SSD vs. NVMe – What’s the Difference?

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Jackson Roy

Computer storage devices are vital. They keep track of the device’s media and digital data. It is built into the computer’s hardware. A computer cannot function without storage. Solid-state drives employ flash memory to store persistent data. They predated NVMe. NVMe is a software interface for accessing computer data. SSDs are hardware, but NVMe is software.

Main Difference

The primary difference between SSD and NVMe is that SSD uses integrated circuits to store data, while NVMe is an interface used to access data quickly. NVMe is significantly more advanced than SSD and thus faster and more secure. But that doesn’t mean NVMe is perfect or without flaws.

What is SSD?

SanDisk invented the solid-state drive. It’s also known as a solid-state drive. In 1991, it could only store 20 MB of data. These days they can hold 60-100 TB of data. These drives are more durable and shock-resistant. Their access time is rapid, and they don’t require disc spinning. The performance of various drives varies depending on the number of bits per cell. Single-cell drives are the fastest, most durable, and most affordable.

SATA (Serial ATA) technology replaced PATA (Parallel ATA) as the primary storage connection interface in PCs in 2003. It was introduced as a universal connector with a power cord and a SATA data wire. SATA is now the industry leader and is commonly used to connect SSDs to computers. SATA employs the AHCI command protocol and supports IDE, designed for slower spinning disc drives and not for flash storage.

Read More: HDD vs. SSD – What’s the Difference?


The SATA interface was created using spinning hard disc drives, and no compatibility adjustments were made. Using existing infrastructure, SATA SSDs can replace old hard drives with a new SATA disc drive. NVMe, a recent innovation, requires an M.2 connection, which is hard to come by in typical consumer PCs or laptops.

Even today, when it comes to storage, hard drives outperform SSDs because they are cheaper per gigabyte and keep data longer.


The maximum speed of SATA 3.0 is 750MB/s, but based on physical overheads and encoding during the transfer, the actual transfer rate is approximately 600MB/s.

Mistakes to Avoid

SSDs should not be defragmented as it reduces their lifespan. SSDs store data in blocks that can be read in any order. Defragging the flash disc will overtax it.

What is NVMe?

NVM Express created the first NVMe interface. It began in 2011. The interface was designed after specific issues with solid-state drives. Like SSDs, NVMe must be physically inserted. Unlike SSDs, NVMe can execute several queries or commands simultaneously. So, they can bring results from various queries. This decreases latency, and results are returned quickly. They are 2.5-inch cards that slot into the computer’s storage system.

Please don’t use the SSD’s entire capacity, or it will choke. Because performance is compromised, especially write speeds, it is recommended that you leave at least 25% of your storage space empty. Modern SSDs include a Garbage Collection Mechanism. The TRIM command should be enabled or disabled depending on your OS. It can clutter your drive and should be handled carefully.

NVMe provides up to 64K commands per queue, although the protocol only requires 13 commands to be fast. High scalability and NVM independence interface allow upcoming technologies to deliver 4KB I/O in less than 10s, or one-thousandth the latency of a high-power 7200 RPM SATA disc.

NVMe replaces older interfaces like Serial ATA (SATA) and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), which were designed for aging Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) and were still used even when superseded by SSDs due to fast improving memory technology. Still, the communication interface was neglected. Flash memory, traditionally only utilized in mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, is rapidly entering the primary computer market due to its lightning-fast capabilities and low cost.

Disk benchmarks do not accurately predict memory performance, but they provide a given drive and system baseline. NVMe has a much greater read/write throughput than hard drives; however, slower SATA SSDs also fall behind. Prices for the latest NVMe SSDs continue to fall, making them more accessible to regular PC users.


NVMe features several data buses, making it quicker than SATA. Because NVMe is directly connected to the CPU, the ATA interface limitations do not affect it. Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPs) are four times faster than the fastest SAS option. Data search time is ten times faster.

NVMe can give 2000MB/s sustained read-write speed, compared to 600MB/s for SATA SSD III. The bottleneck is NAND technology, continually improving, so expect faster NVMe speeds soon.


NVMe allows SSDs to share the same “pool” of lanes as the CPU. This provides scalable performance by utilizing the extra four lanes found in most PCIe SSDs. PCIe sockets deliver data 25 times faster than SATA.

Power Efficiency

In standby mode, NVMe discs use very little power. Some NVMe vendors have embraced the L1.2 low-power standby mode, consuming less than 2mW. A 97% reduction from the current L1 state’s 50mW. Aside from reduced power consumption in idle, enterprise-grade users can conserve electricity in other power states.


The new NVMe 2.0 specification is backward compatible with NVMe 1.0. NVMe interfaces directly with the system CPU and operates with all primary OS.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

  • NVMe is a storage technology and communication interface, not a storage device.
  • Deploy shared SSD storage across the data center as a cost-effective and performance-enhancing cache before bigger capacity drives.
  • Price isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing an NVMe SSD.
  • Analysis of the performance needs of application workloads is advised to identify the need for moving.
  • The standard controller can only handle minimal levels of I/O processing, causing latency and limiting performance.

Recent Updates

  • The ZNS Specification allows the SSD and host to collaborate on data location. ZNS will enable data to align to the SSD’s physical media, boosting overall device performance and cost while increasing host media capacity.
  • Data access to the NVMe SSD controller utilizing a key instead of a block address. KV eliminates the need for translation tables between keys and logical blocks, allowing programs to connect with the disc directly.
  • Namespace Types – allow an NVMe SSD controller to support the different command sets established in NVMe 2.0 and future command sets.
  • NVMe Endurance Group Management exposes granularity of access to SSDs and improves control.
  • 32/64 Bit CRC – Enables new metadata and more robust data security for large-scale data systems.
  • Command group control protects the system from unintentional or malicious changes after provisioning. This is the new lockdown command.

Read More: Desktop Computer vs. Laptop – What’s the Difference? 

SSD vs. NVMe – Cost Comparison

Because they are smaller and faster, NVMe SSDs cost more than 2.5-inch SATA SSDs. Today, the prices are nearly the same, and in certain circumstances, NVMe drives are somewhat cheaper. However, the 870 EVO 2.5-inch SATA SSD and even the 860 EVO M.2 SATA SSD are also retailing for under $60.

Comparison Table between SSD and NVMe

Comparison SSD NVMe
Full-Form A solid-state drive (SSD) NVMe Full-Form Non-volatile memory express
Definition An SSD is a data storage device that uses integrated circuits. It’s a backup storage device. NVMe is an open logical-device interface protocol for high-speed access to non-volatile storage. It’s a protocol, not a gadget.
Speed Its read-write speed is 600 MB/s. Faster than 2000 MB read/write
Performance They are slower than NVMe. Faster than SSD data transmission.
Power Efficient SSDs use less power to operate. NVMe requires a lot of power when working and when idle.
Security SSDs are encryptable. NVMe is safer than SSDs because it uses industry-standard security.
Cost SSDs are cheaper than NVMe. It costs more than SSDs.
Compatibility SSDs work with practically every device. NVMe requires an M.2 port instead of SATA.

Key Differences between SSD vs. NVMe

  • NVMe stands for non-volatile memory express, and SSD stands for a solid-state drive.
  • SSD is a secondary storage device that employs integrated circuits to store data, and NVMe is an interface to access it.
  • NVMe outperforms SSD.
  • Solid-state devices use less electricity than NVMe.
  • NVMe is substantially more expensive than SSD.
  • SSDs can be easily linked to any device, but not NVMe.
  • NVMe is more secure than SSDs.


Since 2000, storage technology has evolved dramatically. Hard drives were the sole storage option before SSDs, and they were slow, but the systems were not efficient enough to require faster storage. SSDs, with their lightning-fast speeds and compact form factors, revolutionized storage media. Given the potential performance of NAND-based SSDs, it seemed evident that the new bus and protocol will eventually replace aging HHDs and SATA SSDs. Because early SSDs were slow and bulky, it was decided to leverage the existing SATA storage system.

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