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Should I buy an M.2 or SATA SSD? (and recommendations for 250 GB SSD?)

post #1 of 11
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I'm looking to upgrade my OS drive SSD from 120 GB to around 250 GB and I noticed that my motherboard supports M.2 cards. (The motherboard is an ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming)

Is there a benefit to going with an M.2 drive versus SATA?

Any recommendations for a 250 GB SSD drive? (only for OS; I have a separate 1 TB SSD for gaming) Hopefully under $150?
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post #2 of 11
M.2 is faster but takes up a PCI slot and may get in the way of air flow. So up to you. For an SSD I'd go Samsung.
 
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post #3 of 11
I think what you actually mean is NVME or SATA? As there are both SATA & NVME m.2 SSDs. You probably want to just go SATA unless you regularly transfer very large files. Under normal usage and gaming there is almost no noticeable difference between the two.
Edited by scientist - 4/13/17 at 2:39pm
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post

I'm looking to upgrade my OS drive SSD from 120 GB to around 250 GB and I noticed that my motherboard supports M.2 cards. (The motherboard is an ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming)

Is there a benefit to going with an M.2 drive versus SATA?

Any recommendations for a 250 GB SSD drive? (only for OS; I have a separate 1 TB SSD for gaming) Hopefully under $150?


I highly recommend using a SATA based SSD instead of m.2.

As "scientist" mentions, you will not see a substantial improvement in the daily use of the PC, unless you require tasks that use extensively read / write to the storage unit. This is tricky too, because m.2 units (direct to the motherboard) do not have a dedicated heat discipation system, so after a few seconds of use it overheats and applies thermal throttling to avoid damages.

This means that read and write speeds drop sharply and the initial difference with veteran SATA-based SSDs is further reduced. SSDs based on m.2 are therefore much faster, but only for a few moments, until they cool down again.

Currently motherboards are being launched with a cooling housing for m.2-based SSDs, but I have not yet used one to see if it is effective or not and whether it actually mitigates the problem.

Knowing this, I bought an SSD (NVMe) based on PCI-E with its own passive cooling to avoid this problem and to be stable over time. The specific model is Zotac Sonix PCIE 480GB. On paper and in synthetic tests, it is very fast (2600MB/s & 1500MB/s, sequential read and write, respectively), but on a daily basis, loading the operating system, applications and games, does not feel faster than my old 360GB SSD Corsair GS (550MB/ s & 250MB/s, sequential read and write, respectively).

If you ask, my rig is based on a Core i7 6700K, MSI Z170A M7 and 32GB RAM DDR4 @ 3333Mhz, so I don't think I have bottlenecks.

I hope it helps you.

All the best.
Edited by NaSHOP - 4/13/17 at 8:49pm
post #5 of 11
I'm deciding between 1TB Samsung 850 pro and 960 evo. I would use it for music production for loading big sample files up to 4gb. NaSHOP which of the two mentioned drives would you recommend for this kind of work?
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post #6 of 11
go for two sata ssd's in raid 0. By experience m.2 is slower and can tell by it is slower than my old raided 840 pro's in raid 0 32kb strip.

m.2


2 840 pro's in raid 0.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyform View Post

I'm deciding between 1TB Samsung 850 pro and 960 evo. I would use it for music production for loading big sample files up to 4gb. NaSHOP which of the two mentioned drives would you recommend for this kind of work?

I would go for the Samsung 850pro (I really prefer Corsair for its reliability, but I'll narrow down your options).

The reason is the same as I said before. The m.2 are faster (most models), but only for a few moments. The fact that they must get to do thermal throttling I do not like it at all and I already know units that have failed (although SATA based ones also fail).

Here I leave you a review where both models that you mention are present.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/10833/the-samsung-960-evo-1tb-review

Here also, an article related to thermal trottling.

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Samsung-950-Pro-M-2-Throttling-Analysis-776/

SATA-based drives are more accessible for RAID configurations, in case you require extra performance or reliability.

I don't know how often you write those 4GB in the drive, but keep in mind that SSDs, regardless of which interface they connect to, have limited writing cycles that you can do on them.

I hope I've helped.

All the best.
Edited by NaSHOP - 4/14/17 at 8:30am
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaSHOP View Post

I would go for the Samsung 850pro (I really prefer Corsair for its reliability, but I'll narrow down your options).

The reason is the same as I said before. The m.2 are faster (most models), but only for a few moments. The fact that they must get to do thermal throttling I do not like it at all and I already know units that have failed (although SATA based ones also fail).

Here I leave you a review where both models that you mention are present.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/10833/the-samsung-960-evo-1tb-review

Here also, an article related to thermal trottling.

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Samsung-950-Pro-M-2-Throttling-Analysis-776/

SATA-based drives are more accessible for RAID configurations, in case you require extra performance or reliability.

I don't know how often you write those 4GB in the drive, but keep in mind that SSDs, regardless of which interface they connect to, have limited writing cycles that you can do on them.

I hope I've helped.

All the best.

Thank you for your reply.

I'm not doing a lot of writing, I would like to have a drive that is fast at opening small and big files that's reading right? How much slower would the 850 Evo be at this compared to 850 Pro? The difference in price is quite big between them where I live, 150€ difference betweem 1TB 850 Evo and Pro which I would like to get. I'm also going to get a 256GB for OS, for OS there shouldn't be much difference between Evo and Pro I guess?
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HITTI View Post

go for two sata ssd's in raid 0. By experience m.2 is slower and can tell by it is slower than my old raided 840 pro's in raid 0 32kb strip.

m.2


2 840 pro's in raid 0.

Just a clarification. An SSD based on m.2 is not necessarily faster than one based on SATA and vice versa. It depends on many factors like the quality of the chip / storage controller they use.

However, SATA III has a maximum transfer limit of 550MB / s. A Samsung 960pro, based on m.2, reaches the stratospheric speed of 3374MB / s.

http://www.trustedreviews.com/samsung-960-pro-1tb-review-performance-and-verdict-page-2#tr-review-summary

It all depends on the model and category of SSD.

All the best.
post #10 of 11
if you're going to be using a SATA speed m.2 SSD, the only real benefit is that its much cleaner and easier to use. Saves you from running another sata and power cable to a 2.5" SSD. When using a smaller form factor case and/or a more visible case, that can be very useful.

Since sata ssds are already pretty quick with high IOPS, noticing real world differences in everyday use is pretty minimal for most users.
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