The market is currently covered by SSDs of all capacities and formats, but if there are two types that clearly differ, they are the SATA and 2.5-inch format and the NVMe, with the M.2 format. The first ones were the ones that initially hit the market, and today we find them at much cheaper prices than NVMe. On the contrary, the performance of SATA SSDs is stagnant while that of NVMe is constantly increasing, and is currently up to 10 times higher.
SATA or NVMe SSD, when to invest in one or the other?
Let’s start from the assumption that you have a limited budget, let’s say 100 euros. With that money you can go for a premium 1 TB SATA 3 SSD, or a low-end, low-capacity NVMe.
The reality is that even the cheapest NVMe PCIe SSD is going to deliver more than twice the performance of the best SATA 3 SSD, but this extra performance will actually make or not a big difference in user experience depending on for what to use. For example, we already showed you in our SATA vs NVMe SSD comparison that an NVMe SSD with 3,500 MB / s of read speed did not provide much difference for gaming compared to a SATA SSD of 560 MB / s of speed.
Obviously an NVMe SSD provides lower load times, a faster boot and in general a better ease of the entire system, but the counterpart is that for the same price it offers us a much lower capacity, and in most cases (remember that we compare a high-end SSD with a low-end one) also a lower life time. However, when we talk about copying files or working with very heavy files, this is where an NVMe SSD really makes the difference and can save us a lot of time in terms of file management (we talk about audio and video editing tasks, for example ).
Thus, the choice will depend on what you are going to use the device for; In general, it is more convenient to buy a high-end SATA 3 SSD because it will provide better capacity, more durability and more options such as encryption, garbage collection etc., in exchange for not having as good performance as that provided by an NVMe lower end. On the contrary, if you intend to perform tasks with large files or are looking to rush until the last second of performance, then even the lowest-end NVMe will give you better results than a SATA SSD, but be aware of the disadvantages that this has ( less capacity, less durability, etc.).
The high end is high for a reason
In any product category, the high-end is so called not simply because it provides the best performance (which is usually the case, even a high-end SATA 3 SSD pushes the interface to the limit), but because the combination of all its characteristics is the which places it at the top of all rankings. The low-end range, on the other hand, tends to present “cheap” devices, with poor quality, concise features and in general terms, products that you later regret having bought.
In the electronics market, it is usually always more affordable to acquire the high-end of previous generations than the low-end of current generations, because you get a better and more durable product at a better price, despite perhaps not having the latest technology. that gives you access to the best performance as it happens between SATA SSDs and NVMe PCIe.