C:11/12 - NVMe M.2 OS Drive instead of SSD SATA III - Worth It?

I know this subject has been discussed - I read the thread on someone building a brand new system here and elsewhere (I have NI Komplete Kontakt 13), but budget doesn’t allow me to do this.

I’m running out of space on my 256 Gb Samsung Evo SSD III OS (Windows 10), need to got to 1 Tb. I try to keep about 20% space free, but recent EZDrummer 3 upgrade knocked it down to 10%.

I have already done some content transfers including Steinberg and some Kontakt off of the OS to a separate drive, but it’s starting to become a headache. One small mistake and content is offline.

Since I’ve been using Samsung for ages, I’m sticking to it, and the two contenders that are priced exactly the same are:

Samsung 870 EVO SATA III SSD 1TB
Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB NVMe M.2

I already use I Tb Evo for my Cubase and other media progs (Magix Vegas Pro NLE video editor - which I don’t use much).

From what I’ve read at the Native Instruments community forum, NVMe M.2 won’t change much, regardless of the stated 6.2 x faster read/write rates., but then the minutia of benchmarking can go over my head.

I have one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot that would be used for an NVMe.

Last, due to my MSI mobo (older B450 GAMING PLUS with Ryzen 5 1600 with 36 Gb 3200 DDR5), using a NVMe will mean I lose two SATA connections. I only use 5 out of 6 in normal workflow mode, but my brain can’t figure out what this will mean:

If this loss where not the case (as in newer mobos) would it mean: 1 NVMe + 6 SATA + = 7 total?

But in my situation is it:

1 NVme minus 2 SATA = 4 SATA + 1 NVMe = 5 total - or will I be reduced to 4 total? Sorry for being dense here, I’m just confused.

First issue is of course performance - would a NVMe drastically or very minimally affect work in Cubase, but I also have to take into account this + & - math of of drive ports

Thanks for your advice.

Usually, some M.2 slots share the bandwidth with SATA ports, but in you case, the way you say it, means that using the M.2 takes precedence over the SATA, you can’t use both ports at the same time.
The user manual should give you quite a bunch of information about this, and which exact ports are concerned.

The performance of the software itself will be the same, the higher transfer speed will only allow for quicker project and sample libraries loading time (if these are stored on the NVMe of course).

I think doing the maths for drive ports bandwidth isn’t really necessary.
Except if you try to copy a 20 GB file on four drives at the same time, you will probably never have any problem with that.

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@Louis_R OK, thanks for reply. On…

So if I put back some of the Steinberg and Kontakt instruments content back on my larger new NVMe OS, those would load faster? If so, a plus for the NVMe.

As to the ports “math”, I’m still not clear on how many drives ports total I would have access to, but maybe you or someone else can cut through my mental fog (I feel like an idiot not being able to figure this out) via the mobo’s storage specs; not sure why they list 2 SATA for CPU and then 4 for the mobo’s chipset (so total of 6, no NVMe involved).

The red [1] footnote explains the 2 ports loss:

Am I right in thinking that I’ll still have my 5 ports, 1 NMVe + (6 -2 = ) 4 SATA6/ III?

I think you’re right about that. Probably ports 1/2 from the CPU and 3/4 from the chipset, with nvme also from the chipset. 5 drives total.

CPUs often have dedicated connections (PCIe lanes) available that are connected to some devices or slots/ports. Typically these days that will include some drives, the first GPU PCIe slot, USB, the chipset, and some other stuff possibly. So they’ve just spelled out for you that a couple of your SATA ports go directly to the CPU and won’t share any bandwidth with anything else, whereas ports 3-6 go through the B450 chipset and share the connection between the chipset and CPU with anything else that’s connected to the chipset (like more USB, more PCIe, etc.)…


NVMe is faster, it will improve file copy but you won´t notice a difference in Cubase.
A better CPU makes the biggest difference.

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@MattiasNYC - Thanks for reply and explanation. Since it does appear that I will still have my 5 ports total, I’ll take the plunge with the NVMe for OS.

@diegoalejo15 - I agree on the CPU, but that’s for another, uh, year. I’d have to do both - new mobo and CPU.