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What would justify an M.2 NVMe drive?

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-Ice

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
I'm hoping to "retire" my old Crucial M4 and was thinking of getting either another SSD or an M.2 NVMe for an OS drive. I currently also have a Samsung 850 250GB for games and have short-stroked two 1TB HDDs for other games and use the rest of the drive for storage. I do a little photo editing and would like to do some videos later on once I learn how to do it, but aside from Photoshop and the occasional MS Office work, I usually use my PC for gaming.

I've got a strong hunch that most people here would not recommend getting an M.2 NVMe drive since SATA SSDs aren't really being pushed to the limit that often, so what programs or applications would justify buying an M.2 NVMe drive?

I'm guessing for boot times and program startups, an M.2 NVMe would not make much difference compared to a SATA SSD, correct? Same thing for game loading times?
 

Bluefalcon13

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
One of the factors for me is space: my case fits 2 2.5 inch disks, and 2 3.5 inch disks. I used to run one 2.5 inch SSD for windows, and one for Linux, but I find my games are starting to exceed the drive space I have for windows, and my two storage drives(3.5 inch disks) for other junk is only for data storage. I'm interested in moving my windows install to nvme for boot time purposes, and keep my steam games on my Sammy 830. That leaves my other 2.5 inch slot for my Linux purposes :)

 

caddi daddi

Godzilla to ant hills
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
you also have to look at what you might have to give up to run an m2 nvme, in my 4790K rigs I don't have enough pcie lanes to run sli and nvme.
for what I do it pays to run the os and software on the nvme and then only if I run two ssd's as scratch drives in raid for speed.
 

bruceGH4

Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2017
Location
North Vancouver
Future proof. I just installed a Samsung 960 pro 512gb m.2 as the price recently dropped (I assume recent shipment of cards from Korea, my card dated Feb 2017.)
Easily installed as my boot drive on asus x99 a ii board. Windows 10 boots instantly. The bios takes forever.
 

DeclaredSnow

Registered
Joined
Mar 8, 2017
Location
OSLO, NORWAY
Hey, I went from a Samsung EVO 840 SSD to an Samsung EVO 960 M.2. ( I also have one dated @ 2017 01., it took several months to arrive hence the HD shortage). Anyway, as I do not see much of an improvement on my OS and day to day tasks, I do feel that some games load faster, this might be wrong, since I never took a time stamp test, but then again it should since the 960 should be about 5 times faster in theory. now, I believe that it depends on what you are sending trough it, and I am sure something has to bottleneck the performance.

The only reason I got a M.2 is mainly because I could and that its cool to have, now keep in mind, that with my ASUS PRO board I had to disable one SATA lane for the M.2 slot to operate. so if you have used all your lanes, and thinking that solving that running a M.2, you might not be able to do that. Keep in mind that I am fresh to the M.2 SSD trend, and that I only did a read up on my own hardware.

IMHO, unless you often are moving huge loads of data, a standard SSD might as well do the job just fine.

I could also see that heat, might be some issue to some systems, since the M.2`s self cooling is limited and it sits on the board, instead of hidden away in a BAY where most people have fans anyway.

that said, I am Happy with my 960, but again, I got it mostly for the "I got it because I could" factor.
 

bruceGH4

Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2017
Location
North Vancouver
Hey, I went from a Samsung EVO 840 SSD to an Samsung EVO 960 M.2. ( I also have one dated @ 2017 01., it took several months to arrive hence the HD shortage). Anyway, as I do not see much of an improvement on my OS and day to day tasks, I do feel that some games load faster, this might be wrong, since I never took a time stamp test, but then again it should since the 960 should be about 5 times faster in theory. now, I believe that it depends on what you are sending trough it, and I am sure something has to bottleneck the performance.

The only reason I got a M.2 is mainly because I could and that its cool to have, now keep in mind, that with my ASUS PRO board I had to disable one SATA lane for the M.2 slot to operate. so if you have used all your lanes, and thinking that solving that running a M.2, you might not be able to do that. Keep in mind that I am fresh to the M.2 SSD trend, and that I only did a read up on my own hardware.

IMHO, unless you often are moving huge loads of data, a standard SSD might as well do the job just fine.

I could also see that heat, might be some issue to some systems, since the M.2`s self cooling is limited and it sits on the board, instead of hidden away in a BAY where most people have fans anyway.

that said, I am Happy with my 960, but again, I got it mostly for the "I got it because I could" factor.

Hi DeclaredSnow,

It sounds to me like you might be running your m.2 card on sata as opposed to NVMe. The difference is 500mbs vs. 2500-3500 mbs. You would notice a marked improvement. I have read that not all m.2 slots can use NVMe. And if it can, it might not set up automatically.
 

custom90gt

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Hi DeclaredSnow,

It sounds to me like you might be running your m.2 card on sata as opposed to NVMe. The difference is 500mbs vs. 2500-3500 mbs. You would notice a marked improvement. I have read that not all m.2 slots can use NVMe. And if it can, it might not set up automatically.

It's not surprising that DeclaredSnow wouldn't notice any real world differences. The numbers on NVMe drives are great but it typically doesn't translate to real world differences unless you are constantly doing things that need massive amounts of throughput. In my XPS doing every day stuff I don't notice a difference in any of the drives that I've had in it (cheap 512gb micron sata m.2, 512gb PM951, 512GB SM951, 512GB 950 Pro, 1TB PM961). Mostly I just like to test drives and save benchmark screenshots, lol...

*on edit* also m.2 slots are keyed differently. If his board only supported sata than the key placement would not allow a NVMe (like a 960 pro) m.2 card to be inserted. You can run a sata m.2 card in a slot that supports nvme though. I don't recall what the keys are called, M and B or something like that, but I'm too lazy to look it up...
 

DeclaredSnow

Registered
Joined
Mar 8, 2017
Location
OSLO, NORWAY
Hi DeclaredSnow,

It sounds to me like you might be running your m.2 card on sata as opposed to NVMe. The difference is 500mbs vs. 2500-3500 mbs. You would notice a marked improvement. I have read that not all m.2 slots can use NVMe. And if it can, it might not set up automatically.

Hello sir, no worries, last bench i did was at the 2k mbs. I am just saying that i dont see a difference in boot time, and normal usage. ( my system loaded in like 10sec anyway before the m.2, so yeah), On pure loads of reading yeah ofc its a huge difference but like its easy to bottlenecks a storage like this, u kind of like have to move between two m.2s, or work with massive files.
 

Tyerker

Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
I have found my m.2 boots significantly faster, and the games I have installed on it are the larger scale games (GTA V, Skyrim, Fallout 4, etc) and the load times are very reasonable. I have noticed a couple additional looping sound crashes with CS:GO on this drive, but I can chalk that up to software just as easily.
 

bruceGH4

Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2017
Location
North Vancouver
sata vs pcle

Hello sir, no worries, last bench i did was at the 2k mbs. I am just saying that i dont see a difference in boot time, and normal usage. ( my system loaded in like 10sec anyway before the m.2, so yeah), On pure loads of reading yeah ofc its a huge difference but like its easy to bottlenecks a storage like this, u kind of like have to move between two m.2s, or work with massive files.

On your mobo you only have to disable a sata port if you are running your m.2 card on sata. At 2000mbs sounds like you are on pcle, so you can get your sata port back.
 

DeclaredSnow

Registered
Joined
Mar 8, 2017
Location
OSLO, NORWAY
On your mobo you only have to disable a sata port if you are running your m.2 card on sata. At 2000mbs sounds like you are on pcle, so you can get your sata port back.

did not know that, when I configured the M.2 I had to change some settings, my MOBA manual said that I had to disable sata6-1, although it was vague on the matter, but what you say makes sense since its not using the sata anyway, I have done two tests on that Samsung 960 m.2. first time it was around 1k mbs, ( the card was emty then, when I ran my os + + on it it benched at 2k. its anyway over the 500 mark so I know its not on the sata, but could it be true that the ssd needs time to hit max speed? like that doesn't make much sence since there are no moving parts, but yeah its a bit strange that it wont bench at its 3200 max speed.

I am hoping that mass effect Andromeda has some intense loading, that way I can do some loading time tests on a 7200rpm HD. a ssd and the M.2, just for fun.
 
OP
I

-Ice

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
Thanks for the feedback guys! The fact that there isn't a strong recommendation to go for an M.2 NVMe drive I think is enough reason to skip it for now. I've considered the "future proof" reason, but also realized that by the time that "future" rolls around, it would be easy to get an NVMe drive and would probably be cheaper too!

An interesting video about load times:
link


As I don't really do much file transfers or any of those things NVMe is good at, I guess that pretty much nails it down for me. Thanks for helping me come to this conclusion!
 

Brando

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2006
it's nice not having any cables coming from it or having to take up any space in the case. after using it awhile i'm not 100% sure if the speed is placebo or not. it's more of a convenient form factor. it is faster for sure but most of the time when doing an average task there's some either some other component you end up waiting for to catch up or you're limited by internet bandwidth. i'm still glad i got it but they should be cheaper than ssd's since they have almost no physical material and weigh nothing.
 

deathman20

High Speed Premium Senior
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
i'm still glad i got it but they should be cheaper than ssd's since they have almost no physical material and weigh nothing.

That would be nice if it was cheaper but we all know that's not how it works. Smaller might mean more complex = more money. Since its relatively new it means R&D $$ tagged on it to make them even more I bet.
Overall the price on them will drop, they will become more default for PC's. Laptops are already seeing them used as primary drives or the only option for drives in smaller ultrabooks.

And boot time for games and applications yeah its going to be minimal/non existent as even the video linked above. While it is faster, up wards of 4-5x quicker than SSD's, typically that extra speed isn't used unless your compressing something, copying vast amount of data from a source that can do the speeds as well, or well im sure there is other reasons.

Me personally I'd love to get one and looking into the possibility of dropping one in my computer. Will it happen, time will tell but it is an interesting toy to add to the PC.
 

caddi daddi

Godzilla to ant hills
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
the only "real" advantage to most users of nvme over an ssd is boot and load times, it will do nothing for the internets or most anything else.
I have one game it helps over even and hdd and that's because this game likes to go back to the drive and not load into ram for some reason.
I have nvme and ssd's for the BAM, BANG boot times and the blingy lingly for the most part.
my work rig, well, the nvme and two ssd'd in raid make that much faster.
 
OP
I

-Ice

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
Even the advantage of boot time doesn't warrant the price increase IMHO. Here in the UK, I could get a 250GB NVMe drive for around £100 (Samsung PM961) or £145 (Samsung 960 Evo) or I could add £15 for a total of £160 and get a Samsung 850Evo SSD at 500GB capacity. If space was the consideration, a 250GB M.2 SATA Samsung 850 EVO is £92 (SSD version is £95, so M.2 is cheaper!!) while a 525GB M.2 Cruicial MX300 is £138 (SSD version is £145).

A few seconds faster boot times isn't noticeable unless you're fighting for your life or you've got a stopwatch with you... but that extra 250GB of drive space sure is a big difference! Interestingly, I think the question now is why buy an SSD when an M.2 SATA drive is cheaper!
 

Brando

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2006
That would be nice if it was cheaper but we all know that's not how it works. Smaller might mean more complex = more money. Since its relatively new it means R&D $$ tagged on it to make them even more I bet.
Overall the price on them will drop, they will become more default for PC's. Laptops are already seeing them used as primary drives or the only option for drives in smaller ultrabooks.

And boot time for games and applications yeah its going to be minimal/non existent as even the video linked above. While it is faster, up wards of 4-5x quicker than SSD's, typically that extra speed isn't used unless your compressing something, copying vast amount of data from a source that can do the speeds as well, or well im sure there is other reasons.

Me personally I'd love to get one and looking into the possibility of dropping one in my computer. Will it happen, time will tell but it is an interesting toy to add to the PC.

it seems to me that they're just selling you an ssd's internals and making you pay for the rest of it as part of your motherboard. i know the controller is pretty fast but what is it really. it's the same stuff the rest of the pc is made of but way more $ per weight. i say they should be under $100 including r & d. i'm not saying all that is true. it's just how i FEEL:screwy:
 

Robert17

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2011
All new Anythings get priced to include the R&D Recapture Bonus, along with the Early Adopter Bonus.