SATA SSD vs NVMe SSD: Speed , Storage. Which is Better

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 31 Aug 2021    📁 TECH

Knowing the types of storage you have in your system is very important as it directly impacts the performance of the system. A few years ago, many High-performance systems used to have HDD and at the time it is okay. Only the performance system used to have SSD. But today we do high-end tasks even in day-to-day life and we are indeed in need of high-speed storage devices like SSD.

Not every SSD performance is the same and it depends on the task you perform. Here, we talk about the speed, storage of SATA SSD and NVMe SSD. Also, talk about which would be the best choice for you.

Table of Contents

Before deep dive into types of SSD. Let's look at SSD


SSD stands for Solid State Drive, and it is the successor of HDD. There are lots of advantages of having SSD over HDD.

1. Performance of SSD is better than SSD.

2. Like HDD, SSD does not have movable parts. So, SSD can be moved here and there.No problem.SSD has a better lifespan.

3. As SSD does not have movable parts so, it does not produce noise.

4. Like HDD, SSD is not affected by Magnetism.

5. SSD generates less heat.


SATA stands for Serial ATA introduced in 2003 which is a storage connection interface. It is the replacement of PATA technology.

Why SATA replaced PATA?
1) Maximum Throughput of PATA is just 133 MB/s.
2) PATA cable width is larger than SATA.
3) In PATA, data transfer is parallel but due to cross-talk between lines in the cable decreases the performance and increase in data corruption rate.
4) PATA cable cost more than SATA cable.
5) Power consumption of PATA is more than SATA cable

There is 3 noticeable revision of SATA SSD available as listed below.

  • SATA I: SATA 1.5Gb/s is a first-generation SATA interface running at 1.5 Gb/s. The interface offers up to 150MB/s(ie. 1.5 Gb/s) bandwidth throughput
  • SATA II: SATA 3Gb/s is a second-generation SATA interface running at 3.0 Gb/s. The interface offers up to 300MB/s(ie. 3.0 Gb/s) bandwidth throughput
  • SATA III: SATA 6Gb/s is a third-generation SATA interface running at 6.0 Gb/s. The interface offers up to 600MB/s (ie. 6 Gb/s) bandwidth throughput

Note that Gb and GB are different.GB stands for gigabytes, Gb stands for Gigabits.1 GB = 8 Gb.

SATA II is backward compatible with SATA I. Similarly, SATA III is backward compatible with SATA II and SATA I. If you use SATA III SSD in SATA I interface then you will aspect throughput to be 600MB/s but its throughput will be up to only 150 MB/s.Because here interface we used is SATA I and its maximum throughput is just 150 MB/s

The cable used in all SATA I, II, and III SSD are similar and can be used interchangeably. Note. Performance varies in various types of SATA but not in the cable.

In today's modern desktop computer we found SATA III SSD. And these are generally 2.5 inch SATA SSD. 3.5 inches is also available which is not common. But the connector for both of them is the same.2.5 inch SSD is lighter, smaller, and cheaper than 3.5 inch SSD.


Before discussing NVMe SSD, let's know about M.2 Port and U.2 Port

M.2 Port

There is one interface found directly connected to the motherboard which looks like below. It is attached parallel to the motherboard. This M.2 port/socket support SATA SSD and Some support NVMe SSD but not both. Those SSD which is inserted into M.2 Port are available in various form like

1) 2230 ( 22 mm width and 30 mm length)
2) 2242 ( 22 mm width and 42 mm length)
3) 2260 ( 22 mm width and 60 mm length)
4) 2280 ( 22 mm width and 80 mm length)

types of m.2 ssd
Longer the length, the better the performance, so 2280 performs better than 2260 SSDs.
MSI Motherboard with M.2 Port

If you have an m.2 port then when you look at the back panel of the motherboard you will find mounting of those ports as shown below.

Motherboard supporting M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 2242 SATA SSD


Actually, M.2 SSD is targeting the laptop motherboard because here all peripheral in the laptop is attached in a compact form.M.2 slots use PCIe bus (called as NVMe SSDs) and some M.2 slots use SATA Bus (SATA III SSD).

Under certain configurations, these M.2 slots can be used for Bluetooth, Wifi, USB 3.0 but, it is specially designed for data storage devices.

U.2 Port

U.2 is applied for NVMe SSDs in 2.5-inch format. Initially, this interface is called SFF-8639. It uses PCI Express U.2 port.
This port is opened to the external world and you can plug 2.5-inch SDD on it.U.2  has a higher storage capacity than M.2.It is a double-decker connector and has a similar double-decker cable connected to it and SSD.

u.2 port
Fig. U.2 Port (source)
M.2 Port U.2 Port
Not designed for hot-pluggable  Designed for hot-pluggable.
Less Storage Capacity  Comparatively high Storage Capacity
Have to connect SDD directly into M.2 Port Can use the cable to connect SSD externally.
similar or lesser speeds Comparatively same or higher speeds
Used for high-performance laptops for desktop and offices,
gaming PCs
Used for enterprise use like in data centers and gaming Pcs.
Popular in use in latest motherboard  Not widely used.
Comparatively less heat dissipation occurs. As SSD is located outside the casing so better heat dissipation.

M.2 SATA III SSD vs General SATA 3 SSD
Their transmission speed is the same ie 600 MB/s.M.2 SATA SSD is smaller than SATA 3 SSD. SATA 3 SSD uses SATA cable and SATA bus for data transfer. M.2 SATA-3 SSD does not use any cable but directly uses the SATA bus.

So, go with M.2 SATA SSD, if performance, physical space is your top priority.

What to do if no M.2 Slot?
Ans: You can buy PCIe M.2 adaptor and attached it in a PCIe slot like you installed any other peripheral and on that adaptor attached M.2 SSD.


NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express is an interface protocol specially designed for SSDs.They use PCIe buses for data transfer. Some of the PCIe versions in the motherboard: PCI-E X16, X8, X4, and X1, etc.NVMe SSD uses PCIe X4 SSD.

PCIe is having a very high data transfer rate because data send/receive from/to is directly connected to the CPU.PCIe can provide more bandwidth via fast signaling and multiple lanes. Whereas data transfer by SATA bus is not connected directly to CPU, first data is sent to RAM then to CPU.So, due to direct connection to CPU, SSD based on PCIe (ie. NVME SSD) performs better than SATA-based SSD.

Overall comparison of SATA SSD and NVMe SSD are given below

SSD Read Speed Write Speed
SATA 1.0 150 MB/s 150 MB/s
SATA 2.0  300 MB/s 300 MB/s
SATA 3.0  600 MB/s 600 MB/s
SATA M.2 600 MB/s 600 MB/s
NVMe M.2 + PCIe 3.0 X4 3500 MB/s 3100 MB/s
NVMe M.2 + PCIe 4.0 X4 4950 MB/s 4250 MB/s


Here, I will point out these different types of SSD on the basis of Key.

There is more chance that every laptop, phone, and tablet you buy will already have or will have soon NVMe Options. Also, the cost of NVMe is getting down and capacity is going up due to rapid progress in technology.

Note that. M.2 is a physical interface but NVMe is a logical interface, it does not have an interface that you can see like M.2. NVMe is currently the fastest logical interface technology used for data transfer in the disk drive industry.

How to Check if your System has NVMe or SATA SSD?

1 Using Inbuilt OS feature

In Windows System, go to Run and type devmgmt.msc and press enter. Then under disk drive, you will get your drive. Just copy the drive model. In my case: "Drive Model: INTEL SSDPEKNW512G8" and then just search it on the web and will get your drive information from the official site.

2 Using Third-Party Software

We can easily check whether the System is having SATA Controller or NVMe Controller by using third-party software like HWinFo.

Here, we can clearly see that my system is having NVMe Controller as shown below.

check Drive Controller Type

If you have SATA, then will have Drive Controller: Serial ATA.

Which SSD to Buy?

For buying SSD consider the following factors.

1. Speed: If you want an extremely fast SSD then buy NVMe SSD.

2. Cost: If you have a sufficient budget buy NVMe SSD. If you are under budget then go with SATA SSD. If you have much less budget then only go with HDD.

If you want fast speed SSD under less Cost then go with M.2 SATA SSD. M.2 SATA SSD are not fast as NVMe SSD but it's OKay to use them.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What Supports NVMe?

Ans: Older motherboard does not support NVMe.Older BIOS does not recognize it.

2. Can we replace SATA HDD with M.2 SSD?

Ans: No, their port and socket configuration is different.

3. Can we replace bulk SATA SSD with a 2.5 inch SATA HDD?

Ans: Yes you can. They both use SATA and their configuration are the same as shown below.

2.5 inchs sata ssd compatible with sata hdd
2.5 inches SATA SSD compatible with SATA HDD
4. Is mSATA and M.2 SATA same?

Ans: No, they are different.

5 Is SATA or NVMe better for gaming?

Ans: For gaming purposes, NVMe is better than SSD.NVMe SSD significantly increases the performance of the games.

6 What are SSD Form Factors?

  • M.2
  • U.2