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Home » NVMe Vs PCIE SSDs: Key Differences

NVMe Vs PCIE SSDs: Key Differences

Both NVMe and PCIe SSds have lightening fast speeds and are widely considered for specific purposes. However, computer enthusiasts are often confused about which one to choose when it comes to NVMe Vs PCIe SSDs.

HDD ( traditional hard drive ) is a good option for storage of data and they are pocket friendly too. However, SSDs on the other side are a little more expensive than HDDs but they are worth every single penny. HDD allows you a larger capacity than SSD but in terms of speed, latency, and compatibility, SSD is the clear winner.

There are different types of SSD:

  • M.2 
  • S.2
  • PCIe SSD
  • NVMe SSD

In this article, we will discuss the intricacy of the NVMe SSDs and PCIe SSDs. 

NVMe and the Concept Of NVMe SSDs 

Data management plays a crucial role in a business, no matter how gigantic or compact your business is. With an increase in technology and business expansion, there is also an increase in threats with respect to your business, which is why preserving your data is pivotal. NVMe comes into the role here and has wholly transformed data management.

NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express, also known as Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface Specification ( NVMHCIS ) or an upscaled version of NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access ).

In simpler language, it is a present-day protocol for amping up the speed and managing storage in your computers to work efficiently. It accesses non-volatile storage in computers at high speed and is known for storage, speed, and compatibility.

NVMe is a pulverized version of SSDs best known for lower latencies and high bandwidth. It uses PCIe, which solves thousands of commands at a single time and is more fast-paced than hard disks and regular all-flash architectures, which are capable of handling a single queue at a time. 

Why are NVMe SSDs Preferred Over Other SSDs?

  • Unlike AHCI drivers that communicate with SATA, NVMe contacts directly with the CPU, which helps to enhance the speed as they are compatible together. 
  • It uses PCIe sockets, which as a result enables 25x more data transfer as compared to SATA.
  • Commands of NVMe are faster in comparison to AHCI drivers.
  • Lower latencies as compared to SAS and SATA due to the use of high-performance processor architectures. 
  • It is capable of accessing multiple queues at a single time ( up to 64k queues ) 
  • NVMe is designed especially for SSD and for a brisk performance than AHCI drivers, which were designed for traditional hard drives. 
  • NVMe commands use low CPU cycles with a lower latency of 2.8 microseconds whereas AHCI drivers use high CPU cycles with a latency of 6 microseconds. 

PCIe and the Concept of PCIe SSDs

PCI stands for peripheral component interconnect express. It is a standard interface that connects internal high-speed components to your motherboard. It is basically a connection that binds a computer’s motherboard to peripheral devices and to connect them, you have to plug a PCIe card into the PCIe slot. 

A Peripheral device is an internal or external device that connects to a computer or a laptop and is referred to as an electromagnetic or electromechanical device as they require conversion of signal values. Graphics cards, network interface cards ( NICs ), storage accelerator devices, and other peripherals are some examples of peripheral devices that use PCIe for data transfer. 

PCIe has switched architecture and up to 32 serial lanes that transfer data parallelly. These 32 different lanes are stationed 1, 2,3…. till 32. Each lane has 2 pairs of wires, one for receiving and the second one for transmitting. These lanes play a vital role in performance and data delivery. NICs use 4 lanes, hence their speed and performance differ from a PCIe. GPUs require a PCIe x 16 slots to set off. 

Increased bandwidth means higher performance. So, you can consider staying up to date with the latest generation PCIe card available, which grants you the highest possible bandwidth. However, you have to make sure that your motherboard supports that particular card. If you are choosing the latest generation PCIe card and your motherboard doesn’t support the card of that particular generation and has no free slots (for example – 126 Gbit/s in the x16 slot ), it is going to be in vain. 

Modern-day PCIe is designed to take over older PCI, PCI-X, and AGP bus standards in terms of lower latency speed, and larger data transfer. Updated PCIe has superseded preceding versions of PCI as it includes lower I/O pin count, smaller physical footprint, maximum system bus throughput, comprehensive error correction, advanced reporting mechanism, native hot-swap functionality, and hardware support I/O virtualization. PCIe has 5 generations and the main difference between these 5 generations is their speed and data transfer rate. The newest generation PCIe 4.0 allows you 16 Giga transfers per second per lane. 

Difference Between NVMe and PCIe SSDs

Looking at the discussion above, NVMeVs PCIe SSDs seem to nip and tuck. After reading about  NVMe and PCIe intricately, you might be wondering how are these two different from each other as both of them are known for high-end performances. Are these two interlinked or do they work separately? 

They might be closely related, nonetheless, there are a few things that make them different from each other.    

In the points below, we are going to discuss the major differences between these two. 

  • NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express and PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express.
  • PCIe is a standard bus interface or a connection ( in a simpler language ) that communicates directly with the CPU Whereas, NVMe is a transfer protocol that uses NAND flash made especially for high-storage media devices like SSDs.
  • NVMe is an alternative to SATA and SAS. On the other hand, modern-day PCIe has overruled PCI, PCI-X, and AGP.
  • PCIe can be used in all computer applications ( since it is an interface, which is used to connect modern expansion cards like sound cards, ethernet cards, etc. to the CPU or motherboard ), while Usage of NVMe is restricted to high-performance computing applications.


In a nutshell, there may be a few differences that both NVMe and PCIe share but they are not opposed to each other. On the contrary, NVMe uses PCIe, they are interconnected as NVMe uses PCIe rails to deliver speed and reliability. With the help of PCIe, NVMe reaches directly to the processor or the motherboard. They both together play a major role in speedy data configuration and transfer.