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M.2 drive SSD vs NVMe

posted Feb 7, 2018, 8:44 AM by Dong Xu   [ updated Feb 7, 2018, 11:13 AM ]

Are all M.2 drives NVMe?

No. Remember, M.2 is just the form factor. M.2 drives can come in SATA versions (like the Crucial MX300 M.2 for example) and NVMe versions (like the Samsung 960 Pro), which describes the bus they use to electrically communicate with the other PC components. SATA M.2 SSD drives and 2.5” SATA SSDs actually operate at virtually identical spec. NVMe M.2’s on the other hand, definitely do not, as we’re about to discuss.

How does NVMe speed compare to SATA?

Modern motherboards use SATA III which maxes out at a throughput of 600MB/s (or 300MB/s for SATA II, in which case, it’s time to upgrade). Via that connection, most SSDs will provide Read/Write speeds in the neighborhood of 530/500 MB/s. For comparison, a 7200 RPM SATA drive manages around 100MB/s depending on age, condition, and level of fragmentation. NVMe drives, on the other hand, provide write speeds as high as 3500MB/s. That’s 7x over SATA SSDs!

the newer USB 3.0, which can handle up to 5gbps (640MBps)

The 6Gbps SATA spec allows for up to 750MB/s of bandwidth, but the PCIe 2.0 x1 interface limits read/write speed to 500MB/s.