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Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

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  • Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

    I want to upgrade my machine with an SSD, but I fear it won't actually increase my performance much. My motherboard has a Marvell SATA III controller on it, but for some reason it is was attached to an x1 PCIe channel and as such is bandwidth limited. I have a free PCIe x4 slot and was wondering if anyone has used a PCIe x4 SSD card and what the performance is like.

  • #2
    Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

    Keep in mind that the performance difference that is noticeable in most scenarios will be the disk access time and not total bandwidth. This would not be limited by the single PCIE lane providing for your SATA connection. To get and idea of how to compare this metric look for benchmarks that show "4kQD1"(4k data size / Que depth 1). This shows the performance when moving a single stream of small bits of data, which is where SSDs really shine over hard drives.

    Be careful to make yourself aware of the compatibility requirements for PCIE(NVME specifically) SSDs. For most people the question would be whether or not your system and OS can use it as a boot drive or if it would be relegated to a secondary drive.
    |TG-12th| Namebot

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    • #3
      Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

      Draeh, are you talking about upgrading from a hard drive to an SSD? If so, you will most definitely notice a difference with a standard SSD. Probably a lot more than you would notice switching from a SATA SSD to a PCI-E SSD.

      One thing I'd look into if you really need blistering performance would be a pair of regular SATA SSDs in RAID 0. Unless I'm missing something (not my area of expertise, do some more research), you should be able to get PCI-E SSD transfer speeds (or better) while enjoying the much better storage/$ of a SATA SSD.

      Edit: Linus Media has a good video (from 2014) comparing: 2 cheap SATA SSDs in RAID 0 vs 1 expensive SATA SSD vs standard comsumer and enterprise pci-e SSDs.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAQOVI6Q1wo

      For raw transfer speed (moving massive amounts of data, probably not actually useful to you) the results were:

      1) ADATA SSDs in RAID 0 (1060 Mb/s read)
      2) Plextor Consumer PCIE SSD (660 Mb/s read)
      3) Samsung 840 PRO (440 Mb/s read)
      4) Enterprise PCIE SSD (330 Mb/s read)


      1) ADATA SSDs in RAID 0 (680 Mb/s write)
      2) Plextor Consumer PCIE SSD (540 Mb/s write)
      3) Samsung 840 PRO (490 Mb/s write)
      4) Enterprise PCIE SSD (180 Mb/s write)

      For random 4k IOPS as Namebot mentioned, he states that the Samsung 840 Pro was the best, but the graphs shown have similar results to the above rankings.


      Edit Edit:

      Didn't read your question thoroughly enough. Is your 1x PCIe a PCIe 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0? I'm guessing you're probably on at least 2.0, in which case... it's really not going to limit a SATA SSD much. 1x PCI-e 2.0 can manage 500 Mb/s so is only going to limit the fastest SATA drives to about 90% of their performance. If you are on a 1x PCI-E 3.0 there should be no bottleneck as these have almost 1 Gb/s of bandwidth.

      Compare that 500 Mb/s of 1x PCI-E 2.0 to 120 Mb/s of a 7200 rpm HDD, you will notice the difference!


      Edit Edit Edit Edit Edit:

      IOPS are weird as hell. However, they do bring up a very relevant point - except for large file transfers, you will probably never approach your 1x PCI-E's limit. For example, the very fastest SATA SSDs only manage around 40 MB/s for 4k random read at queue depth 1 and 400 MB/s at queue depth 64. In these somewhat-more-real-world benchmarks, PCI-E cards actually don't seem to get much benefit, because they are limited by how fast they can find the information, not how fast they can transfer it.

      As Namebot states though, random read/write is where SSDs, any SSDs, really blow HDDs out of the water (this and latency, as if 5 times the transfer speeds wasn't good enough).

      A standard 7200 rpm HDD will manage less than 200 4K read IOPS for < 1 Mb/s throughput with 10-15 ms of latency. A reasonable SSD will do 80,000 4k read IOPS with 40 Mb/s throughput and around 1/30 of a ms of latency.

      Check out Tom's Hardware for a great set of benchmark comparisons for SSDs. Unfortunately they only have the one PCI-E SSD to compare from their 2014 set, but you can see that although the Samsung 941 M.2 card performed nearly twice as fast in sequential read speed than the best SATA SSDs, it performed on par or worse in most other metrics.

      http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/s...Read,2782.html
      Last edited by Strait Raider; 02-13-2016, 01:51 PM.
      Teamwork and Tactics are OP


      Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".

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      • #4
        Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

        Thanks everybody.

        I did get caught up on the data throughput without considering the effective throughput of the hard drive itself.


        Have any SATA III SSD recommendations, then?

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        • #5
          Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

          Personally, I have a Kingston V300 from a few years back and it has worked great. It's a low-mid range SSD nowadays.

          That being said, if I were buying now, it's hard to go wrong with the Samsung 850 Evo. It is the current gold standard, but isn't unfairly priced. In Canadian rubels I'd be looking at 200 CAR for a new 480 GB V300 versus 230 for a new 500 GB 850 Evo.

          The 850 Evo is a much better performing SSD but again, it's hard to say whether you would notice the difference between the high and low-end SSDs most of the time.

          All depends on how much you want to spend, I suppose, but the cheapest ADATAs only seem to save about 30% off the very tip-top newly released Corsair Neutrons.

          As for capacity, I would recommend a 250 or 500 GB so you can put a few games on it without having to shuffle things around too often. My V300 is 128 GB and between windows and Star Citizen, I don't have room for anything else. When the next big update comes around, it probably won't fit at all. ><

          When you get your SSD, make the most of its space. Look up tips for space-saving, move your user folders to your HDD, move your page file off the SSD, delete your windows.old, etc.
          Teamwork and Tactics are OP


          Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".

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          • #6
            Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

            I tend to recommend cheap rather than fast. Spend the money on capacity. You'll notice having a SSD. Not so sure you'll notice the difference between high and low end outside of synthetic benchmarks or large file moving.

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            • #7
              Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

              I recommend the Samsung series as well. I remember when I was shopping for SSDs, one of the big differentiating factors for the Samsung drives wasn't the overall speed. Their overall speed is still top notch, but where they excel is how QUICKLY they achieve that max speed. Their acceleration to that transfer speed is very quick, if not the quickest out there.

              If you want the best, go Samsung right now.

              |TG| Eudiphon


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              - G.W.F. Hegel Reason in History

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              • #8
                Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

                Thanks again, all!

                I went ahead and ordered a Samsung EVO 850 500GB from newegg. It will arrive some time today.

                Since I have 2 other 1TB drives in the same machine are there any good tips/tricks to managing my Steam library across drives? What about Origin?

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                • #9
                  Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

                  You can move them around, but make sure you keep backups of those games all on one drive and use one of the HDDs for your active non-SSD needing games. It is rather simple to just keep games on multiple drives. Just remember, if you want to wipe your drives, keep backups and then make new folders in the respective drives when you do the reinstall.



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                  • #10
                    Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

                    I've been running the new SSD for a week. What a huge difference. BF4 load times are less than half of what they used to be. Other day to day operations like booting, logging in, video editing are way faster than ever. I'm totally satisfied with the outcome.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Anyone using a PCIe SSD card?

                      It is one of the easiest upgrades to recommend.
                      |TG-12th| Namebot

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