M.2 NVMe and SATA are the main formats of SSD storage units that we can find in the market. We explain the most important differences between them, and which is the best option for your new computer or updating the one you already have.
SATA SSD, a more traditional and economical format
The SATA interface has been with us for a long time, it hit the market in 2003 and since then a multitude of devices have been used. Hard drives, DVD and Blu Ray optical drives , and it can even be used to power fans.
SATA has had several revisions since its arrival on the market, the current version being SATA 3, this interface is capable of offering a theoretical bandwidth of 600 MB per second , which allows us to enjoy SSD drives with a very high speed, much higher. to traditional mechanical discs.
A great advantage of the SATA 3 interface is that it is available on all current motherboards . This means that you will have no problem installing an SSD based on this type of connection.
The electronics needed to make an SSD with a SATA interface are also quite inexpensive, so these storage devices currently enjoy a very competitive price , even more so with the drop in price that NAND memory chips have had during the last year.
M.2 NVMe SSD
As for M.2 NVMe SSDs, this connects to the PCI-Express interface, a bus that connects directly to the teacher or the motherboard chipset , and offers much higher bandwidth than SATA 3 ports.
Most of the current NVMe SSDs use 4 lanes of the PCI Express 3.0 interface , which allows them to achieve a theoretical bandwidth of 4000 MB per second, although in rare practice it exceeds 3,400 MB per second . In any case, it is a data transfer speed much higher than what can be achieved with a SATA 3-based SSD.
|Approximate actual maximum speed|
|SATA 3 SSD||560 MB / s|
|M.2 NVMe SSD||3,400 MB / s|
However, SSDs based on this fast interface also have disadvantages. The first of these is that the electronics necessary to manufacture them is notably more expensive than in the case of SATA-based SSDs, so their sale price to the user is much higher.
Another drawback of PCI Express-based SSDs is that not all motherboards have an M2 port , which is used to connect these storage devices. It is true that less and less motherboards do not include it, but if you have a computer that is 3 or 4 years old, it is quite likely that it does not include it.
Lastly, NVMe SSDs get much hotter than SATA ones . This is mainly due to two causes, the first being its higher data transfer speed. This puts more stress on the memory chips and the controller. It also influences the placement of these devices horizontally to the motherboard, and the fact that they do not include a metal casing that helps dissipate heat.
Which one is better for my PC?
The answer to this question is not simple. If you want to get the best performance, an M.2 NVMe SSD will be the best option, although you will have to pay a higher price.
Most users will not notice a noticeable difference between a SATA 3 SSD and an NVMe one . This is because the former are already much faster than mechanical hard drives, and offer exceptional performance. If you are moving large amounts of data every day or rendering 4K video you will appreciate the better performance of the NVMe SSD, otherwise a SATA SSD will be more than enough for your use.