M.2 vs NVMe – Fast or Slow SSD?

In the world of Solid State Drives (SSD) we have new tech most home users haven’t heard of. So, the idea is they can put in an SSD and it will be fast, which is wrong. Only if hardware is matched and properly installed will it be fast.

The video is bit long winded but, it clearly explains what has to be matched and the settings issue.

He did not mention the need for the motherboard to have ample PCIe channels. If one pours all this data into a PCIe bus with only 8 channels nothing is going to be fast. Your new video card likely wants 16 channels but will work with 4… not well. With an SSD wanting 4 channels the motherboard is forced to divide up channels.

If you have anything else using PCIe… things get really crowded.

So, installing an SSD is easy and simple. Getting it to perform at the rated specs is complicated. Not rocket science, just a bunch of details one has to know about.

Hardware: New Intel SSD’s

Intel is promoting two new Solid State Drives (SSD); Intel® SSD DC P3520 Series (PCIe) and the Intel® SSD DC S3520 Series (SATA). These are enterprise level drives. Put into layman’s English, these puppies are way expensive. US$300 to $3,000. Amazon

Intel DC P3520 SSD

Intel DC P3520 SSD

They do yield 35% more performance per watt. If you are running a server farm that is a big deal. The link above leads to the specs. Read speed: 1700 MB/s, write: 1350 MB/s. My SSD can only move 300 to 400 MB/s. See: Hardware: Disk Performance Compared. These new SSD’s are performing at RAM Drive speeds.

Word is that large data centers are driving the demand for these new fast, large SSD’s. As prices come down the consumer market will use more of these drives.

Will they make your Second Life experience better? Probably. But, RAM drives are currently cheaper and provide similar performance but, less storage space.

Second Life RAM Disk

You probably know that most of the data in our computers is saved to magnetic media hard drives that have spinning disks inside. The disk has delays as the read heads must wait for the disk to rotate the wanted data under the read/write heads. It can take the heads 4 to 12ms to find the data. Then the data can only be read as fast as the next bit of data comes to the read/write head.

Inside a Typical Hard Drive

Inside a Typical Hard Drive

Newer solid state drives (SSD) have no moving parts. So, there is no delay waiting for disks and/or read/write heads to rotate into position. So, rather than waiting several milliseconds the data is available in less than a millisecond. If you put your Second Life cache on an SSD, you will have a faster more responsive cache… places you have previously visited will render faster.

While conventional hard drives are cheap and can store terabytes of data on a single drive, the SSD’s are expensive. The cost per gigabyte of storage is about 100 times more than for conventional hard drives.

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