Question SATA vs PCI for SSD

Apr 11, 2021
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I want to replace my PC's 1Tb second drive with an SSD to speed up photo storage. My PCI-E Gen 3 x16 has a GPU installed which leaves a PCI-E Gen 2 x4 as the next fastest. Am I better off using the PCI slot or the SATA III interface for speed? Or will it not make any difference? Thanks.
 

velocityg4

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PCI-e 2.0 x4 is still much faster than SATA III, 2000MB/s vs 500MB/s. Also you'll have the advantages of NVMe over AHCI. Namely far higher IOPS. So, while PCIe 2.0 may limit the top speed of the SSD. It'll still be better than anything SATA can produce.
 
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Bob.B

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I want to replace my PC's 1Tb second drive with an SSD to speed up photo storage. My PCI-E Gen 3 x16 has a GPU installed which leaves a PCI-E Gen 2 x4 as the next fastest. Am I better off using the PCI slot or the SATA III interface for speed? Or will it not make any difference? Thanks.
You will see the difference using benchmarks.
In the real world.....not much.
 

USAFRet

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I want to replace my PC's 1Tb second drive with an SSD to speed up photo storage. My PCI-E Gen 3 x16 has a GPU installed which leaves a PCI-E Gen 2 x4 as the next fastest. Am I better off using the PCI slot or the SATA III interface for speed? Or will it not make any difference? Thanks.
In my personal use of Lightroom, Paintshop Pro, Photoshop, GIMP...
I literally cannot tell the difference between an Intel 660p (PCIe slot adapter) and a Samsung 860/850 EVO SATA III.
Timed and tested. Not just "feel".


There are multiple other things going on besides the raw drive speed.

What are the rest of the parts in this system?
 

Endre

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I want to replace my PC's 1Tb second drive with an SSD to speed up photo storage. My PCI-E Gen 3 x16 has a GPU installed which leaves a PCI-E Gen 2 x4 as the next fastest. Am I better off using the PCI slot or the SATA III interface for speed? Or will it not make any difference? Thanks.
PCIe 2.0 vs SATA3?
PCIe will be the better choice.

But you must be aware of these 3 aspects:

1. The M.2 drive that you’ll use must be an NVMe one to run at PCIe speed! (There are M.2 SSDs that use SATA protocol).

2. SSDs are slower than they seem, but they use fast LPDDR or SLC cache to bump the transfer speed of files. The bigger the cache, the better! (Generally, larger SSDs have larger cache size).

3. The NAND flash that’s in the SSD is extremely important!
The main NAND options are:
•SLC (1-bit/cell): Very fast, durable, very expensive, hard to find.
•MLC (2-bit/cell): Fast enough, durable enough, not quite cheap.
•TLC (3-bit/cell): Not very fast, not very durable, cheap, very common.
•QLC (4-bit/cell): Slow, not durable, very cheap.
•PLC (5-bit/cell): Extremely slow, very low durability, extremely cheap.

PS: I hope that these infos help!
 

sonofjesse

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Basically everything is moving to TLC, even the 980 PRO. Its not all doom and gloom though.

I have great luck with lightroom on SSD's and NVME drives.

If your motherboard has an M2 slot, I would just slip in a decent NVME. Any NVME drive is going to be faster than an old spinning disk.

Just get a decent one read/write speeds over 2,000 and you will be good to go. Lots of great choices in this price point.
 

USAFRet

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to speed up photo storage

What exactly do you mean by this?
Excellent question.

In my use with Lightroom...
Taking the same set of RAW files from my camera, applying multiple edits, writing PNG or jpg out to a drive.
Takes the same amount of time, writing to either a 860 EVO, 6 year old 840 EVO, or Intel 660p.
(controlled conditions, files never seen before, rebooting between each iteration - 15 secs is 15 secs)

Copying files from the camera into a drive...the SD card in the camera and the USB interface has MUCH more impact than SSD types, or even copying from the camera across the LAN to my NAS and its HDDs.
 
Apr 11, 2021
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to speed up photo storage

What exactly do you mean by this?
I have a large catalog of images in Lightroom and it takes a while to load and to do anything else that requires write/reads. LR is notoriously slow anyway and may well be the bottleneck, but I am exploring whether a faster SSD would be worth having in place of my 5yr-old Seagate Barracuda which at 143 MB/s is about half the sequential speed of my (not particularly fast) C: drive SSD and 1/20th speed for random r/w.
 
Apr 11, 2021
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In my personal use of Lightroom, Paintshop Pro, Photoshop, GIMP...
I literally cannot tell the difference between an Intel 660p (PCIe slot adapter) and a Samsung 860/850 EVO SATA III.
Timed and tested. Not just "feel".


There are multiple other things going on besides the raw drive speed.

What are the rest of the parts in this system?
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1271 v3
GPU: Nvidia Quadro K2200
SSD: Liteonit LAT-256M2S 256GB
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB (2016)
16Gb RAM
Windows 10

The GPU could do with being updated
 

USAFRet

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I have a large catalog of images in Lightroom and it takes a while to load and to do anything else that requires write/reads. LR is notoriously slow anyway and may well be the bottleneck, but I am exploring whether a faster SSD would be worth having in place of my 5yr-old Seagate Barracuda which at 143 MB/s is about half the sequential speed of my (not particularly fast) C: drive SSD and 1/20th speed for random r/w.
That is FAR more influenced by the rest of the system. CPU and RAM, vs SATA III SSD vs NVMe SSD.

Several years ago:
Changing from i5-3570k/16GB RAM to i7-4790k/32GB RAM resulted in 50% faster pic import and Library reading.

Within the same CPU/RAM (the i7, etc)....bringing up a Library on the SATA III SSD vs NVMe SSD is basically zero difference.
 

USAFRet

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CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1271 v3
GPU: Nvidia Quadro K2200
SSD: Liteonit LAT-256M2S 256GB
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB (2016)
16Gb RAM
Windows 10

The GPU could do with being updated
Yes, you need an SSD to hold that data.
And more RAM.
SATA III SSD vs NVMe, not much difference.

If you can get a good quality NVMe for the same price/GB as SATA III, then do that. But don't give up size for NVMe. And don't get a crappy NVMe.
 
Apr 11, 2021
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PCIe 2.0 vs SATA3?
PCIe will be the better choice.

But you must be aware of these 3 aspects:

1. The M.2 drive that you’ll use must be an NVMe one to run at PCIe speed! (There are M.2 SSDs that use SATA protocol).

2. SSDs are slower than they seem, but they use fast LPDDR or SLC cache to bump the transfer speed of files. The bigger the cache, the better! (Generally, larger SSDs have larger cache size).

3. The NAND flash that’s in the SSD is extremely important!
The main NAND options are:
•SLC (1-bit/cell): Very fast, durable, very expensive, hard to find.
•MLC (2-bit/cell): Fast enough, durable enough, not quite cheap.
•TLC (3-bit/cell): Not very fast, not very durable, cheap, very common.
•QLC (4-bit/cell): Slow, not durable, very cheap.
•PLC (5-bit/cell): Extremely slow, very low durability, extremely cheap.

PS: I hope that these infos help!
Thanks. Can a drive described as PCIe 3.0 be put in a PCIe 2.0 (x4) slot ? i.e. 1TB Crucial P2 M.2 (22x80) PCIe 3.0 (x4) NVMe SSD, 3D NAND, Read 2400MB/s, Write 1800MB/s. And presumably I'd need an M.2 to PCIe adaptor? i.e. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sabrent-NVMe-PCIe-aluminum-EC-PCIE/dp/B084GDY2PW
 

Zerk2012

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I have a large catalog of images in Lightroom and it takes a while to load and to do anything else that requires write/reads. LR is notoriously slow anyway and may well be the bottleneck, but I am exploring whether a faster SSD would be worth having in place of my 5yr-old Seagate Barracuda which at 143 MB/s is about half the sequential speed of my (not particularly fast) C: drive SSD and 1/20th speed for random r/w.
Max # of PCI Express Lanes 16

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/80908/intel-xeon-processor-e3-1271-v3-8m-cache-3-60-ghz.html

To me this would eliminate a PCI-E adapter to use a M.2 drive.

Buy a SATA SSD, open task manager when your doing your thing and monitor your memory usage.
Adding the SSD and possibly more memory (EDIT depending if your about maxed out) could be your best bet for better performance with the parts your using.
 
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Endre

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Thanks. Can a drive described as PCIe 3.0 be put in a PCIe 2.0 (x4) slot ? i.e. 1TB Crucial P2 M.2 (22x80) PCIe 3.0 (x4) NVMe SSD, 3D NAND, Read 2400MB/s, Write 1800MB/s. And presumably I'd need an M.2 to PCIe adaptor? i.e. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sabrent-NVMe-PCIe-aluminum-EC-PCIE/dp/B084GDY2PW
Yes, it can.
PCIe standards are backwards compatible.
However, the sequential speeds of the drive will be impacted a little bit.
But that will only matter when doing benchmarks.
You won’t really see the differences in “real world” applications.
 
Apr 11, 2021
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Max # of PCI Express Lanes 16

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/80908/intel-xeon-processor-e3-1271-v3-8m-cache-3-60-ghz.html

To me this would eliminate a PCI-E adapter to use a M.2 drive.

Buy a SATA SSD, open task manager when your doing your thing and monitor your memory usage.
Adding the SSD and possibly more memory (EDIT depending if your about maxed out) could be your best bet for better performance with the parts your using.
Sorry, when you say 'to me this would eliminate a PCI-E adapter to use a M.2 drive' what do you mean? It wouldn't work? Why would the CPU affect this? Thanks!
 

Bob.B

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Sorry, when you say 'to me this would eliminate a PCI-E adapter to use a M.2 drive' what do you mean? It wouldn't work? Why would the CPU affect this? Thanks!
It will work but your gpu and the m.2 might have a fight to get room on the pcie bus.

Give some thought to keeping this simple and getting a 2.5 sata ssd.

Connect it to a sata 3 port and good to go.
 

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