PCIe4 SSDs

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alistercat

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Having done my first major upgrade in 10 years, the motherboard I purchased has a PCIe4 M2 slot. As I understand it, the speeds are double that of PCIe3 and 12x a SATA SSD (which is what I currently have). I only have a single M2 slot so I want to be confident in my purchase as I won't be able to replace the drive in the future without getting rid of it. However, the Samsung 980 Pro is their only 4 drive, and it costs £210 for 1TB.

Is this a bad time to be looking at PCIe 4 drives?

Is it worth the 70%~ price increase? Otherwise I'm looking at the 970 Evo.

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sanderjk

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I "only" have a PCIe3 SSD, but my opinion would be no.

Here's my reasoning, which I used last year when upgrading:

The upgrade from HDD to SSD is huge. It is a 10x speed increase in load times, which returns into insanely faster boot speeds (Windows10 is fickle, but if you reboot often 10 seconds is about the region you end up with), really snappy desktop performance, where every app opens in a few seconds. And load times in games that are often between 0.1x and 0.5x of what they were before SSDs.

The upgrade from SATA to NVME is incremental. It is roughly a doubling, and maybe shaves a second here and there in realtime performance.

To spend additional money even faster NVME seems like it is better spent elsewhere in the system. Or doubling the SSD size instead, which means that you spend less time managing drive space.

Adding additional faster load times only helps if that is still the bottleneck. And even if it is, if a single player games goes from a 30 second load to a 5 second load that's great. The difference between a 5s load and a 3s load is much less impactful.

Of course in most multiplayer games load times matter even less because you're then stuck waiting for other people to load in.

The new console generation is able to take advantage of very high throughput SSDs because every console has it. This makes for really different restrictions about what can be expected to be loading into memory within a certain timeframe. But PC game makers can't really trust that, so any game designed for PC probably won't operate (much) in the "3gbs expected SSD to VRAM" space. Additionally, PC motherboards and software isn't really designed for that either, becoming bottlenecks.

That may change in the future (I believe AMD is sorting towards connecting SSDs more directly to the GPU instead of the motherboard, since for gaming the vast amount of data transfer is SSD -> GPU), but with current hardware you are basically gambling that software upgrades are going to be good enough for a long time, which is always dubious.

This may change if you have a special usecase, usually from your work. If you are constantly moving very large files around, or accessing very large files (say as a video editor), then the more speed the better.

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frytup

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#3  Edited By frytup

It's not really a great time to be buying any PC hardware. Lots of stuff overpriced or simply unavailable. But if this is an upgrade you need to do now, there are several manufacturers offering PCIe 4 SSDs. Have a look at Sabrent, Aorus, and Corsair.

Those drives will be cheaper then the Samsung, but they're also slower. This is evolving tech, and the first generation drives are just not that great.

Will you notice a difference over PCIe 3 for current games? Probably not much. There are no PC games that require PCIe 4, and I doubt there will be any time soon. That said, right now a first gen PCIe 4 SSD is probably a decent price/performance value between the PCIe 3 drives and the currently very expensive second gen PCIe 4.

FWIW, I have a Sabrent Rocket 4 1TB I bought a year ago for $180. That drive is down to around $160 now assuming you can find it. No complaints, and I don't see the need to upgrade in the near future.

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MeierTheRed

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It's not worth it if the only purpose for it, is storing games. If you intend on moving 8K RAW footage or files in a similar size category then the situation might be different.

But your games will not load any faster with PCIe Gen 4 then with a good PCIe 3 NVME or SSD.

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frytup

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But your games will not load any faster with PCIe Gen 4 then with a good PCIe 3 NVME or SSD.

Not technically true, but the difference in so small in most current games it's not worth discussing.

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MeierTheRed

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@frytup said:
@meierthered said:

But your games will not load any faster with PCIe Gen 4 then with a good PCIe 3 NVME or SSD.

Not technically true, but the difference in so small in most current games it's not worth discussing.

Speaking from my own experience. 1-2 seconds or sometimes even in the 0.6 differential. It is not worth that extra money. Just get a good SSD or Gen 3 NVME.

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#7  Edited By OurSin_360

FYI they do make converters so you can run it through the pcie4 port as well if you wanted to keep the drive and use another one in the future. I don't know how well they work though, but that's something to consider. I just got a "slow" nvme and it's dope IMO, it's still twice as fast as an ssd. Cost me 85$ for 1 tb.

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Should be noted that unless you have a Ryzen 3000 or 5000 series processor, your system won't support PCIe4 even if the motherboard does. I believe the next gen Intels will have that support, but those aren't out until later this year. I suppose it will still work, just not with the fastest speeds.

My advise would be to not get one right now, unless you get a particularly good deal on it. It may be nice to have for the future, but you can always buy more storage later.

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In my case, just by changing to an SSD there is no difference in speed, M2 will evolve motherboards in the future I imagine that they will only come with M2

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alistercat

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@oursin_360: Hearing there are converters is good to know! Thanks.

@apewins said:

Should be noted that unless you have a Ryzen 3000 or 5000 series processor, your system won't support PCIe4 even if the motherboard does. I believe the next gen Intels will have that support, but those aren't out until later this year. I suppose it will still work, just not with the fastest speeds.

My advise would be to not get one right now, unless you get a particularly good deal on it. It may be nice to have for the future, but you can always buy more storage later.

I do have a 3700X Ryzen. I will probably wait a little longer.

It's not worth it if the only purpose for it, is storing games. If you intend on moving 8K RAW footage or files in a similar size category then the situation might be different.

But your games will not load any faster with PCIe Gen 4 then with a good PCIe 3 NVME or SSD.

It was more forward thinking than that. I don't expect them to load any faster right now, but I was reading about it being more comparable to current console speeds. Meaning PC ports of those games. I could always upgrade if that becomes the case though.

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rorie

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#11 rorie  Staff

What I heard about the early PCIe4 was that they had heat issues. I have a compatible mobo but I didn't want to deal with the heatsink so I just kept my usual m.2 and it's been fine!

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Corvak

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It's still not enough to matter, in terms of pure load times. Going from HDD to SSD probably took a lot off of your loads, but going from an older SATA SSD to an M.2 is barely noticeable. I'd prioritize size over speed now, because once theres a noticeable difference, every SSD will be PCIE 4.0.

The big thing a lot of people are waiting on is Direct Storage, set to come to Windows this year. DirectStorage is coming to PC | DirectX Developer Blog (microsoft.com)

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@corvak said:

It's still not enough to matter, in terms of pure load times. Going from HDD to SSD probably took a lot off of your loads, but going from an older SATA SSD to an M.2 is barely noticeable. I'd prioritize size over speed now, because once theres a noticeable difference, every SSD will be PCIE 4.0.

The big thing a lot of people are waiting on is Direct Storage, set to come to Windows this year. DirectStorage is coming to PC | DirectX Developer Blog (microsoft.com)

Bingo, DirectStorage is the thing to wait for (same concept as the Series X / PS5 solid state architecture, but for Windows).

For those commenting that there is very little difference going from an SSD to a PCIe4 m2 card, you're absolutely correct. I've done that exact migration because I needed a bigger hard-drive for my OS and figured hey, why not future-proof myself by going to PCIe4. The difference in general performance and load / boot times is pretty negligable. There was a non-zero improvement, because I had a fairly old SSD, but it wasn't a gamechanger.

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alistercat

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@tebbit: @corvak: Yes, I had been keeping an eye on that since that seems like the ideal solution, though who knows the reality of pricing yet. I've been convinced that the speed increase won't mean much compared to direct storage, even if they port over games that take advantage of it. So I'll just get a generation 3 for my boot drive, and current SSD for storage.