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Building a new system, question on M.2 and SATA Express

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys,

It's been a while since I was last on here and I haven't really kept myself up to date with changes in tech over the last couple of years, particularly storage.

I'm looking at building a new system using Skylake, probably the i5 6600. Having done some research M.2 looks tempting (especially as an OS drive), but so does SATA Express. My question is can they both be used simultaneously. To pre-empt some of the inevitable questions, this is what I'm planning so far:

i5 6600;
M-ATX board, probably this: GIGABYTE GA-Z170MX-Gaming 5
Single Graphics card - likely Nvidia (I've tried crossfire/sli before and wasn't a fan so will always stick to 1 card).

I have tried researching this myself but finding it all a little confusing (lots of talk of CPU PCI Express lanes vs Chipset PCI Express lanes), but no clear answer to the above question (that I could find anyway). Your help would be very much appreciated.
post #2 of 6

Just use M.2 its faster if you get the right drives. You normally can't use m.2 and sata express together at the same time however I believe your board can. And there is hardly any sata express drives out. Also sata express takes up too much space as it requires more cables to run. I don't think sata express will ever be a widely adopted concept.

 

I would recommend just getting the m.2 samsung 950 pro or another m.2 in the same performance class.


Edited by ozlay - 2/28/16 at 6:26am
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post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brummie View Post

can they both be used simultaneously

The manual for your board implies they can.

However, SATA Express is quite niche and it may be difficult to find devices you'd want to use with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brummie View Post

I have tried researching this myself but finding it all a little confusing (lots of talk of CPU PCI Express lanes vs Chipset PCI Express lanes)

z170-chipset-block-diagram-rwd.png

The Z170 PCH has so many lanes sprouting from it that almost the only PCI-E devices that will be directly connected to the CPU will be those in the 16x physical slots. Everything else will hang off the PCH, including the SATA express lanes and M.2 slot.
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks Both,

Blameless, are the 20 PCH lanes completely different to the CPU lanes? (i.e. 36 total)
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brummie View Post

Blameless, are the 20 PCH lanes completely different to the CPU lanes? (i.e. 36 total)

They are totally separate from the 16x lanes directly connected to the CPU.

However, they are not usable for things like multi-GPU configurations because they are ultimately limited by the DMI 3.0 connection between the CPU and the PCH, which is essentially just 4x PCI-E 3.0 lanes. This is not usually a problem, because the stuff plugged into the PCH is often either talking to other stuff connected to the PCH, or aren't all in use simultaneously.
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post #6 of 6
There are no SATA Express drives widely available on the market. There was a single demo product from kingston i think, but it was just hacked together (a sata-e ssd that had 2 mini-sata drives in it in raid0. its performance was not that great).

There are a few m.2 drives available on the market, though they will be notably higher $/GiB compared to your SATA alternatives. Some are significantly faster than their SATA counterparts, with the current best* one being the samsung 950 pro. Though aside from copying or moving files, or doing server-like heavy I/O operations, you will not perceive a difference between similar flagship SATA parts. You may be able to benchmark and see a difference in numbers, but honestly, from day to day tasks, you will not notice an operation taking 600 seconds on m.2 and 601 seconds on SATA.
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