If you think about it, everything you run on your computer is actually stored on your storage. Your games, videos, work files, private stuff, everything. The shiny new game that you just got from Steam, yup, that’s going to your drive. The 2160p60 videos from your holidays? Yup, going to the same drive. So essentially, you interact with the data that is stored on your drive. This makes the storage device one of the most important components to upgrade first to see dramatic improvement of the system.
Choosing a storage drive is extremely simple – Get the fastest one with maximum storage for the cheapest. But when you go out to buy a new storage drive today, you are greeted with so many options that it can get a little bit overwhelming. You have the standard 3.5” hard drives, then comes your 2.5” SSDs, M.2 SSDs, M.2 NVMe SSDs, PCIe NVMe SSDs, and what not…. Which one is right for you?
The choice of 3.5” hard drives is simple. They are mostly limited to 7200RPM at max SATA3 speeds. But the SSD scene is a little complicated.
You have two standards, one is SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) and NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express). SATA is the old and trusted standard that is used by almost all modern hard drives and 2.5” SSDs. The maximum throughput for a SATA connection is support for transfer rates up to 6 Gbps. That’s the max theoretical speeds that a hard drive can reach. Most standard hard drives cannot reach those speeds and even the fastest SATA based SSDs come just shy of that number.
As with all things, technology has to come up with something better. Enter NVMe. See, flash storage is capable of reaching speeds way over the limit of 6Gbps of SATA interface. To bypass this limitation, NVMe was created. It is an open standard that allows flash storage drives to reach their maximum potential. It does this by using the PCIe lanes for communication. PCIe allows for faster connection and better data transfer rates.
Because NVMe is a standard and not a form factor, NVMe SSDs can come in any size and shape. Most common is the M.2 form factor and some exotic ones also come as PCIe card. Is there an advantage to any particular form factor? Yes, there are. For the M.2 drives are smaller and can be installed flat on the motherboard. But this compact form factor is the main con as it can heat up pretty quickly.
The PCIe card SSDs, on the other hand, can be cooled better with active fans or bigger heatsinks but the con is that it will use up one of your PCIe slots. If you have a large system with a big case, ATX motherboard, with ample of cooling, then PCIe SSDs are great. But for compact systems where space is a luxury, you should stick to an M.2 SSD.
So I Should Get an NVMe SSD, Right?
Hold up! Before you move to add that shiny 970 Pro to your cart, let’s clear a few things. Do you really need an NVMe SSD?
The max a SATA SSD can reach is 600MB/s and an NVMe SSD can reach up to 3500MB/s. That’s a big improvement. But are you actually going to see the difference that big in your day to day operations? For an average consumer, the answer is no. For the time being, unless you are moving 100GBs of data every day, there’s no reason to go for an NVMe storage just yet. Even though the SSD prices have dropped significantly in the last couple of years, they are nowhere near the HDDs when it comes to GB per $/₹ (they are getting really close, though).
NVMe is still not mainstream. They are still a part of the elite enthusiast market. And because of it, you pay the premium. No doubt, they can be easily up to 7x fast as a regular SSD but they offer the same performance jump that you’d expect by paying almost 3x to 4x in price.
To conclude – if you are a simple user and mostly use your games for playing games and general media consumption, a standard SATA based SSD is fine. Save some money and get a decent option like the Samsung EVO, or Western Digital Blue. This will save you some cash while still delivering silky smooth performance.
If you are a professional user that deals with reading and writing 100GBs of data every day and saving every millisecond is important for the type of work you do, you should consider an NVMe SSD. You will get the bragging rights and also save get the best possible performance but at a cost.
Still unsure? Then contact us today to pick the right SSD for your Gaming PC in India. With our research-driven and experience, we would suggest you the components that would fulfill your requirements exactly.