How to know if drive A (SSD) is really faster than drive B (NVME)

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  1. Posts : 221
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       #1

    How to know if drive A (SSD) is really faster than drive B (NVME)


    Hi, I've got 2 inertnal SSD hard drives being used as part of my music studio, where I'm trying to get the quickest load/read times possible. These drives are not being written to - just read. Upon loading audio samples into my digital instruments, I'm not sure if I can tell a difference between the regular SSD drive and the NMVE one.

    Is there a way to see some data/numbers rather than just rely on what I'm perceiving as "not much difference"?
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  2. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,723
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #2

    orlando1974 said:
    Is there a way to see some data/numbers rather than just rely on what I'm perceiving as "not much difference"?
    I use CrystalDiskMark, the portable apps version is here:

    CrystalDiskMark Portable (disk benchmark utility) | PortableApps.com
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  3. Posts : 221
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    Thread Starter
       #3

    Thanks!
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  4. Pejole2165's Avatar
    Posts : 747
    Windows 10 Pro 1909
       #4

    The thing with SSDs is that the manufacturers sell them based on the sequential read/ write speeds, the truth is that most users will be reading/ writing much smaller files and the important spec of SSDs to be aware of is the random read/ write speeds as this has the most effect on average use cases. If your samples are less than say 500 Mb in size, you won't necessarily see a difference as 2.5" SATA SSDs top out about 540 Mb/s. If your samples are over say 1 Gb or greater in size then you might notice a difference with the NVME pulling ahead.
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  5. Posts : 221
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    Thread Starter
       #5

    Pejole2165 said:
    If your samples are less than say 500 Mb in size, you won't necessarily see a difference as 2.5" SATA SSDs top out about 540 Mb/s. If your samples are over say 1 Gb or greater in size then you might notice a difference with the NVME pulling ahead.
    So glad you chimed in! Looking at my sample libraries, I've got samples between 500kb (wav & ncw) and 1.95GB (nkx) - the latter number appearing to be the max size allowed by Native Instruments, though it could just be a coincidence. Regardless, I never knew there could be such a massive difference in the file size of the samples used by my libraries!

    Sounds to me then that if I really want to optimize (especially if I'm noticing glitches), I should put those libraries that have samples of 1GB + on the NVM if possible, with the understanding that it may or may not make a "significant" difference - depending on the "random read" specs of each drive.
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  6. sygnus21's Avatar
    Posts : 5,381
    Win 10 Pro (x64) 20H2 (19042.928)
       #6

    orlando1974 said:
    Sounds to me then that if I really want to optimize (especially if I'm noticing glitches), I should put those libraries that have samples of 1GB + on the NVM if possible, with the understanding that it may or may not make a "significant" difference - depending on the "random read" specs of each drive.
    Honestly in real world use it won't make a huge difference. I'd personally leave the all the files on one drive. Which drive is up to you but keep the files together.

    As a photographer processing files anywhere from 70meg to 2Gig I keep all my files on a second NVME drive in my system. The first MVME drive is the OS drive. But honestly I could have put them on any one of my other 3 SATA SSD in the system probably wouldn't notice a significant difference. BTW before I had dual NVME drives my photo files were on my fastest SATA SSD drive, and NOT on the OS NVMe drive as that would have eaten a lot of space there.

    That said, understand not all NVME or SATA SSD drives offer top performance. Thus there is the possibility that a high end SATA SSD outperforms a low level NVME drive.

    Yes, NVME drives offer higher throughput speeds than SATA SSD's but other factors in the system could equalize that difference between them. And again, the quality of the drives also factor.

    At the end of the day there are way too many factors that can play with speeds and thus why vendors use the term "up to" when discussing speed performance.

    My two cents.
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  7. Posts : 221
    10
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Ok, I did measured random reads for 1GB using their default values and these are the results for the 3 drives I use in the studio. Does anything look off?

    My 7200 RPM HDD:
    How to know if drive A (SSD) is really faster than drive B (NVME)-2020-03-08_random-read_samplelibraries-hdd.jpg

    My Sata SSD:
    How to know if drive A (SSD) is really faster than drive B (NVME)-2020-03-08_random-read_samplelibraries-ssd.jpg

    My NVME
    How to know if drive A (SSD) is really faster than drive B (NVME)-2020-03-08_random-read_samplelibraries-nvme.jpg
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  8. sygnus21's Avatar
    Posts : 5,381
    Win 10 Pro (x64) 20H2 (19042.928)
       #8

    I'm not sure those are valid test as it looks like none of them completed. Someone with HDD's confirm this?
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  9. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,723
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #9

    sygnus21 said:
    I'm not sure those are valid test as it looks like none of them completed. Someone with HDD's confirm this?
    No, that looks like the OP just ran the last two tests. Each can be run individually by clicking its named button, only by clicking the 'All' button will all 4 tests be run.
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  10. Posts : 221
    10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    Bree said:
    No, that looks like the OP just ran the last two tests. Each can be run individually by clicking its named button, only by clicking the 'All' button will all 4 tests be run.
    Indeed, I wanted to run tests only for the value that was most relevant for my personal application.
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