right standard is something that happens to be extremely important.

The main standards that are available in SSDs are the NVMe, as well as the standard SATA. We are also going to touch on the M.2 that seems to be confusing a lot of people as well. So, with that said, let’s have a look, shall we?

SATA

The first and perhaps the most common type of standard for SSDs is SATA. Back in the days, it used to be expensive mainly because the SSDs themselves were expensive but since then, it has become the cheapest standard.

It is the same as the one you used by hard disk drives, but the main difference here is that the SSDs are based on flash storage rather than platters.

The SATA standard can max up to 550 megabytes of reading and write before it hits a limitation of the speed it can give. The benefits of SATA based SSDs are that they are cheap, they are easily available and when it comes to supporting, they can literally run on pretty much any device that you can imagine.

As long as the device has the SATA connection, you are good to go. The latest standard that is being used is SATA 3, which gives the maximum speed of 6.0 Gigabits per second.

NVMe

NVMe is the second, and perhaps the fastest standard available.

The speed on NVMe drives is taken from the PCI express lanes, and hence they are extremely fast – a lot faster than a SATA based SSD.

NVMe drives can achieve the read and write speed of upwards of 3,600 megabytes and that is insanely fast. There are obvious benefits to NVMe but there is one downside, that is the cost. SSD in its own right is expensive as it is, but when you look at an NVMe SSD, you are going to pay much more than you would for a SATA based SSD.

M.2

This may surprise many people but M.2 is not an SSD standard. Instead it is a form factor that is used in computers. You will see this standard used mainly on laptops and modern-day motherboards as well. This is by no means reserved for SSDs. You can even install Bluetooth or WiFi cards on an M.2 slot without any issues whatsoever.

So, What is M.2 NVMe SSD?

This is a very common question that we get asked all the time. What is M.2 NVMe SSD? Well, the simplest way to explain this is that the M.2 connector is used by an SSD that is basically using the NVMe standard.

Hence, the SSD uses PCI express lanes to transfer data to and forth.

If you are wondering, there are M.2 SATA based SSDs available in the market, and as you have guessed, they use a SATA controller on the motherboard to transfer data to and from the computer.

So, in short, the M.2 is just a form factor that is available on most of the motherboards as well as the laptops. It has absolutely no impact on the performance of the SSD.

Conclusion

Driving a conclusion from this point is rather simple and straightforward because there is a huge difference in the performance between the SATA based SSDs, and NVMe based SSDs.

However, at the same time, there is a huge price gap as well, with NVMe SSDs being a lot more expensive, and not every motherboard can run NVMe properly with the best possible speeds.

As far as the M.2 is concerned, allow us to rephrase and tell you that it happens to be just a form factor that is used for a lot of different components in a computer. Before the arrival of SSDs, M.2 was still around and was being mainly used for WiFi or Bluetooth cards.

As a matter of fact, you can find an M.2 connector on your laptop as well, because that is where the wireless cards usually go.

We are hoping that this article has helped you in some way to understand the difference between both NVMe and SATA.

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