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Which NVME M.2 SSD should I buy?  



I am in the market for a new M.2 Nvme SSD but I don't know which one to get, there are so many available. I know I don't want to get the Samsung 970 Series because they are TOO EXPENSIVE! But how can I tell the good ones from the bad ones. Like which specs are most important? Random read, Random write, Max Read or Max Write, QLC vs TLC vs MLC. There are too many options and I need to narrow it down. My use cases are content creation for youtube/gaming(starting a gaming youtube channel) so i'll be recording and editing video alot aswell as gaming. I am also dabling/playing with a little game development with things such as blender an unreal and stuff like that. I know I need 1TB plus. 

This topic was modified 6 months ago by x_ray_d_8


You can read about multi-level cell (MLC) technology on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-level_cell
I would like to add that, in theory, the less levels the more reliable it is.


You think Samsung 970 is too expensive even though it's one of the cheapest around?
What do you have right now? Perhaps a SATA drive will be sufficient? I use Samsung 860 EVO in M.2 format. It's slower and cheaper than the 970.
One value I look at when comparing SSDs is the TBW value, which principally is a (relative) metric on how long you can expect to keep the drive before it goes bad. QLC is in that respect worse than TLC.

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Hi x_ray_d_8

I can imagine anyone being confused when trying to find the right M.2 NVMe SSD.
It depends on what you want to use the drive for.
Unfortunately, most only look at the stats that are floating around the net or are just repeated by some less informed YouTubers and that is usually just sequential read and write, because they are the highest4 and therefore most impressive stats.
Now if the drive is meant to be ie. a scratch-disk for serious 4k or 8k video editing, then go for a PCIe-4 (assuming you have an X570 or TR-X40 motherboard) drive with high sequential read and write stats.

If however, like most people looking for a new M.2 NVMe SSD, you're looking for a new OS or Games drive, then the sequential read and write speed are totally negligible.
In such cases the random 4k Q1T1 (Que depth 1, Thread 1) Read Speed is most important, assuming you are using your PC and the Drive like most, alone without anyone else having simultaneous access to the drive.

Random 4k Q1T1 speed of M.2 NVMe drives is faster than for all other kinds of drives, it's not very impressive, at least not the affordable ones.

For instance, my PCIe-3 1TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus you mentioned on an Aorus X570 Master, 3950X and 32GB 3600 CL16 DDR4, sequential Read speed in Crystal Disk Mark is 3575 MB/s, write is 3343 MB/s.
Random 4k Q1T1 read speed is 73.25 MB/s and write is 203MB/s
It cost me EUR 200
I also have a PCIe-3 2TB Intel 660P in the same system, Seq. Read is 1940MB/s, write is 1943 MB/s.
Random 4k Q1T1 read speed is 63MB/s, write is 184 MB/s.
It cost me also EUR 200.

So for the same price I got a drive that is twice the size and only 14% slower in Random 4k Q1T1 read.

I'm using the Samsung for my OS, the 660p for a games drive.

If money is no object and you want the absolute fastest OS/Games NVMe SSD, nothing beats the PCI-e NVMe 960 GB Intel 905P Optane, 4k Q1T1 Read speed is about 210 MB/s, 3 times as fast as the Samsung 970 Evo Plus, but the 905P costs about EUR 1450.

So if you want the best bang for the buck, get an Intel 660p.


Wow, I didn't know that random read/write was so low on SSDs. In that case one could just as well use a 2.5" SATA SSD and be fine in most common cases.


But game assets can be pretty big these days. Wouldn't sequential read/write speed have a positive impact on that? Then again, the SATA limitation still gives a lot of room, much more than the random read/write.


Sequential read has no impact on game loading times.

The reason is that either games come with a lot of small files or if it has some large texture or level files, it's not all loaded in one go, but only those parts needed.

Anyway, go on Youtube and look at HDD-SATA SSD-NVMe SSD game start comparisons.

You'll find that of course there is a big difference between HDD and SSD loading times, but between SATA SSD and NVMe SSD the loading times are often within a second or 2.

Where you'll really benefit from fast sequential read/write speeds, is when copying single multi-100GB files from one drive to another, or as a scratch disk for 4k/8k video editing.

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