What takes less time to start Windows? An NVMe SSD or a SATA SSD?

We are at a time in the market in which there is practically no home PC without an SSD, at least for the operating system and the main programs. Many users choose to have an NVMe SSD for these purposes with another SATA 3 SSD such as Masive storage, since they are still much cheaper but, is this the best situation to be able to have the better performance?

How much time does an NVMe SSD save versus a SATA one when booting the PC?

When at the time we made the “leap” of using mechanical hard drives to the first SSDs, the performance improvement of the entire system increased remarkably, and especially when we talk about boot times. However, already within the ecosystem of solid state devices, when we went from having a SATA 2 to SATA 3 interface, it was not that we noticed an improvement that was too high, although it is true that we did gain a lot of performance, especially in loading and transfer tasks. of files.

A priori, like solid state devices with Interface PCI-Express and NVMe protocol they have a significantly better performance than those with a 2.5-inch format and SATA 3 interface (on average, we are talking about multiplying by 6 the speed), they should make the PC boot much faster, right? We are going to see, however, in empirical figures how big this performance increase is, the time it saves us, and of course whether or not it is worth the change.

Before starting with the tests, we must clarify as always that each pc is different, and in fact when we talk about the startup time of a Windows system it depends to a great extent on the programs you have installed, and more specifically on those residents that start when you turn on the PC. This means that the results that each user will obtain will be empirically different, but even so we are going to show you a comparison on the same hardware, with a clone of an SSD on another (so the programs are the same on both) and therefore the performance increase figure will be accurate.

Transcend PCIe SSD 220S

That said, for this comparison we have used a 1 TB PCIe 3.0 NVMe Transcend SSD 220S SSD and compared it to a 512 GB Corsair Neutron XTi, two “reasonable” SSDs in terms of performance and price. For testing, we used an MSI Z370 Gaming M5 motherboard along with an Intel Core i7-8700K processor and 32GB of 3600MHz Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 RAM.

As we have mentioned before, what we have done has been to clone the content of one SSD into another, so both have an exact installation of Windows with all the programs, doing that although the data that we would obtain with a clean installation of Windows would be better, the performance comparison between both SSDs is completely trustworthy. Note that Windows Quick Start is enabled in BIOS.

We have measured the time with a digital stopwatch, from the moment the power button on the box is pressed and until the Windows desktop is presented and allows us to work with it, but we have also measured the POST time . This has been the result obtained:


From this comparison we can draw two main conclusions: the first is that the POST time increases slightly (just two tenths of a second) with a slower SSD such as the variant with the SATA 3 interface, and the second is that the total time that we we save at the time of a full boot with Windows 10 operating system is little more than 3 seconds.

These 3.3 seconds that we save by having the operating system installed on the NVMe SSD represents a 12.13% improvement in terms of total boot time, and just 4.25% in POST time. Note that, according to our data, the total boot time with the SATA 3 SSD has been 27.2 seconds, while with the NVMe device this time has been reduced to 23.9 seconds.

Is it worth installing Windows on an NVMe device?

NVMe PCIe SSD Trigger

We have already seen that based on our own tests, the improvement when using an NVMe SSD to install the operating system is a 12.13% compared to having Windows installed on a SATA 3 SSD, an improvement that may seem quite a lot but that in reality with the magnitudes we are dealing with (going from having to wait 27.2 seconds to 23.9 seconds) means having to wait just barely 3.3 seconds plus.

So is it worth buying an NVMe SSD to install the operating system? It will depend on each one and their budget. We would tell you that if you are mounting a PC completely from scratch, opt for an NVMe for the operating system because it is the most optimal, since you will not only save time when starting the PC but also when handling files, loading games, etc. . However, if you already have a SATA 3 SSD with the operating system and you are considering upgrading it to an NVMe one, then maybe the improvement is not worth it.

You should also keep one thing in mind: with a clean installation of the operating system, the performance difference (at least in terms of boot time, which is what we are talking about here) will be even less since you will have to load fewer programs at the beginning. On the other hand, for the comparison we have used a PCIe 3.0 SSD, but the latest models already with a PCIe 4.0 interface will give us better performance and, therefore, lower times (which is obviously better). In short, the boot time between an NVMe and a SATA SSD is short, small, but large in percentage, where each one must assess whether or not it compensates for the jump and of course, the difference in prices.

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