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L'Ancien Regime

Choosing a hard drive; why M.2 NVMe SSD is the way to go

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Maybe you already know all this; I knew that the M2 was a great new form factor but I'm just realizing how insanely fast it is.

https://www.pcworld.com/article/2899351/storage/everything-you-need-to-know-about-nvme.html

There’s a reason why we still have SATA SSDs and NVMe SSDs. Knowing the potential of memory-based SSDs, it was clear that a new bus and protocol would eventually be needed. But the first SSDs were relatively slow, so it proved far more convenient to use the existing SATA storage infrastructure.

Though the SATA bus has evolved to 16Gbps as of version 3.3, nearly all commercial implementations remain 6Gbps (roughly 550MBps after overhead). Even version 3.3 is far slower slower than what today’s SSD technology is capable of, especially in RAID configurations.

For the next step, it was decided to leverage a much higher-bandwidth bus technology that was also already in place—PCI Express, or PCIe. PCIe is the underlying data transport layer for graphics and other add-in cards. As of gen 3.x, it offers multiple lanes (up to 16 in most PCs) that handle darn near 1GBps each (985MBps).

PCIe is also the foundation for the Thunderbolt interface, which is starting to pay dividends with external graphics cards for gaming, as well as external NVMe storage, which is nearly as fast as internal NVMe. Intel’s refusal to let Thunderbolt die was a very good thing, as many users are starting to discover.

Of course, PCIe storage predates NVMe by quite a few years. But previous solutions were hamstrung by older data transfer protocols such as SATA, SCSI, and AHCI, which were all developed when the hard drive was still the apex of storage technology. NVMe removes their constraints by offering low-latency commands, and multiple queues—up to 64K of them. The latter is particularly effective because data is written to SSDs in shotgun fashion, scattered about the chips and blocks, rather than contiguously in circles as on a hard drive. 

The NVMe standard has continued to evolve to the present version 1.31 with the addition of such features as the ability to use part of your computer’s system memory as a cache. We’ve already seen it with the supercheap Toshiba RC100 we recently reviewed, which forgoes that onboard DRAM cache that most NVMe drives use, but still performs well enough to give your system that NVMe kick (for everyday chores). 

 

 

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This ASRock Fatality X399 motherboard has three slots for the M2.

https://www.vuugo.com/asrock-motherboards-FATAL1TY-X399-PROFESSIONAL-GAMING.html

- 2 x Ultra M.2 Sockets (M2_1 and M2_2), support M Key type 2242/2260/2280 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32 Gb/s)*
- 1 x Ultra M.2 Socket (M2_3), supports M Key type 2230/2242/2260/2280 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32 Gb/s)*

 

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Yea, NVMe drives being significantly faster then SATA based drives is well known. However it doesn't matter that much since SSD speeds are not a serious bottleneck to overall system performance. You'll only really benefit from NVMe tech with very specific workloads (such as constantly reading/writing huge numbers of files, or maybe if using the drive as a scratch disc for certain programs).

If your system supports NVMe storage and it doesn't cost much more then a SATA drive you might as well get one, but don't expect an overall user experience improvement similar to the jump between a mechanical HDD to a SATA SSD.

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So I just bought the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB from NewEgg.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=SAMSUNG+970+EVO+PLUS+M.2+2280+1TB&N=-1&isNodeId=1

 

It came to $349 Cdn from NewEgg and free postage.  That was almost a $50 saving from the price at Amazon.ca

 

Some facts I picked up on my shopping forays for this item;

 

1. The larger the storage capacity of an M2 device, the longer it lasts. A 1TB M2 lasts twice as long as a 500MB M2 drive.

2. Samsung EVO Plus > Samsung EVO Pro. The Plus is the more recent model with superior stats. Bascially it's faster.

 

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8 hours ago, L'Ancien Regime said:

So I just bought the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB from NewEgg.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=SAMSUNG+970+EVO+PLUS+M.2+2280+1TB&N=-1&isNodeId=1

 

It came to $349 Cdn from NewEgg and free postage.  That was almost a $50 saving from the price at Amazon.ca

 

Some facts I picked up on my shopping forays for this item;

 

1. The larger the storage capacity of an M2 device, the longer it lasts. A 1TB M2 lasts twice as long as a 500MB M2 drive.

2. Samsung EVO Plus > Samsung EVO Pro. The Plus is the more recent model with superior stats. Bascially it's faster.

 

I haven't yet gone to an M.2 NVME drive because on paper, it's supposed to be much, much faster than SSD's. But in real world scenarios, I have yet to see clear justification for spending the extra money. They've come down quite a bit, but SSD's have performed pretty well so far.

 

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We got 2 comps with NVM, Samsung.  They broke at 2 months.

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Both just stop working, data erased and clean as first day, lol.

That's why we migrated to hdd and optane. For now performance is decent.

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19 hours ago, L'Ancien Regime said:

The other benefit of the M2 NVME is less wires and cables to manage. It's a cleaner build.

 

I understand that, but I'm not spending $300-$500 just to have a cleaner build and maybe 1-2 seconds faster boot or app loading times. Once I see real world examples of M.2 NVME drives blistering everything else, I will switch, but I just haven't seen enough reason to spend the extra $$$. I think it would be just as fast to get 2 x 1TB SSDs > put them in RAID 0 and use that for a main drive. Not on paper, but in real world usage.

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