PCIe vs SATA SSD Speeds - effect and importance on gaming?

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Chris_c81, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. Chris_c81

    Chris_c81 Notebook Consultant

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    Recently purchased a Lenovo Y540 which comes with a PCIe 500GB SSD. I added to this, a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO connected via SATA.

    Running speed tests, there was considerable read/write speed differences between PCIe and SATA with the PCIe SSD outperforming the SATA SSD. Expected of course. My question is how relevant or important is this for gaming?

    I bought the Samsung 860 EVO as a drive I could store games on, as the PCIe SSD has the OS and with games, that would quickly start to fill up. Will I notice a signifcant increase in load times or other impact if I moved the games to the 860? I have 32GB of RAM for reference.
     
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  2. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    For multiplayer games, basically of no importance at all, since there are timers before anyone typically can even begin. So while you may load faster, to keep it fair to everyone those minute long timers renders it moot.

    Single player, I imagine the workload wouldnt actually be dense enough to take full advantage but you would have to monitor your traffic on the drive as you load different sequences of the game.
     
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  3. Chris_c81

    Chris_c81 Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the quick response. Yeah I sort of knew the answer for online games, it's mainly Elder Scrolls Online I play anyway. It was more the offline single player games I was curious about. I understand what you're saying. I'm inclined to believe that the difference would probably be negligible in the grand scheme of things.
     
  4. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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    Absolutely zero difference in game load times and performance.
     
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  5. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Although it's just a rule of thumb, 10x faster seems to be a good indicator for whether a new storage technology will be noticeably different.

    When SSD first came out, 30MB-50MB/sec was the typical HDD - 100MB was available too, but 2x wasn't a really noticeable difference - latency improvements were noticeable on the 10k drives at the time.

    300MB/sec - 500MB/sec SSD's @ 10x faster than the average HDD really was a noticeable improvement in performance. And the latency improvements were as well.

    NVME M.2's using PCIE Gen3 are only up to 3.5GB / sec faster, and until I plugged in a PCIE Gen4 drive into a PCIE Gen3 M.2 socket I hadn't really felt an NVME PCIE Gen3 drive was faster.

    PCIE Gen4 is now Maxed out at 5GB/sec, but might reach 8GB/sec single drive throughput later with newer controllers, and that is now 10x faster than SATA SSD's, so I think that will be the next leap in noticeable storage speeds.

    But, it needs the right application to notice real differences, and desktop snappiness is one, the others are anything that requires lots of R/W IO during operation.

    Even if a transfer is 10x faster, it will take humans real wall time - elapsed time in seconds - creating differences shortened enough for us to notice interactive changes.

    When we went from 30MB/sec to 300MB/sec that shaved real wall time - seconds of elapsed time reductions we could see and feel.

    Now, with transfers already sub-second, something 10x faster might not be noticeable.

    Maybe a RAID0 of 3x M.2's with Gen4 SSD's running at 3x 8GB / sec with motherboard support to allow all of that bandwidth through to the CPU? That would be 24GB/sec - and cost a lot of money. It better "seem faster". ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  6. kingofswag187

    kingofswag187 Notebook Deity

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    With the way Ryzen 3rd gen works, you can (in theory) have 1 PCIE 4.0 M.2 off the CPU, 2 PCIE 3.0 M.2's or 1 PCIE 4.0 off the chipset, and get 16GBps while still having a x16 link to your GPU. In reality, you'll likely see about ~10GBps at best
     
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  7. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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    Except game loading times aren’t bottlenecked by those bloated max throughput numbers, that’s why NVMe vs. SATA makes no difference. If you want to see an actual difference, Optane or RAM disk, but you’re paying through the nose for not significantly faster and end up hitting a bottleneck elsewhere in the system like CPU.
     
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  8. Chris_c81

    Chris_c81 Notebook Consultant

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    Appreciate all the detailed responses guys. I think in summary, the answer is basically 'none/no'.
     
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  9. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    There are motherboards which run all 3 M.2 Gen4's at full speed. 2 through the CPU and 1 through the Chipset, but you get less PCIE board slots and 4 SATA ports, and for me that's ok. Other boards will have 6 SATA ports and 3 M.2's and if you populate all 3 M.2's you lose 2 of the 6 SATA ports - providing flexibility to use old SATA now and upgrade to a 3rd PCIE gen3 M.2 later.

    I've got a B450 MB that only has 1 Gen 3 M.2 and if you use that and 1 GPU that 2nd free PCIE slot isn't usable. And, the Wifi / BT / LAN are via USB.

    It depends on the motherboard manufacturer to distribute the potential lanes between features and budget, there's plenty if you need it, or upgrade to X399 or TRX40. :)

    It is true that after seeing what you can do with a TRX40 motherboard the x570's don't look quite so special any longer. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  10. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I'm in agreement there should be no noticeable difference running off PCIe vs SATA drives for gaming or everyday tasks. A real-world situation I can think of where the PCIe throughput advantage would be noticeable is if you were transferring a large file (several gigabytes or more) from one PCIe drive to another.

    That said, it's good you have a PCIe slot in your PC as it opens your upgrade options for the future. There are many more choices for M.2 PCIe drives than there are SATA.

    Charles
     
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