M 2 Sata 3 Vs Pcie

By | 14/09/2022

Learning the deviation betwixt solid-country drives (SSD) and hd drives (HDD) is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to storage solutions. Making the correct choice goes much deeper because you’ll usually take two more options – a SATA or PCIe – which makes things fifty-fifty more than confusing.

Both PCIe and SATA take diverse advantages, merely which one fits your needs all-time? Luckily, nosotros’re hither to help yous distinguish the two storage options by size, speed, operation and cost.

Connector and size


Although SATA and PCIe are most commonly referred to in terms of the drives they back up, the technologies themselves are actually the interface medium. SATA is a little L-shaped connector that has been used for connecting drives of all sorts to motherboards for years, including optical drives, as well every bit hard drives and SSDs. It’s joined by a secondary, longer L-shaped connector which provides power to the device.

SATA hard drives can be constitute in both iii.v-inch and ii.five-inch sizes, while SATA SSDs are restricted to two.5-inches. SATA has gone through multiple generations of development, only SATA Three is the nearly mutual today and is the typical interface for modern hard drives and mainstream SSDs.

PCIe refers to PCI Express, a multifaceted interface on mod motherboards that provides everything from larger sockets for graphics cards, to smaller ports for add-in cards for Wi-Fi, USB ports, and more than. It can vary in size and bandwidth from x1 at the smallest and least capable, through to x16 for the largest and greatest bachelor bandwidth.


PCIe SSDs can plug straight in to that, although those ones are technically built on the NVM Express (NVMe) connector, like the Intel 750-series drive above. They tend to be around a third the size of a standard graphics carte du jour.

Both SATA and PCIe tin can also apply some other connector type known as M.2, though PCIe drives of that form are more mutual. Those drives are far smaller and typically take their own dedicated slot or two on the motherboard.

A Western Digital Thousand.2 PCIe bulldoze
Western Digital

M.2 drives are typically very thin and only a few inches long, oft lying flat against the motherboard and requiring no additional power. Even so, the fastest of them practice ship with heatspreaders and heatsinks to proceed them at safe operating temperatures.

Whether your PCIExpress drive uses the M.2 or NVMe connector type, they can support unlike generations of PCIExpress. The most common is PCIe iii.0, but most recently with AMD’due south x570 motherboards, we saw the introduction of PCIe four.0. The major difference between the two is bandwidth, with PCIe four.0 offering double the bandwidth (16GBps) which enables faster drives.


Every drive has its own individual functioning numbers, but the SATA and PCIe formats accept their own performance ceilings too. SATA III drives are almost exclusively limited to a maximum sustained read and/or write speed of 6Gbps, or roughly 550MBps. A SATA hard drive is never going to striking such speeds, simply SATA Three SSDs, like the excellent Samsung 860 Evo, will accept no trouble coming together that threshold in synthetic testing.

Note: Few drives volition hit such speeds in real globe usage, as that is the practical maximum the drive tin can accomplish, and differences in file sizes and limerick can impact read and write speeds in practice.

These same speeds utilise to M.two SSDs that utilize the SATA protocol, so watch out for that when buying an K.2 bulldoze. If you desire greater speed, you lot need a PCIe G.two drive, non a SATA G.ii drive.

PCIExpress drives, whether they use the M.two or NVME connector standard, are faster, but notwithstanding express by the speed of the memory fries on the drive itself and the generation of PCIExpress that they’re designed for. PCIE 3.0 drives  accept a usual maximum sustained read/write speed of 3,500MBps, while PCIE 4.0 drives have a typical maximum sustained read/write speed of five,000MBps.

These speeds are rarely reached in the existent earth, even in synthetic testing, with PCIE 3.0 drives tending to hit around 2,500MBps sustained read, while the best PCIE four.0 drives deliver effectually iv,000 MBps sustained read.

There are extreme cases where drives designed with high-speed datacenters in mind offer upwards of 7GBps read and 6GBps sustained write, but those are rare and very expensive.

Other functioning metrics that are important to note include random read and write speeds, which are less stark between SATA and PCIE drives. While PCIE drives tin have random read/write speeds that are 3-v times greater than their SATA counterparts, in reality, that tends to only interpret to between a two and 3 times improvement, and even then only in longer transfers. In short transfers, the performance  gap is much thinner.

The effective departure of these drives types, that is how they experience when in use, is much more dependent on what you apply your system for. Although a fast NVME or M.ii PCIE drive will load games a couple of seconds quicker, or kick windows a footling faster than a SATA SSD, it’southward non something y’all’ll notice a huge difference with. If you regularly transfer large files or big collections of files, it would exist far more than noticeable.

The jump in real-world performance is far more obvious from a hard drive to an SSD (fifty-fifty SATA to SATA) than it is to go from a SATA SSD to a PCIE SSD.


With their smaller size and greater performance ceiling, PCIE drives are more than expensive than their SATA counterparts. Information technology’s not ever desperate, with there beingness only around $30 between the 500GB Samsung 860 Evo SATA SSD, and the 500GB Samsung 970 Evo PCIE M.ii SSD. Some drives can be inordinately expensive though. Intel’s Optane-based 905P 960GB drive tin cost more than five times the average 1TB PCIe drive.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Best laptop deals: Get a portable workhorse from $119 today
  • What is swap used in Mac Activity Monitor?
  • What is PCIe v.0?
  • The best hard drive enclosures for 2022
  • Floppy disks are finally on the way out in Japan … maybe

Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/sata-vs-pcie/