PCIe vs SATA Interface : Deep Analysis and Use Cases

by Regina Sutton

Over the past few years, Solid State Drives (SSD) have been improved a lot. Today, you can afford what used to be unaffordable back then. But, this immense evolution of the Solid State Drives has also cause equally immense confusion regarding the different types of SSD and its interfaces. Although, the range of SSD interfaces available is vast, SATA, NVMe, and M.2 based SSDs are considered to be the best Solid State Drives available till now. Also, the difference between the performances of each is quite hard to tell. Hence, people cannot decide between the respective SSDs, easily.

Are you also confused about which SSD is the best fit for you? Then keep reading, because we have figured it all out for you. In this article, we are going to talk about the two primary interfaces, SATA, and PCI Express (PCIe).

What are the Basic Differences b/w SATA and PCIe?

Serial ATA (SATA), and Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) are the most used interfaces in the market, today. Talking about the differences between both, there is a lot of basic information that we would like to share with you.

Following are the sole differences between SATA and PCIe:

1. The Connectivity

The Connectivity
The Connectivity



The Serial ATA (SATA) interface is an old player of this game. It has been around for a long time now. You must be familiar with the cables that we used to connect the mechanical hard drives of our device, right? Those exact cables are also used for the SSDs based on SATA.

When we talk about the Gbps, SATA III, the latest iteration of the respective interface has a maximum throughput of 6 Gbps. The 6 Gbps is almost equivalent to 600 MB per second in real time performance.

Since the fair limit of manufacturers who are making the SATA based drives, and also the popularity of each, the SSDs which are based on SATA III interface are lowly prices as compared to others.

When we talk about the size, these SSDs are usually 2.5 inches long in size, and also, you can buy them online for just $50.

The Peripheral Component Interconnect Express is based on a card format. This card format is further based on a high speed serial expansion. The PCIe interface used point-to-point architecture. Do you know about the interface which we use to connect our graphic cards? Yeah, right! Both are the same interfaces.

The mechanisms works in accordance with the expansion slot on the motherboard of your device. How? The PCIe based SSDs are supposed to plug into that motherboard expansion slot. The respective expansion slot on the motherboard provides both, the data, and also the power connections.

If we talk about the bandwidth limit, PCIe based SSDs support more bandwidth. Thanks to the faster signaling and multiple lanes, if compared to the SATA interface based SSDs.


The SATA counterparts use cables to build a connection with the motherboard, and this leads to high latency. Whereas, the PCIe interface based SSDs get to maintain a direct connection with the peripheral. Hence, the PCIe performs better than the SATA interface based SSDs, if we talk about the connection.

2. Performance



SATA III has an output of 6 Gbps or 600 MB per second. Since in the real world performance, the SATA interface based SSDs perform with a speed of about 550 MB per second, the SATA III interface is considered to be a bottleneck for the SSDs.

The two lanes of PCIe 3.0 are able to serve the user with the 3 times of the performance of SATA III interface based SSDs., and that at nearly 2000 MB per second. Not to mention that all of the mentioned tasks would be done with the consumption of just 4% more power than a SATA III SSD.


When compared, even the cheapest of the PCIe interface based SSDs will provide you with a distinguishably better performance than the SATA based SSDs.

If you have high requirements, and you want to experience a limitless performance, we suggest you to choose the PCIe interface based SSDs. Otherwise, the choice is yours to make.

3. Pricing



The price range of the SATA based SSDs has noticeably come down in the market. For example, you can buy the Samsung 850 Pro, just by spending approximately $1000 for the 2TB variant.

The pricing is based on the storage space you need, usually. For example, for the 2 TB variant, the Samsung 960 pro SSD would cost you an almost estimate of $1200.

The pricing of the respective SSDs is quite high and not so easy to afford. Considering that your computer, laptop, cell phones already cost to a fair amount of money, you might want to save a portion of the money you have.


The PCIe interface based SSDs are costly, if compared to the SATA based SSDs. But, every good thing comes with a price. Thus, if you want to have the best, you would have to spend money for it, because in today's world, it is almost an impossible task to get something good for free. Since the pricing difference is considerably high, the choice is totally yours to make.

Would you like to know something more about these SSDs? We have got you! Following are the additional details of each of the respective SSDs.


The SATA III SSDs are usually available in the form factor of 2.5 inches. This form factor helps in utilizing the cables to build a stable connection with the motherboard. But, this might as well result in the high latency. Such high latency can further lead to the bad effect on the maximum potential of the SSD.

In compact devices such as laptops, a new form factor has been introduced. This is the M.2 factor slot. This factor slot helps in installing the smaller SSDs in laptops, etc. There are also different kinds of motherboard available. Talking about the ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX ones, the M.2 factor slot has been introduced to all of them. Also, the mentioned motherboards are used on desktops as well.

There is a huge messy confusion built up in the brains of the users regarding the M.2 slot. If you are also one of those confused people, believe us when we say that it all depends on the motherboard you have. Hence, in such a situation, you shall rather collect information about the range of motherboards available.

It does not matter if you are buying a Samsung 850 EVO SSD in a 2.5 inch form or an M.2 form factor. Regardless of the form, either of them is going to serve you with the max out at SATA III 600 MB per second speed.


One of the rapidly developing communication protocols is the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe). It helps in a better high speed, also an effective one, of a PCIe bus in a computer.

As we have mentioned it earlier as well, the PCIe interfaces are the same to be used by the graphic card, Thunderbolt, and soundcards. PCIe 3.0 serves its users with a range of 1 GB/s per lane. Not to mention that if you're seeking a 4 times better package, then all what you have to do is insert a card in a four-lane slot. This way, you will get a 4 times increased bandwidth limit, and that at nearly 4 GB/s.

Now, if compared to the SATA based SSDs, the above mentioned speed is drastically fast. If you have heard about the AHCI protocol, you must also know that the NVMe is considered to be its replacement in the market.

Which SSD Interface Should you Go for? PCIe or SATA?

Well, if you haven't missed any detail we have provided you with, then you would have made your mind up till now. Considering that it is completely your choice to select the SSD for your device, you shall keep your necessities in your mind. Whichever interface based SSD fulfills your requirements, get it for yourself.

If you are still seeking somebody else's verdict on which one to choose, then we would say that if you are willing to get an interfaced SSD on a decent price, while being on budget, then you can go for the SATA interface based SSD. Whereas, if you are willing to get something which would turn it all up a notch, allowing you to enjoy an insanely great performance along with a great memory storage, and if you can afford it without cancelling the next few outings with your friends, then you can buy the PCIe based SSDs.

Let us know which SSD you chose for yourself, and why. We love to listen to you. Also, let us know if this article helped you out in making such an important decision, because your feedback means so much to us! It is good to do some research on the products before you buy them, but always remember that the choice should be made by you, because you know the best about what you need.

Good Luck!

About Regina Sutton

Regina's blogging journey began several years ago when she started a personal blog as a creative outlet. Her unique perspective, combined with her ability to engage readers through her words, quickly gained attention and a loyal following. As her blog gained popularity, Regina expanded her content to cover various topics, including travel, lifestyle, fashion, and self-improvement.

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