You will get different types of storage solutions such as a normal SSD and a PCIe SSD but may not be very sure which to use between them. In order to make the right choice, you will need to make a proper comparison for which you will need to know the differences between the two.
Here are some major differences between them entailed in this article for your knowledge and selection benefits. The additional facts and factors along with will help in deciding which to use in your computer.
- The normal SSDs use a Serial ATA interface but the PCI Express SSDs typically use the PCI Express interface to connect to the computer and transfer data.
- The normal SSDs are usually not connected to the motherboard directly since they need cables but the PCI Express SSDs can be plugged into the slot to connect directly to the motherboard.
- The PCI Express SSDs store data and allow accessing them just as the normal SSDs but in addition provide power, faster signaling and higher bandwidth due to their connection with the motherboard.
- Normal SSDs have higher latency than the PCIe SSDs because they are connected through cables which affect their performance negatively.
- The data transfer speed of the normal SSDs can be maximum of up to 600 MB/s but that of the PCI Express SSDs can be about three times more.
In This Article
The 12 Differences Between PCIe SSD and Normal SSD
The normal SSDs that are used extensively today which typically use a Serial ATA or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment interface.
On the other hand, the PCI Express SSDs use its unique PCI Express or Peripheral Component Interconnect Express interface for connection and data transfer.
This is a high speed interface that comes with a point-to-point architecture.
2. The Cost Factor
The normal SSDs are usually less costly in comparison to the PCI Express SSDs which makes them the most popular SSDs available in the market today.
On the other hand, the PCI Express SSDs are comparatively a bit costly than the normal SSDs due to its design and architecture.
Usually, the normal SSDs do not get connected to the motherboard directly but through cables.
On the other hand, the PCI Express SSDs are plugged into the slot on the motherboard and therefore establishes a direct connection with it.
The normal SSDs allow storing data and accessing them as and when required by the user.
On the other hand, due to the direct connection to the motherboard, the PCI Express interface can provide both power and data connections. Unlike the normal SSDs, they provide higher bandwidth with faster signaling through multiple lanes.
Typically the SSDs are connected to the motherboard through cables, as said earlier and therefore there is a high chance of them resulting in high latency.
On the other hand, once again due to the direct connection of the PCI Express to the motherboard, the PCIe SSDs can perform much better in comparison to the normal SSDs.
6. Data Transfer Speed
The normal SSDs can typically transfer data at a speed of maximum 600 MB/s which is quite low.
On the other hand, even the PCI Express 3.0 SSDs can transfer data at a much higher speed than that due to the multiple lanes, often up to 2000 MB/s, which is more than 3 times the data transfer speed of a normal SSD.
7. Power Consumption
When it comes to power consumption, the normal SSDs use less power in comparison to the PCI Express SSDs.
On the other hand, the PCIe SSDs consume about 4% more power than the normal SSDs.
However, considering the performance and speed benefits, it is quite reasonable.
The normal SSDs that usually come with an older SATA interface are more compatible than the PCI Express SSDs.
This is because the PCI Express interface may not fit into all systems.
9. Storage Capacity
The storage capacity of the normal SSDs can be very high and can go up to 4 TB even.
On the other hand, the PCI Express SSDs tend to have a much lower storage space.
Even the top and high-end ones may typically come with a storage space of up to 2 TB.
The normal SATA SSDs will usually fit into the same physical enclosure of 2.5 inches that supports a traditional Hard Disk Drive.
On the other hand, the PCI Express SSDs are typically plugged into the slot interface of the motherboard physically.
11. Cost Performance Ratio
The cost to performance ratio of the normal SSDs are pretty small, even though these cost less. This is because their performance level is lower in comparison to the PCIe SSDs.
On the other hand, the cost per Gigabyte or cost to performance ratio of the PCI Express SSDs is much higher in comparison to the standard SSDs in spite of their high cost due to their higher level of performance output.
12. Use Cases
The use cases of a normal SSD includes all-round, everyday storage usage by individuals as well as any type of industry due to its pervasiveness and ease in use.
It is used where lower cost deployments, reasonably higher workloads, and average performance is required.
On the other hand the use cases of the PCI Express SSDs include those areas where low latency, in-memory function workloads, faster output, large data handling with faster analysis, machine learning deployments, and higher performance rendering is required.
Which is Better – PCIe SSD or Normal SSD?
If you consider both a standard SSD and a PCI Express SSD at the most basic level, you will see that both are good storage options and are quite fast.
However, which one you will eventually choose to use in your computer will largely depend on both the performance and price trade offs.
Therefore, to find out which is better among the two, you should typically find out which among the two is good enough for a particular type of task that you may perform on your computer.
A standard SSD or a Solid State Drive is a normal storage device that is used in computers and is non-volatile in nature and stores data on a flash memory persistently.
Ideally, the SSDs replace the conventional HDDs or Hard Disk Drives that are found in the computers and have the same fundamental functions as the HDDs.
However, the difference is that the SSDs are faster in performance in comparison since these devices do not come with any mechanical moving disks and will help in faster booting up of the operating system of the device.
The files can be saved faster in an SSD and it will also help in loading the files much quicker.
Therefore, the use of the standard SSDs is so extensive these days.
However, in terms of high bandwidth interface the PCI Express takes over from SATA.
The entry level PCI Express SSDs come with speeds that are at least two to three times more than the older generations of SSDs.
This is all due to the higher number of channels in these devices that helps in transferring data at a high speed in comparison to the standard SSDs.
Usually, the traditional SSDs connect to the computer using a traditional yet dominant interface and use the AHCI or Advanced Host Controller Interface command protocol which supports IDE as well.
Typically, the transfer rates of the SSDs may range anywhere between 150 MB/s and 600 MB/s, depending on the generation of the technology.
However, for most of the consumers doing basic computing these speeds are absolutely adequate.
The PCI Express SSDs, as said earlier, come with much higher data transfer speed.
For example, according to a few records, the PCIe 3.0 has a transfer speed of 985 MB/s per lane.
Moreover, the fact that the PCIe SSDs can support 1, 4, 8, and 16 lanes to transfer data, you may expect to have a data transfer speed of up to around 15.76 GB/s.
However, it does not end there simply.
The PCI Express 4.0 SSDs can transfer data at a high speed of up to about 32 GB/s and the PCI Express 5.0 protocol can even double that up to a whopping 64 GB/s.
There is no doubt that the normal SSDs cannot achieve such high speeds at any cost.
But, at this point you may ask whether or not the normal SSDs are of any use today.
Well, it is true that you will not find any consumer grade SSDs with that high capability as a PCI Express SSD and number of lanes, but that does not mean a PCI Express SSD with 16 lanes will be 16 times faster than a normal SATA SSD.
In such a situation, you will usually have a 2 or 4 lane system which means that the data transfer speed will be somewhere around 4 GB/s, considering the number of lanes.
You will typically notice the difference in terms of performance in a PCI Express SSD and a normal SSD when you transfer large files.
You will see that it takes a longer time when you use a normal SSD.
However, if you consider the battery life, the PCI Express SSDs lag way behind the normal SSDs when it comes to lots of data transfer.
This means that you will not notice any difference when you work in Google Docs, browsing the web, shoot emails, or do anything that is not CPU or RAM intensive on your laptop computer.
But, when you work on anything that involves much more than the basics and a lot of data transfer, you will obviously see the difference.
In such situations, the PCI Express SSDs will consume much more energy and will therefore drain the battery life, especially in a laptop, faster.
So, with all the facts and information conveyed, you may now be very well aware of which specific type of SSD is right for your computer.
If you are not, then these specific factors will help you further.
Ideally, when it comes to choosing between a PCI express SSD and a normal SSD, your choice will depend mainly on two primary factors such as:
- Your affordability and
- Your computing needs and personal preferences.
If you are on a tight budget then a normal SSD will be the right choice for you.
However, if you need to transfer files frequently and also want a high performance at the same time, you should go for a PCI Express SSD.
If you are worried about the convenience of using then be informed that both are convenient to use, especially if these two storage options come in a M.2 form factor.
And, the good news is that for all HDD users, any one among a normal SSD and a PCI Express SSD will be a good choice and will do just fine.
Both these are designed to perform much better than the HDDs in terms of performance and speed.
This means that you will not go wrong either way.
However, the difference is that if you choose a PCI Express SSD you will be able to establish a more direct connection to the motherboard and the device to transfer data.
It is for this reason that the PCI Express SSDs are used with specific devices such as:
- The graphics cards
- The Ethernet cards
- The sound cards and others.
In fact, you can use the PCI Express SSDs with anything that needs extremely fast data connections and transfer as well as for storing data files in them.
Another reason to say that the PCI Express SSDs are a much better investment than the normal SSDs is that even the cheapest of the PCIe SSDs will offer you much more performance benefits over the normal SSDs.
And, therefore, it will be much, much higher in the case of the high-end ones.
Therefore, if your demands are high and you want your SSD to perform at the highest level always, by now you surely know which particular interface you should go for.
However, please do keep in mind the cost factor, which is much higher in the case of the PCI Express SSDs in comparison to the normal SSDs.
To summarize, the users who want fast performance and lower latency but are not overly concerned about the cost, should ideally go for a PCI Express SSD.
It will handle in-memory apps and performance-sensitive workloads with much ease.
On the other hand, a normal SSD is the best choice for those who are concerned about the cost primarily rather than performance, latency, larger storage space, and scalability.
So, that is all about the differences between an SSD and a PCI Express SSD. With such knowledge gained from this article, now you know which one of them will be the best fit for your computing needs and use it to gain the maximum benefits from it.