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Everything you need to know about NVMe

Jon L. Jacobi | April 6, 2015
As SSDs become more common, you'll also hear more about Non-Volatile Memory Express, a.k.a. NVM Express, or more commonly--NVMe. NVMe is a communications interface/protocol developed specially for SSDs by a consortium of vendors including Intel, Samsung, Sandisk, Dell, and Seagate.

Until then, there are viable ways around your PC's storage bottleneck, if indeed you consider 500MBps a bottleneck. One is RAID 0. While a single SATA port is limited to 600GBps, combining four makes for 2.4GBps of bandwidth. In real life, the DMI bus behind the SATA throttles this to 2GBps, and SATA/RAID overhead reduces that to about 1.4GBps, but it's still a hefty improvement.

A second option is a PCIe M.2 SSD such as Plextor's M6e, and Kingston's HyperX Predator SSD. Most PCIe M.2 drives are also available on inexpensive adapter cards that let you use them in PCIe slots if your motherboard lacks a M.2 connector. We've seen 1.4GBps to 1.6GBps from these — a significant boost and a bit faster than the RAID 0 setups we've used. They're not cheap, but the introduction of Intel's relatively affordable 750 is bound to push prices down.

That's what you can do for now. But according to nearly every vendor we talked to, you can expect to see NVMe hit the market in scale later this year. It's just too much of an improvement.


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