New non-overclocker build, M.2 SSD opinions

I’m preparing to put together a new build mostly based off the Mid-Level Build posted on the site. In my case I have zero interest in overclocking (been there, done that). I’m only doing 1080P to a TV, so I’ll opt to keep my 750 GTX Ti for now until later this year when pascal drops (hopefully).

My only indecison comes to the SSD. Reading the specs, the Z170-A board supports PCIe x4 NVMe on the M.2 socket, yet the the listed 64MB M.2 SSD in the build uses SATA III. Looking at benchmark comparisons, there are siginificant differences in speed. So I’m leaning toward getting this instead:

I have no need of a lot of internal storage, as 256GB is more than sufficient for my gaming needs, including Star Citizen. I already have SATA drives for additional storage if I need it.

I’ll be buying a Win 10 Home license as I don’t forsee a need for pro feature on this particular system (GPO,encryption,domain,etc).

Thoughts or pitfalls here? Has anyone with Z170-A installed an M.2 card supporting this spec, or did you just get a PCI-E card?

Are you just going to use the M.2 for booting or for storage?

Both probably, but storage isn’t really a priority on this system. Between Win10, SC and few steam games, 256GB is really more than enough. A second slower drive doesn’t really serve any purpose for me here. I have a seperate media server for things like video that require lots of space.

Ok nuking your last post, hit me up if you want to know why - privately.

I’d look more at the Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB M.2

Not as “fast” but just using it you won’t be able to tell the difference between the two. Cheaper and your getting an extra 250GB.

I considered that, but I seriously don’t need the extra 250GB of storage. I’m fine spending a little for the “potential”. I know I probably will not notice much if anything for now. Thanks though.

For the most part, most people will not see the difference between a M.2 vs SATA SSD. There will be some exceptions of course but for most things it’s not noticeable…yet. I’m running a Samsung 950 Pro in both my laptop and desktop and they’re super fast but the difference is negligible right now. That being said, if you’re doing a new build and get a board with a M.2 slot on it then I’d definitely consider it.

A newer consideration too is NVME drives. They are the newer SSD tech and are all around better and a good choice if your board supports them. They are more expensive but it’s not a terrible difference. The main thing to be aware of is to make sure that you don’t get one if your board doesn’t support it. For example, the Samsung 950 Pro line is NVME and those will not work on boards that aren’t NVME compatible.

So in short, for almost everyone, traditional SSD is still the best choice. If you want M.2 make sure you don’t get a NVME if your board doesn’t support it. M.2 are great and really fast but most people won’t notice the difference.

Lastly, I’d recommend Samsung SSDs over anything else. You get the most for your money with them from my experience and research. They are the only drives I buy now. I actually use their software utilities too because they have some great performance and optimization features.

For those interested in the numbers, here are some benchmarks that I’ve done:

Samsung 3tb spinning drive
PNY 480gb
Samsung 850 Pro 128gb
Samsung 850 Pro 128gb after Magician optimizations
Samsung 950 Pro 256gb NVME

Good writeup Khronoe.

One other thing I didn’t compare too much at the time was warranty period. The 850 Pro is 10 years, while the 950 Pro is 5 years. However there is also a write limit where the 950 Pro has the advantage. Long term, not sure which is better. Kind of depends how the drive is used over the next few years. Limit may not matter for most users. I’d have to look at some real-world usage stats to know better.

Good points, but if any drive lasts more than five years I’m pretty happy haha. Ten years from now those drives are going to be irrelevant sadly. SATA SSDs have only began becoming mainstream in the last couple of years and only really started truly becoming affordable last year and are now already about to be over taken by M.2. Before M.2 there was mSATA and it’s already being phased out in favor of M.2.

Basically, what I’m saying that the warranty is important but I personally don’t find a 10 year warranty useful on this type of device simply because it won’t be useful for that long. Five years is what to look for on any of these. That being said, beware of some of the OEM packaged drives because some of those are only 90 days or 1 year. Be sure to buy the retail packaged drives to get the full warranty. That was one of the differences between the Samsung 951 and the 950 I think…the 951 was OEM and only had a three year warranty and was imported. Could be wrong on that but if I recall that was a deciding factor for me to get the 950.