Why Is Nvme Faster Than Sata

By | 07/11/2022
Flat screen computer monitor on a desk displaying a KC2500 and KC600

When it comes to superior storage applied science, NVMe is in a league of its own. Fifty-fifty at a glance, the differences betwixt NVMe and SATA in performance are impressive. The communication drivers and interface between NVMe and SATA are completely different every bit SATA uses AHCI drivers that are designed for hard disk drive drives (HDD) with spinning applied science while the NVMe commuter is specifically designed for SSDs with wink technology. In improver, NVMe is able to have advantage of the PCIe sockets to communicate between the storage interface and system’s CPU for even greater leverage. If this matchup were a sporting event, it would be like comparison a F1 race versus a super touring race.

At first glance, while they are both fast, comparing these two types of solid-state drives highlights their differences. Looking at these differences are worth it when evaluating your needs, wants and requirements.


A 2.5” SATA SSD in a laptop

Series ATA (SATA) technology was introduced dorsum in 2000 as an improvement to the existing Parallel ATA engineering science, which was hampered past cable size, price, performance and functionality. Both technologies were sufficient for hard disk drive drives (HDDs), which were substantially less capable than today’s solid-state drives (SSDs). The appearance of SATA-based SSDs demonstrated that the ATA autobus had reached its performance limit. Where HDDs were only able to attain 50-120 MB/due south in write operation, SSDs could saturate the SATA bus at 550 MB/south. In spite of the motorcoach limitation, information technology’s mutual to see an overall organisation functioning improvement of 10-15 times when using SATA-based SSDs in place of legacy HDD technology.


The Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) is a advice manner designed circa 2004 to improve the functioning and utility of SATA-continued storage devices. It was designed for HDDs and introduced a single storage request queue with a depth of upward to 32 commands. This meant that HDDs could reach higher throughput and operation, but the implementation would become a future clogging for SSD controller technology. For example, HDDs might be able to achieve upwardly to 200 input/output operations per 2nd (IOPS) where as SATA-based SSDs could reach upward to 100,000 IOPS and be artificially capped in performance past the SATA coach.


Kingston NVMe SSD installed in a PC

Not-Volatile Retentivity Express (NVMe) technology was introduced in 2011 to accost the various bottlenecks of the SATA interface and communication protocols. NVMe technology utilizes the PCIe coach, instead of the SATA bus, to unlock enormous bandwidth potential for storage devices. PCIe iv.0 (the current version) offers up to 32 lanes and tin can, in theory, transfer data up to 64,000MB/s compared to the 600MB/southward specification limit of SATA III. The NVMe specification also allows for 65535 control queues, which can accept upwards to 65536 commands per queue. Think that SATA-based SSDs are limited to a single queue with a depth of but 32 commands per queue. NVMe technology creates massive potential for storage devices via increased efficiency, performance, and interoperability on a broad range of systems. It is commonly believed that the engineering will become the new industry standard.

SSD Form Factors

While HDDs are commonly 2.5 or 3.5 inches wide, and most SATA-based SSDs are two.5 inches wide, 7mm thick, NVMe drives accept on a number of new form factors that allow them to fit in a multifariousness of devices.

  • M.2 – The reduction in physical drive size seen in the One thousand.2 form factor guarantees the time to come ubiquity of these storage devices. 22 refers to the width and 30/42/80/110 refer to the length in millimeters. Currently, M.2 2280 supports SATA, it is as well the well-nigh common NVMe SSD grade factor for NVMe. As technology improves and shrinks, this may change.
  • U.2 – These are more than costly, higher performance and endurance storage devices typically found in information middle/enterprise storage environments.
  • Add together-in PCIe cards – These high-performing NVMe SSDs found their fashion into systems that hadn’t nevertheless adopted sockets to accommodate the K.2 class factor.

SSD Performance at a Glance

NVMe is a storage protocol designed specifically with SSDs in mind. With the elimination of the intermediating SATA HBA layer, NVMe allows SSDs to communicate directly with the CPU via the PCIe double-decker, opening channels for groundbreaking functioning improvements. To put it into perspective, the performance limit of the SATA III coach is 6Gb/s, pregnant a SATA SSD tin offer a max of 550MB/southward of throughput later overhead. A single PCIe iii.0 lane tin offer 1GB/south (bidirectional) of throughput, and so a PCIe 3×4 SSD can reach a throughput of upward to 4GB/southward read/write. That goes upwardly to 8GB/s (bidirectional) for PCIe Gen 4X4 SSDs. The operation limitation here moves from the protocol to the NAND media, which has been undergoing tremendous evolution in recent years, assuasive manufacturers to squeeze the highest density and performance into the smallest class factors.

Protocol latency is also greatly reduced with NVMe, due to the shortened and optimized datapath allowing lower latency than SATA/SAS. The direction of queues in NVMe devices is likewise handled more efficiently by the CPU due to the I/O processing doorbell signaling which significantly reduces CPU overhead. In addition, NVMe devices are supported by well-nigh major operating systems due to the massive development effort that was undergone in the past decade.


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Source: https://www.kingston.com/en/blog/pc-performance/nvme-vs-sata