There is no denying that the world of computer storage has evolved a lot. To a point that you are no longer limited to just a single type of storage. With flash storage evolving to a point that SSDs have finally become mainstream, it is always better that you are fully aware of what is available and what is not.
However, SSDs are not just of a single kind anymore; the eventual evolution saw SSDs from giving good speeds to blazing-fast speeds, and if I am correct, this evolution has just started, and with new standards coming in the future, the speeds are going to increase even more.
Now, making the right decision would have been a lot easier, but it is important to understand that SSDs are available in several different types that perform differently, have cost differences, and look a lot different, too. While a well-versed PC builder is not going to have a lot of issues in the process. However, if you are new to this whole scenario, things can be complicated for you.
That is why we are going to talk about a few differences between the SATA and PCI Express SSDs.
How do SATA and PCI Express SSDs Differ?
There are several ways through which these SSDs differ from one and the other, and that is what we are going to do here. We are going to make things easier for you to understand, so, when you are in the process of choosing one, you don’t have any issues that might come your way. After all, that is the last thing we want, in the first place.
SATA based SSDs, as the name suggests are older as compared to the PCI Express options. They are most commonly available in a 2.5-inch form factor that we normally see for laptop hard drives. These SSDs have maximum speeds of 550 MB/s and are the cheapest options that are available.
However, since SATA itself is an interface rather than the form factor, you can also find these SSDs available in M.2 form factor, which are a bit more expensive, but still offer the same speeds. But they plug directly into your M.2 slots on your motherboard.
As far as PCI Express SSDs are concerned, the most common form factor for these SSDs is M.2, these are more expensive, and faster with the latest PCI Express 4.0 SSDs achieving speeds as high as 7,000 MB/s, and it is only going to get better as the technology improves.
The other form factor is the standard PCI Express card form factor that we have seen in sound cards as well as modems. These SSDs plug directly onto the PCI Express slot on your motherboard, and in terms of speeds they are similar, and the pricing is almost the same, too.
Another way that both of these drives are different from one and the other is speed. I still remember the first time I installed a SATA SSD on my PC and felt like I cannot experience faster speeds, but that was all until I tried out a PCI Express SSD when I realized what true speed feels like.
With that said, SATA based SSDs are surely fast, but they achieve the maximum speed of 550 MB/s, that’s due to the limitations of SATA SSDs. Achieving higher speeds at this point is largely impossible.
As far as the PCI Express SSDs are concerned, if we are talking Gen3 SSDs, then you can get speeds as high as 3,500 MB/s. However, with the recent release of PCI Express Gen4, speeds can go as high as 7,000 MB/s, and we are looking at even better speeds with the next generation of PCI Express.
However, the PCI Express-based SSDs are comparatively more expensive and will require modern hardware to properly run and you cannot just choose something random because that is not going to work for anyone, in the process.
Simply put, if you are looking for the fastest option that is available for you to check out, going for the PCI Express-based SSDs is going to make more sense as these are better in every sense of the way, even if they cost more.