Is an nvme ssd worth it on this motherboard?

biggles

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Gigabyte Z97X-SLI rev 1.0 motherboard. Gigabyte website says max speed is 10 GB/s. It currently has a SATA 3 ssd. My understanding is that SATA 3 is 600 MB/s and NVME is 3500 MB/s. I do not know how to translate GB/s to MB/s. But I am guessing a board this old would not allow NVME to achieve its max speed. And therefore the SSD upgrade would not be worthwhile. Is this correct?

https://www.gigabyte.com/us/Motherboard/GA-Z97X-SLI-rev-10#ov
 

NoxTek

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It will take full advantage of whatever NVME SSD you want to drop in there just fine, that's why the slot is there.
 

NoxTek

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Does this mean that 10 GB/s is greater than 3500 MB/s?

ROFL, yes... 10 GB/s is 10,240MB/s.

That 10GB/s maximum is a theoretical limit, it's the limit of the 4x PCIE lanes that the NVME drive uses. Remember, an m.2 (the PCIE type, anyway) SSD essentially is a direct connection to the PCIE bus.

Long story short, the fastest NVME drives today don't come anywhere near saturating that bandwidth limit. Buy whatever PCIE / NVME m.2 SSD you want, pop it in the board, and enjoy blistering fast speeds. :)
 

biggles

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One more question, will an m.2 NVME ssd work as a boot drive on this motherboard? My understanding is that, for some of the older boards, m.2 drives would work but not as a boot drive. I could not find any notes on this on the Gigabyte website (or in the bios download, which had no included notes).
 

Kardonxt

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I run a GA-Z97N-WIFI ITX mobo and boot from a m.2 nvme ssd fine. I would suspect you will be fine, Just make sure bios is up to date.
 

IeU

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It is 10Gbit, not 10GByte, so a max of 1.250 MByte read/write.

Annotation 2020-09-05 121742.png


And from the manual:
M.2, SATA Express, and SATA3 4/5 connectors can only be used one at a time. The SATA3 4/5
connectors will become unavailable when an M.2 SSD is installed.
 

E4g1e

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Actually, no. The Z97 chipset's DMI only runs at PCI-e 2.0 x4 bandwidth. And due to the way the chipset is set up, the m.2 slot only runs at PCI-E 2.0 x2 bandwidth. What's more the m.2 bandwidth on Z97 is not 10 GB/s, but 10 Gbps - and due to the 8/10 conversion, the maximum theoretical throughput of the Z97's m.2 slot is only 1.0 GB/s. So, the Z97's m.2 slot will bottleneck the faster m.2 NVMe SSDs - but you'll notice that only in large file transfers, in which case it does not perform sufficiently better than SATA to justify the higher cost of such a drive.

Thus, Gbps /= GB/s. In fact, when it comes to storage bandwidth, GB/s = Gbps / 10.

On top of that, many lower-cost NVMe SSDs use Turbo caching to achieve their advertised write speeds. The Samsung 970 EVO Plus is a very good example of this: It can only achieve 2.6 GB/s write speeds within the cached partition. The true write speed of its NAND flash is only about 1.2 GB/s. The 970 PRO does not suffer from this because it does not use Turbo caching at all; however, it is much more expensive than the 970 EVO Plus. It also explains why the cheaper m.2 NVMe SSDs do not perform appreciably better than a SATA SSD when used as boot drives.
 
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Dan_D

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It is 10Gbit, not 10GByte, so a max of 1.250 MByte read/write.

View attachment 276461

And from the manual:
M.2, SATA Express, and SATA3 4/5 connectors can only be used one at a time. The SATA3 4/5
connectors will become unavailable when an M.2 SSD is installed.

Exactly this^

This motherboard only has 2x PCIe Gen 2.0 lanes for an NVMe / PCI-Express SSD. This only allows for a transfer rate of around 1,000MB/s or 10Gb/s. It's 1,250MB/s per the math, but in actuality its around 1,000MB/s due to overhead. This was normal for Z97 based boards back in the day. Very few M.2 implementations back in the day offered 4x PCIe lanes for M.2 devices. You almost never saw it on anything outside of X99 chipset based motherboards. And no, they do not all allow you to use NVMe drives as a boot device.
 
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E4g1e

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Exactly this^

This motherboard only has 2x PCIe Gen 2.0 lanes for an NVMe / PCI-Express SSD. This only allows for a transfer rate of around 1,000MB/s or 10Gb/s. It's 1,250MB/s per the math, but in actuality its around 1,000MB/s due to overhead. This was normal for Z97 based boards back in the day. Very few M.2 implementations back in the day offered 4x PCIe lanes for M.2 devices. You almost never saw it on anything outside of X99 chipset based motherboards. And no, they do not all allow you to use NVMe drives as a boot device.
Very, very true. This conversion is called "8b/10b encoding." And due to that, 1.0 GB/s is the most that one would ever see out of that Z97 m.2 port even for reads. Writes are usually lower than reads, so the maximum write speed of any NVMe SSD in that socket would only be around 900 MB/s.

With the advent of PCI-E 3.0, the translation is changed from "8b/10b encoding" to "128b/130b encoding." So, the maximum theoretical throughput of a typical PCI-E 3.0 x4 m.2 socket would be 3.94 GB/s.

At any rate, none of the Z97 BIOSes ever allowed booting from an m.2 device, whether SATA or PCI-E. This capability was not added on mainstream Intel platforms until Skylake with its 100-series chipsets.

So, in the case of the OP, he would be better off sticking entirely to the 2.5" SATA form factor for SSDs. And the 80-series chipsets (in particular, the H87 and the Z87) are the first line of Intel chipsets that enabled SATA III (6.0 Gbps) support on all six ports, not just the first two ports (as it was on the Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge chipsets). The budget H81 chipset is still restricted to SATA II (3.0 Gbps) support.
 
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biggles

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OP here. First of all, I have upgraded computer hardware and given away the old parts to a family member. But the big learning lesson here was the importance of case sensitivity. GB = gigabyte, Gb = gigabit, correct? I was not being precise before with these 2 related but very different words.
 
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