Question Upgrading m2 SATA to NVMe - is it worth it?

Jul 31, 2021
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My current boot drive (Windows 10 Pro 64bit) is ADATA SU650 m2 SATA 240GB (su650ns38). Motherboard is Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3, Intel Pentium G4400, 8GB DDR4 Hyperx Fury single channel.

I wonder if upgrading to a NVMe m2 SSD would significantly improve system performance (apps loading, drive access etc)?

I tested my m2 drive and below are the results. As far as I saw on different forums/comments, m2 NVMe SSDs are at least double in performance than my drive. Of course, many of those posts are incomplete regarding the system that hosted that m2 drive.

Is my CPU/chipset a bottleneck for a NVMe m2 drive?
No matter what m2 NVMe drive I chose there will be no real benefit?

I found many unused medium performance m2 NVMe drives on second-hand market in my country, like Samsung EVO 970 Plus, ADATA SX8200 Pro, ADATA S40G, Sabrent Rocket Q, WD Black SN750, that have very good prices. It would make a difference if I chose one of these but not the cheaper ones?



 
I wonder if upgrading to a NVMe m2 SSD would significantly improve system performance (apps loading, drive access etc)?
Not by much. Loading times would improve.
For example, if currently your system boots up in 10s, then with nvme drive it would be like 8s. Doesn't really make any difference.
Is my CPU/chipset a bottleneck for a NVMe m2 drive?
No.
No matter what m2 NVMe drive I chose there will be no real benefit?
More or less so.
I found many unused medium performance m2 NVMe drives on second-hand market in my country, like Samsung EVO 970 Plus, ADATA SX8200 Pro, ADATA S40G, Sabrent Rocket Q, WD Black SN750, that have very good prices.
I'd strongly advise against getting used SSDs. They would have reduced lifetime. Write cycles on SSD are limited.
 
Jul 31, 2021
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I'd strongly advise against getting used SSDs. They would have reduced lifetime. Write cycles on SSD are limited.
Thanks for all your answers. I'm adding just this: I found NVMe me drives on second hand market but they are sealed, unused. Of course there are many items that are used (more or less) but some of these have 0 hours and 0 TB transferred.

Oh, my system boots in about 2 and a half minutes. I don't know why but I think it would be a pain to refresh Windows, I have many apps that I use and many customized settings that I really don't know how to migrate.
 

Bob.B

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My current boot drive (Windows 10 Pro 64bit) is ADATA SU650 m2 SATA 240GB (su650ns38). Motherboard is Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3, Intel Pentium G4400, 8GB DDR4 Hyperx Fury single channel.

I wonder if upgrading to a NVMe m2 SSD would significantly improve system performance (apps loading, drive access etc)?

I tested my m2 drive and below are the results. As far as I saw on different forums/comments, m2 NVMe SSDs are at least double in performance than my drive. Of course, many of those posts are incomplete regarding the system that hosted that m2 drive.

Is my CPU/chipset a bottleneck for a NVMe m2 drive?
No matter what m2 NVMe drive I chose there will be no real benefit?

I found many unused medium performance m2 NVMe drives on second-hand market in my country, like Samsung EVO 970 Plus, ADATA SX8200 Pro, ADATA S40G, Sabrent Rocket Q, WD Black SN750, that have very good prices. It would make a difference if I chose one of these but not the cheaper ones?



Don't waste your money.
For most users you would need to look very hard to see a perf bump.
If you want to spend some bucks bump the ram to dual channel.
 
Jul 31, 2021
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Don't waste your money.
For most users you would need to look very hard to see a perf bump.
If you want to spend some bucks bump the ram to dual channel.
Look at these measurements below, they are from a cheap ADATA Swordfish 500GB. Aren't these waaay better than my drive (uploaded abone in the initial post)? I think they are. And please, don't tell me these are just synthetic benchmarks or similar, because they have real life effect.
A second DDR4 module it's on its way, of course 🙂
 

Bob.B

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Feb 8, 2021
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Look at these measurements below, they are from a cheap ADATA Swordfish 500GB. Aren't these waaay better than my drive (uploaded abone in the initial post)? I think they are. And please, don't tell me these are just synthetic benchmarks or similar, because they have real life effect.
A second DDR4 module it's on its way, of course 🙂
If you pump large amounts of data back and forth to a ssd then a nvme wins.
That's what benchmarks do but most users don't do that they work with small blocks of stuff.
The results are the faster xfer rate has limited value.
I went from a sata ssd to a nvme ssd.
For the stuff that I run nothing jumped at me except for benchmark numbers.
 
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dorsai

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My current boot drive (Windows 10 Pro 64bit) is ADATA SU650 m2 SATA 240GB (su650ns38). Motherboard is Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3, Intel Pentium G4400, 8GB DDR4 Hyperx Fury single channel.

I wonder if upgrading to a NVMe m2 SSD would significantly improve system performance (apps loading, drive access etc)?

I tested my m2 drive and below are the results. As far as I saw on different forums/comments, m2 NVMe SSDs are at least double in performance than my drive. Of course, many of those posts are incomplete regarding the system that hosted that m2 drive.

Is my CPU/chipset a bottleneck for a NVMe m2 drive?
No matter what m2 NVMe drive I chose there will be no real benefit?

I found many unused medium performance m2 NVMe drives on second-hand market in my country, like Samsung EVO 970 Plus, ADATA SX8200 Pro, ADATA S40G, Sabrent Rocket Q, WD Black SN750, that have very good prices. It would make a difference if I chose one of these but not the cheaper ones?




It depends entirely on what you're doing with the PC. If you're gaming then the only thing moving to an nvme SSD might get you is more storage. If you're editing video or routinely transferring large files then moving to an nvme drive will provide a nice boost in read/write speeds.
 
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Bazzy 505

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My experience is that increase in performance from switching from a good SATA SSD ( Samsung 860 PRO ) to NVME SSD (970 pro) really depends on the workload.

In most games, the difference in rather small, because we design those games with with the lowest common denominator in mind.
Similarly difference between gen3 and gen4 in NVMEs in gaming is maily psychological. Both AMD and Nvidia have features in the pipeline that will take advantage of the increased throughput, but asides from a few demos in the alpha of the new unreal engine, there are no games to take advantage of it yet/ ( on PC anyways) It will be at least another 2-3 years before anything of the sort hits store shelves.

Having said that, in my case it makes huge difference, as i spend most of my time in Photoshop, inDesign and Visual Studio. But i suspect this is not the use care most people comming here care for.
 
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USAFRet

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Look at these measurements below, they are from a cheap ADATA Swordfish 500GB. Aren't these waaay better than my drive (uploaded abone in the initial post)? I think they are. And please, don't tell me these are just synthetic benchmarks or similar, because they have real life effect.
A second DDR4 module it's on its way, of course 🙂
What do you use this system for?

Even if not gaming, these vids are quite informative.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YoRKQy-UO4

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DKLA7w9eeA
 
Jul 31, 2021
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I don't do games but I use many apps like Adobe Illustrator, AutoCad, Lightroom and architecture design oriented apps (designing, rendering). Some of them must load libraries that contain tens of thousands of small files (summing tens of GB of data).
 

USAFRet

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Look at these measurements below, they are from a cheap ADATA Swordfish 500GB. Aren't these waaay better than my drive (uploaded abone in the initial post)?
This is two of my drives:


The numbers would seem to indicate the Intel 660p is much much faster, right?

In actual use? I literally cannot tell the difference.

I did a timed test in my normal workflow with Adobe Lightroom.
Zero difference.
What takes 15 secs on the 860 EVO also takes 15 secs on the 660p.
 
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This is two of my drives:


The numbers would seem to indicate the Intel 660p is much much faster, right?

In actual use? I literally cannot tell the difference.

I did a timed test in my normal workflow with Adobe Lightroom.
Zero difference.
What takes 15 secs on the 860 EVO also takes 15 secs on the 660p.
Weird... Are these numbers telling a lie?
 

USAFRet

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Weird... Are these numbers telling a lie?
Not weird, and not a lie at all.

You just have to know what they are reading.

If I were transferring a large sequential block of data between 2x NVMe drives, that would go a LOT faster than between 2x SATA SSD.
But that is not what we mostly do. The vast majority of use is small 4k blocks of random data.

And the whole rest of the system comes into play. CPU, RAM, software, etc, etc.

An SSD's prime impact is the near zero access time. This is for ALL SSD's, no matter the type.
Moving from HDD to solid state, huge difference.
Between different types of SSD? Not so much.

If you need more drive space, and an NVMe is within your budget, sure, add one.
But don't change from SATA III to NVMe and expect a big performance gain. It will not happen.
 

Bazzy 505

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I don't do games but I use many apps like Adobe Illustrator, AutoCad, Lightroom and architecture design oriented apps (designing, rendering). Some of them must load libraries that contain tens of thousands of small files (summing tens of GB of data).
In that case you will surely benefit from the upgrade. In Lightroom you will never see the difference, but when working in PS with larger resolutions with 20+ layers, scratchdisk will get run for its money. Similarly in Visual Studio libraries load quite a bit faster and i seldom have those annoying background tasks dragging on before the upgrade, no to mention intellisense taking forever to fully kick in. Profiling or Compiling has become much snappier experience too.

I've been using this one for the past year and a half in my work PC and it has served me quite well, it may technically not be the fastest gen3, but i think i has one the highest endurance ratings currently offered among gen3 @ 3120 TBW

https://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-Force-MP510-1920GB-Storage/dp/B07HR5PN9Q/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=CORSAIR+FORCE+Series+MP510+1920GB+NVMe+PCIe+Gen3+x4+M.2+SSD+Solid+State+Storage,+Up+to+3,480MB/s&qid=1627736983&sr=8-1
 
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--SID--

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I don't do games but I use many apps like Adobe Illustrator, AutoCad, Lightroom and architecture design oriented apps (designing, rendering). Some of them must load libraries that contain tens of thousands of small files (summing tens of GB of data).
With that usecase: get rid of the slow dual core Pentium and try to score a i7-6700/7700(K). A faster cpu adds more than a NVME ssd.
 
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Bazzy 505

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With that usecase: get rid of the slow dual core Pentium and try to score a i7-6700/7700(K). A faster cpu adds more than a NVME ssd.
Ooops, seems like i was too focused on the SSD debate to miss the rest of the specs.

Upgrading the CPU and getting another stick of ram to run in dual channel mode would bring in more bang for a buck, if you can get those reasonably cheap.
 
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CPU upgrade is another upgrade I had in mind but I can afford only a core i5 (particularly i5-6600). I got this recommendation on another forum. I guess I'll go first for a better CPU and then m2 NVMe.
 
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Worth is something only YOU can determine.
If you have an ample budget that you do not mind spending, then the peace of mind knowing that you have done your best to improve performance might be worth it to you.

But the reality is that you will not notice any magical difference.
In part, because cpu performance may not be able to keep up with the drive capability.

On a windows boot using fast boot, you will be mainly cpu limited.
And, as a suggestion do not power off and boot.
Use sleep to ram(no hibernate) instead.
Sleep/wake becomes 5-10 seconds.

In what way is your current setup not doing the job?
If your cpu is lacking, your G4400 has 2 threads and a passmark rating of 2593.
That is when both threads are 100% busy.
The single thread rating is 2026.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+G4400+@+3.30GHz&id=2634
The proposed 6600 also has 4 threads and a rating of 6101/2280.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+G4400+@+3.30GHz&id=2634
Here is a list of the processors that your motherboard supports:
https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-H170-Gaming-3-rev-10/support#support-cpu

Few apps can be designed to fully utilize many threads.
I suspect that the single thread performance will be the most useful to you.
I might try a i5-7600K or even a i7-7700K if you can afford it.

You now have a single stick of 8gb.
I would be inclined to try adding a matched stick to get 16gb and run in faster single channel mode. Unmatched sticks do not always work together but intel is quite tolerant on this.
If you buy another 8gb stick, do so with some sort of return capability if it does not play nice with your current ram.
 
Last edited:
Jul 31, 2021
7
1
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Worth is something only YOU can determine.
If you have an ample budget that you do not mind spending, then the peace of mind knowing that you have done your best to improve performance might be worth it to you.

But the reality is that you will not notice any magical difference.
In part, because cpu performance may not be able to keep up with the drive capability.

On a windows boot using fast boot, you will be mainly cpu limited.
And, as a suggestion do not power off and boot.
Use sleep to ram(no hibernate) instead.
Sleep/wake becomes 5-10 seconds.

In what way is your current setup not doing the job?
If your cpu is lacking, your G4400 has 4 threads and a passmark rating of 2593.
That is when all 4 threads are 100% busy.
The single thread rating is 2026.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+G4400+@+3.30GHz&id=2634
The proposed 6600 also has 4 threads and a rating of 6101/2280.
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+G4400+@+3.30GHz&id=2634
Here is a list of the processors that your motherboard supports:
https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-H170-Gaming-3-rev-10/support#support-cpu

Few apps can be designed to fully utilize many threads.
I suspect that the single thread performance will be the most useful to you.
I might try a i5-7600K or even a i7-7700K if you can afford it.

You now have a single stick of 8gb.
I would be inclined to try adding a matched stick to get 16gb and run in faster single channel mode. Unmatched sticks do not always work together but intel is quite tolerant on this.
If you buy another 8gb stick, do so with some sort of return capability if it does not play nice with your current ram.
I'm using hibernate instead of sleep because it doesn't consume any power (as far as I know).

Regarding my setup, many times CPU is fully loaded, I see when I'm launching big apps that the load is delayed somehow. Even when I'm browsing, CPU frequently goes up to 100%.
Windows pagefile is automatically managed for boot partition.

Intel website states that G4400 has 2 cores and 2 threads. I5-6600 has 4 and 4.
Both CPUs you mentioned are too expensive in my country. The cheapest price for i5-7600K is $115, i7-7700K starts from about $240 on the second hand market. For example, a modern 10100F CPU starts from about $95 in stores - I won't pay that much on a used CPU that don't know how long and how good it will work.
But I can pay less on a used i5-6600, about $50.

I thought that upgrading the actual boot drive (which is also a storage drive for many libraries files) will be more future proof if I decide to upgrade MB/CPU to a newer 1200 socket. I really don't want to stick to 1151 anymore, as far as I see I won't be getting much performance increase if I spend the same amount as in a newer quad Intel CPU.
 
OOPS!! I corrected my post, the G4400 has only 2 cores and 2 threads.

Hibernate writes the contents of ram to the hiberfile before going to sleep.
That way, the contents of ram can be restored in the event of a power failure.
If you do not care about such contents, then omit hibernation for faster sleep/recovery.

I think you would be pleased spending $50 on a 6600.
I suppose you could recover some by selling the g4400.
While your motherboard does not support overclocking of a K processor, it can still run them.
The base clock of a i5-6600K is 3.5 vs. 3.3 for the i5-6600.
On ebay in us, they sell for about the same price.
 
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