HDD vs SSD vs NVMe

We provide a detailed explanation between Hard Drives, SSD and NVMe drives so you can decide which is best for you.

Server Shelf

Knowing the difference between all the different storage drives can be confusing. We've helped simplify them by explaining and comparing each of them. With the significant performance differences between hard drives, SSD and NVMe drives, it's important to know the difference so your site can benefit from them.

SATA Hard Drives

SATA Hard Drives

Traditional hard disk drives (HDD) are well-known as they have been around for over 50 years. HDDs rely on spinning disks, or platters, to read and write data which makes them physically limited to how fast they can perform read and write operations. These days, most people are now using SSD for typical storage sizes as they are significantly faster for about the same price. Hard drives are generally only used in budget systems or big data backup solutions where using hard drives is more cost effective.

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NVMe SSD

SATA SSD (Solid State Drive)

Solid State Drives (SSD) have quickly become the standard and successor over traditional hard drives. SSD use NAND-Flash memory which is similar to what is used in USB drives and do not use any moving pasts which allow it to perform much faster than a typical hard drive disk limited to 7200RPM. SSD’s can generally cost the same as hard drives for typical storage sizes making it an easy choice due to its significantly faster speeds. We suggest using SSD for all server needs as it offers a perfect combination of cost and performance. For those looking for something even faster, check out NVMe drives explained below.

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Solid State SSD

NVMe SSD (Non-Volatile Memory Express)

NVMe SSD drives are the latest technology and offer the fastest transfer and I/O speeds. In fact, they’re about 6x faster than traditional SATA SSD. Hard Drives and traditional SSD use SATA III ports which max out at a throughput of 600MB/s and limits their speeds. By using this connection, most SSDs will provide read and write speeds of about 500 MB/s. For comparison, a 7200 RPM hard drive manages around 100MB/s depending on age, condition, and level of fragmentation. NVMe SSD on the other hand use multiple PCI-e lanes that allow it to provide throughput speeds as high as 3500MB/s. That’s 35x faster than hard drives and 7x faster than SATA SSDs!

Comparison Between Hard Drives, SSD and NVMe

  • Interface Type
  • Read/Write Speeds
  • IOPS
  • Reliability (MTBF)
  • Available Capacities
  • Hot-Swap Capable
  • Average 500GB Drive Price
  • S.M.A.R.T Support
  • PassMark Benchmark Score
  • Hard Drive

    • SATA-III
    • Around 130 MB/s
    • Up to 100 IOPS
    • About 50,000 Hours
    • 500GB - 12TB
    • $40.00
    • 1040
  • SATA SSD

    • SATA-III
    • Around 500 MB/s
    • Up to 100,000 IOPS
    • 1.5 Million Hours
    • 250GB - 4TB
    • $65.00
    • 4737
  • NVMe SSD

    • PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
    • 3,500 MB/s
    • Up to 500,000 IOPS
    • 1.5 Million Hours
    • 250GB - 2TB
    • No - U.2 Format Only
    • $100.00
    • 21,975