SATA 3 SSD vs PCIe NVMe, is it Worth the Change?

As the technology is today, it would be absurd to mount a PC that does not have an SSD . Now, among these we have to choose those with a SATA 3 interface , much cheaper and with greater capacity, or the PCIe NVMe (whether 3.0 or 4.0), much faster but also much more expensive. Assuming you already have a SATA 3 SSD but your motherboard supports a PCIe NVMe SSD, is it worth investing money to buy an NVMe SSD to swap out your current SATA 3? Let’s see it.

In this article we therefore start from the premise that you already have an SSD with SATA 3 interface, but that your motherboard supports the installation of SSDs in M.2 format with PCIe interface (either PCIe 3.0 or 4.0) NVMe, that is, we would be talking about an improvement without having to change anything other than the storage device, or motherboard or any other component.


SATA or PCIe NVMe SSD, the choice depends on your budget

As you well know, SSDs with SATA 3 interface are currently in a sweet moment. Precisely due to the arrival of the most modern PCIe NVMe SSDs, their price has dropped a lot in recent times, and 1 TB models can already be purchased for less than 100 euros in many cases, and we can even find offers with units of 2 TB for just 140 euros. It is because of this capacity / performance / price ratio that we almost always recommend these SSDs for tight budgets, but obviously a PCIe NVMe solid state device gives us much better performance.

Here you can see an example comparing a high-performance SATA 3 SSD (Corsair Neutron XTi) with a PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD (Transcend SSD 220S):

SATA 3 vs NVMe carga juegos

The performance increase is evident, and this example in terms of the time it takes for some games to load is just one of many that we could put, since the performance of these devices is superior in literally everything, except in its price per GB as already we have commented.

So is your current SSD worth changing?

When it comes to mounting a new PC from scratch, and as long as your budget allows it, our recommendation is that you do not hesitate and go for a PCIe NVMe SSD because the performance is higher in everything. Now, if you already have a SATA 3 SSD in your system, and unless it is already in the last throes of its life cycle and its performance has degraded too much, you will still have a good storage device that gives you great performance for everything that you do.

In essence, swapping a SATA 3 SSD for an NVMe one is not going to give you too tangible a difference – obviously there is a difference, but it’s not like when you have a mechanical drive and you jump to an SSD that there is an overwhelming difference – to warrant the worth the investment.

It is possible, obviously, that the SATA 3 SSD that you currently have is something old already and that therefore its capacity falls short for what you need, in which case it is likely that you want to change the SSD. If this is your case, the choice will depend on your budget or rather what you want to spend and the storage need you have; For example, if your current SSD has a capacity of 500 GB and it is too small for you, you will naturally want to buy a unit of at least 1 TB; If you choose SATA 3 for less than 100 euros, you already have more than decent devices, while if you want a PCIe NVMe SSD, you will have to spend much more money as a general rule.

In other words: if you want to change SSD because you need more space, it makes sense to invest a little more money and buy a PCIe NVMe SSD, but if your budget is somewhat short, then a SATA 3 SSD is still perfectly valid and comes out much more profitable in terms of capacity for price. If you intend to change your SATA 3 SSD for an NVMe one simply for performance, unless you are an enthusiast looking to squeeze every bit of performance out of your system, it is not something that is going to be worth it.