Not All SSDs Are The Same
I well remember the day I switched from a mechanical hard drive, aka spinner, to a SATA drive– Windows boot time was reduced to mere seconds and the difference in performance was night and day. Since then, SSDs have become even faster with the M.2 form factor, SATA, and NVMe drives. As the name suggests, SSD is a solid-state device with no moving parts and unlike RAM, it’s non-volatile, which means it retains the data when powered down. Form factor and compatibility also play a part in your decision making, with all modern PCs having SATA ports with the small, almost credit card size 2.5″ SSD drive being the most popular and economic choice at around $50 for 500GB. Form factor is important since a SATA SSD will be the size of a standard laptop hard drive, i.e. 2.5″ and may need an adaptor tray so that you can fit it into your case. The M.2 form factor is different altogether and is built into the motherboard as an expansion slot, with many having two or more M.2 slots in mid to high-end boards.
For example, my PC has an Asus Crosshair Hero VII motherboard with two M.2 slots so that I could add two NVMe SSDs or one M.2 SATA and one NVMe, thus giving me eight possible drive configurations. As it is, in my rush to add an M.2 drive, I only opted for an M.2 SATA 500GB drive because NVMe was out of my price range at that time. However, the benefits of speed when comparing HDDs, SATA, and NVMe are very obvious as you can see from the diagram below.
Those speeds speak for themselves and it’s fair to say that a SATA drive is only marginally slower than an M.2 SATA drive, at least in my experience. I am however contemplating buying an M.2 NVMe drive on which I’ll clean install Windows 10 and all the programs that would benefit from the speed increase, such as Movie Studio for video editing and rendering.
NVMe is clearly the fastest SSD you can get, but they are still rather expensive with 500GB drives at around $100 and going over $200 for 1TB, so if budget is a concern, you may want to consider M.2 SATA. I’ll be buying a 500GB NVMe if I can find one at the right price. Samsung’s line of EVO SSDs is highly regarded, but expensive, so I’ll probably opt for a 500GB Western Digital Black which has had excellent reviews and is much cheaper than the Samsung. From what I’ve read, Windows boot times won’t be greatly affected, but I have read reviews stating that video rendering can be cut down from minutes to seconds. I’ll update this post when I’ve finally got my hands on a new NVMe.
- How To Clone To New SSD
- How To – Simple Upgrade To An SSD
- Windows 10 Quick Tips – Prefetch/Superfetch/SSD
- Windows 10 Quick Tips – SSD TRIM