SSD shootout: PCI Express blows away SATA and M.2 in throughput testing

Spinning drives are becoming a thing of the past, as solid state drives with PCIe interface take over

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So now you have three choices of an interface for an SSD drive – SATA, M.2 and PCI Express -- at three different price points. Is there a difference? That's our mission here. We'll dig in to the three styles.

For the better part of a decade now, the traditional interface for hard drives has been Serial ATA (SATA). With the advent of the solid state drive (SSD), new interfaces have come into play designed to speed up throughput, because the SATA interface has rapidly become the bottleneck in drive speed.

On the enterprise side of things, servers began using PCI Express cards for SSDs to get maximum throughput, since PCI Express offered 7.877 Gbit/s of throughput per lane and PCIe 3.0 slots could have 16 or even 32 lanes, although 16 is more common. That translates to 126Gbps, far exceeding the SATA and M.2 interfaces.

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