[SOLVED] Will PCIe 4 bring faster SSDs for every day use?

JohnDon9

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Hi

I hope someone can clarify SSDs speed limits in every day use (copying 100s/1000s of files, zipping folders), a file handling tasks. As far as I understand the current SSDs are mostly limited to speeds around 550MB/s because of SATA 3 limitation (max 6.0Gb/s, 600MB/s).
I'm not sure why NVME SSDs are only faster with manipulation (copying, reading, writing) of small number of large files and not the 1000s. While the max speeds go up to 3500MB/s, benchmarks in every day use show not a significant faster than normal SSDs.
Is this because of CPU and RAM limitations? That every day use is so more involved with CPU and RAM that their usage actually limits the full potential of NVME SSD?

I see no news on SATA 4, so I assume this means all SSDs will be NVME, when PCIe 4 is standard.

So, will PCIe 4 have the same results as NVME SSD compared to SSDs? So some very specific tasks might take advantage of higher speed SSDs, but mostly CPU and RAM will prevent for everyday use to be much faster then 550MB/s?

Or maybe I'm missing something big here?

Thanks!
 
There are SSDs being made to take advantage of PCIe 4.0 speeds.

However, it's more in the use-cases. Except for specialized needs, generally the typical home user/gamer doesn't normally access the drive in a way that allows for the full speed to come into play.
 

JohnDon9

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bigger(faster) roads don't actually make cars faster - the same was faster sata(itself) won't actually make the ssd's any faster.
Yes, I agree. That's why PCIe 4 is widening the bandwidth, so there is more throughput. Right?

There are SSDs being made to take advantage of PCIe 4.0 speeds.

However, it's more in the use-cases. Except for specialized needs, generally the typical home user/gamer doesn't normally access the drive in a way that allows for the full speed to come into play.
I think zipping (compressing/uncompressing) folders with 100s/1000s of files is quite common task. OK, maybe not a task you do multiple times a day, but I think this represents quote common task that involves a lot of files and could be regarded as everyday task. Same goes for copying folders.
No?
 
I think that's pretty much the case, at least for the time being. For things like game load times, the system is not just loading data, but also processing it, decompressing files and piecing things together to prepare them for the game to start. As a result, even a SATA SSD is generally fast enough to keep up, and moving to a higher-end NVMe model costing twice as much might just reduce load times by 10%, if even that.

With something like copying files, on the other hand, the system isn't doing much with the data, just copying it from one location to another, allowing the drive to perform at nearly full speed.

I do think it's possible that some software, including games, may potentially be optimized to make better use of faster drives in the future though. Currently, games tend to still be designed with the lowest common denominator in mind, that is, the traditional hard drive, and as such avoid loading data in ways that would result in poor performance on a hard drive. It won't likely be long before developers can expect their games to be installed on an SSD though, at which point we may see changes in how data is loaded, such as streaming it from the drive on an as needed basis in cases where it might have otherwise been loaded at the start, and that could potentially result in faster drives offering smoother performance. Or perhaps more multithreaded processing being performed on the data while it's being loaded, so that a single CPU core isn't limiting how fast the data can be processed.

Personally, I don't think it's worth paying much more for the fastest SSDs at this point, unless perhaps one has some specific use-case in mind that they know can take advantage of that additional performance in some meaningful way. However, that's not to say one should necessarily limit themselves to a SATA SSD either, since there are a number of lower-end NVME models available now that cost about the same amount if not less than a SATA drive, while opening up higher transfer speeds. For example, the 1TB Intel 660p is widely available for around $95 now, and while its design can potentially result in very low write performance in certain scenarios involving large multi-gigabyte writes, it should perform a lot like other NVMe drives in most common usage scenarios. The upper limit of its performance doesn't max out PCIe 3.0, but does extend well above what the SATA interface is capable of. Or there's other drives, like the Mushkin Pilot 1TB for around $110, which tends to perform a bit better than the 660p, and copes with extended writes a lot more gracefully. Drives like these are priced similar to SATA models while offering substantially more performance in those scenarios that can benefit from faster transfer speeds.

I think zipping (compressing/uncompressing) folders with 100s/1000s of files is quite common task.
Compressing and extracting files tends be be a very CPU-heavy task, so again, the storage performance may not matter so much past a certain point, though that could of course vary depending on how the data is compressed. Don't expect PCIe 4.0 to make much difference to real-world storage performance for most tasks anytime soon. Again, even PCIe 3.0 typically isn't much of a limitation at this time, as the benefits of those faster drives tend to be minimal for most use cases.
 
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JohnDon9

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@cryoburner thank you for very detailed explanation!

It makes sense and I had a feeling is something like that, but it's hard to realize if you are not current with all technologies (or when PCIe 4 benefit is compared to road traffic... wtf)

I have SSD Sata disk and I7 4790K, for 3 years now and I keep following the news about CPUs and SSD disks, to see when can I upgrade to double or nearly double the PC performance.

What Intel has and what AMD just released, CPU upgrade doesn't make sense, yet. (cost vs my daily usage needs) Unless I really need more cores, I'm good for a while.

So, I was hoping maybe PCIe 4 is going to surprise me with disk speed and give me reason to upgrade. It doesn't seem so.
 

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