HDD vs SSD vs NVMe
Mechanical drives have been around for quite a while, and the fact that they are still available and used in devices being sold in 2019 is because they have two very important benefits: Hard drives are cheap and reliable.
Over the last few decades it became common for lots of users to wait a few years until you were able to get a lot more space for the same amount of money. What $100 would get you in 2018 was exponentially larger in storage than the hard drive you would get in 1995. But the fact is, hard drives haven’t gotten much faster over decades.
That’s where SSDs come in.
SSD (Solid state drives) are memory based and, in most cases, work using the same interfaces as mechanical drives, making the upgrade a breeze. If you have an older laptop or desktop computer and you are thinking about upgrading the storage or just want to speed things up a little, take a look at the tests we ran between different storage options.
Fortnite: SSD vs HDD vs NVMe on a PC
There are many ways to test the performance of a drive and to compare against older and newer technologies but one very common comparison is the performance during game loading times.
Please note that a faster drive won’t give your game higher frame rates or increase the quality of graphics. What it will do instead is decrease the loading time. Right, the time we have to stare at the loading screen before the game starts.
NVMe: 31 seconds
SSD: 38 seconds
HDD: 54 seconds
As you may have already noticed NVMe times are cut almost by half of a mechanical drive. While NVMe drives are normally at least 10 times faster, loading a game level involves more than just loading data from storage, showing why real world tests are always necessary.
HDD vs NVMe Read/Write times
When testing pure read and write operations, the NVMe drive shows really how fast it is. When a regular mechanical drive would top at around 150 MB/s, a newer NVMe would achieve close to 3400 MB/s. Yup! over 20 times faster.
The following image shows Crystal Disk Mark on an NVMe and SSD drives respectively.
Can I upgrade my HDD to a SSD?
Yes you can. Most SSD use the common SATA interface we’ve using for years and replacing it may be as simple as removing the older HDD and connecting the new SSD. That said, you may need to reinstall your operating system later.
Can I upgrade a HDD to an NVMe ?
Depends on your system. Lots of laptops and desktops come with NVMe interfaces but without the actual drive. In those cases you can buy and install a drive easily. If your desktop computer doesn’t come with an NVMe interface, you can still install them with adapters.
StarTech has a PCI Express adapter for two M2 drives that support NVMe or SSD drives using the M2 interface. For this particular one, you will need to use a PCIe slot from your motherboard, that leaves the solution to be Desktop only.
If you need a solution for laptops, you can use an external enclosure, though you will limited by the speed of USB.
Should I upgrade?
It depends on how you use your computer. For regular browsing you won’t see many improvements other than starting up and booting your machine. But for disk intensive tasks like gaming, video editing, photo editing, software development and many other workflows the difference will be very noticeable.
If you are currently using a mechanical drive in your PC, upgrading to SSD or NVMe will give your machine a much faster feel and may extend its life, hopefully, by a few years.