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Any meaningful gains in gaming performance by going NVMe over SATA?

My system currently has a 500GB Samsung 850 EVO and a 2TB HDD for backup. I'm finding the SSD performance to be fantastic but as a Bethesda games fan who likes Fallout 4, Skyrim and Oblivion I'm having to take care to not run out of space, so I was thinking of buying another SSD. I'm finding it won't be feasible to also leave other big games like GTA V on the SSD. My motherboard has an m.2 slot so I am thinking of getting a 960 EVO either a 500GB or 1TB since I think Fallout 4 could stand to benefit even more from a faster SSD and the files size are a lot larger since my folder's at 125GB after 1 month(albeit I do have the 60GB HD DLC installed). My plan would be to relocate Fallout 4 to the newer SSD and leave my 850 EVO to be used by
Skyrim/Oblivion/GTA V/a choice multiplayer game plus general usage like the modding programs and leave a good amount of headroom to allow max performance.

I checked PC parts picker not too long ago and the price difference for NVMe vs SATA wasn't too bad for 500GB or 1TB SSDs. I ended up getting a Z270M motherboard so I only have one m.2 slot for additional storage so I'm thinking of getting a nice SSD like perhaps a 960 EVO. On the other hand if NVMe isn't a big difference I could just go right for a 1TB 850 EVO. So I'm debating between 500GB NVMe like 960 EVO or a 1TB 850EVO or possibly if I find I'm fine to wait a good while perhaps a 1TB 960 EVO.
Reply to Kobe Eveleigh
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More about meaningful gains gaming performance nvme sata
  1. Not much difference for games loading. A 1TB 850 evo should do just fine.
    Reply to oneblackened
  2. Sata based SSD vs a NVMe, load times will improve for sure, but other than that, they will be identical performance wise.
    Reply to Viking2121
  3. oneblackened said:
    Not much difference for games loading. A 1TB 850 evo should do just fine.

    My observations in most games suggest this will usually be the case. If I were going without SSD storage I would go right for an 850 evo. I went for a 500GB 850 evo in this build so I can use an SSD right away. Not worth it to run HDD only while saving for a 960. But for now my setup is adequate so I can wait. I am thinking I will probably buy on either Black Friday or Boxing Day.

    GPU+CPU are doing great, all I'm going to look into buying are a 1TB SSD and a new 16GB DDR4 RAM. Will buy RAM first and use what's left for either an M.2 1TB 850 Evo or a 1TB 960 Evo. My motherboard only has an available slot for an M.2 so I cannot add another SATA.

    Price difference only like $100 right now for 850 vs 960 at 1TB level so getting a 960 is certainly an interesting possibility.

    Anonymous said:
    Sata based SSD vs a NVMe, load times will improve for sure, but other than that, they will be identical performance wise.

    I think an NVMe might be potentially interesting for modded games like Skyrim & Fallout 4. For example my Fallout 4 folder is 120GB with ~200 mods. On my 850 EVO I experienced usually instant loading before adding the mods and >1 second to enter building mode. Now it has gone back up to taking a brief amount of time. Entering building mode now takes about 20 seconds with most major building mods from Nexus installed.

    I wonder if a 960 could push this down to being instant again? I'd like to build really big and get a bit carried away with it. I loved some settlements I'd seen on Youtube, one guy made a Roman Coliseum and FF VIII's Balamb Garden.


    I did find a settlement mod which caused lag, they made a military base themed settlement although there were stuff like 100 trays stacked, plates and stuff on all the tables in the mess hall(these all have physics enabled). I don't know which component this slowdown would be attributed to. It occurs only when looking in certain directions so as to have more of these little physics enabled objects in the field of view.

    Can a 960 evo help smooth things out?
    Reply to Kobe Eveleigh
  4. Kobe Eveleigh said:
    oneblackened said:
    Not much difference for games loading. A 1TB 850 evo should do just fine.

    My observations in most games suggest this will usually be the case. If I were going without SSD storage I would go right for an 850 evo. I went for a 500GB 850 evo in this build so I can use an SSD right away. Not worth it to run HDD only while saving for a 960. But for now my setup is adequate so I can wait. I am thinking I will probably buy on either Black Friday or Boxing Day.

    GPU+CPU are doing great, all I'm going to look into buying are a 1TB SSD and a new 16GB DDR4 RAM. Will buy RAM first and use what's left for either an M.2 1TB 850 Evo or a 1TB 960 Evo. My motherboard only has an available slot for an M.2 so I cannot add another SATA.

    Price difference only like $100 right now for 850 vs 960 at 1TB level so getting a 960 is certainly an interesting possibility.

    Anonymous said:
    Sata based SSD vs a NVMe, load times will improve for sure, but other than that, they will be identical performance wise.

    I think an NVMe might be potentially interesting for modded games like Skyrim & Fallout 4. For example my Fallout 4 folder is 120GB with ~200 mods. On my 850 EVO I experienced usually instant loading before adding the mods and >1 second to enter building mode. Now it has gone back up to taking a brief amount of time. Entering building mode now takes about 20 seconds with most major building mods from Nexus installed.

    I wonder if a 960 could push this down to being instant again? I'd like to build really big and get a bit carried away with it. I loved some settlements I'd seen on Youtube, one guy made a Roman Coliseum and FF VIII's Balamb Garden.


    I did find a settlement mod which caused lag, they made a military base themed settlement although there were stuff like 100 trays stacked, plates and stuff on all the tables in the mess hall(these all have physics enabled). I don't know which component this slowdown would be attributed to. It occurs only when looking in certain directions so as to have more of these little physics enabled objects in the field of view.

    Can a 960 evo help smooth things out?


    Yeah when I said performance wise I meant FPS, But for even heavily modded games, there might not be a huge difference either other then maybe the initial load times, I think the overall smoothness of game play wouldn't change a whole lot. But FPS wise nothing would change as in Direct X or any API really you are limited by the CPU or GPU and maybe RAM speeds for maximum FPS.

    I use to run DayZ off a ram disk which is faster than even the worlds fastest SSD's and load times were mildly better than a normal sata based SSD, I also tried GTA4 with some texture and vehicle mods and it really didn't make a noticeable impact in performance vs a sata based SSD. But then again them games were not heavily modded like how Skyrim and Fallout can be.

    But remember the more things thats on the screen like plates, cups, trays and all sorts of physics calculations are all normally CPU bound other than a select few games that use Nvidia Physx, so it wouldn't matter how fast the storage is once in the game. Slow storage usually results in stutter or brief pauses, Low FPS is caused by lack of CPU power or lack of GPU power or bad coding or development from the mod or developer.

    You can try a few things, If you have enough RAM to install the game on it and to keep your system running of course, you could start a RAM disk, install the game onto it, and see if the mod or game improves, now you will need a lot of RAM for it to work, RAM disk like I said will blow any NVMe drive out of the water, only issue is once you shut the system down, the RAM disk is cleared as RAM can't hold information like a storage device.
    Reply to Viking2121
  5. From sounds of this not a whole lot of benefit from an NVMe 960 EVO over an 850 EVO. FPS stayed at levels which generally should be okay but frame timing was inconsistent I think because FPS was fluctuating a lot between 30-60 while in that settlement whenever the camera is moving.

    RAM disk sounds interesting. Does it benefit games like DayZ or maybe PUBG a lot? I'm guessing for stuff like DayZ you would install to RAM disk then copy it over to SSD when you need to shutdown. Maybe on my next build someday I will try it out. Maybe when TES VI releases. I'm on a mini ATX so can only hold up to 64GB.
    Reply to Kobe Eveleigh
  6. Best answer
    Kobe Eveleigh said:
    From sounds of this not a whole lot of benefit from an NVMe 960 EVO over an 850 EVO. FPS stayed at levels which generally should be okay but frame timing was inconsistent I think because FPS was fluctuating a lot between 30-60 while in that settlement whenever the camera is moving.

    RAM disk sounds interesting. Does it benefit games like DayZ or maybe PUBG a lot? I'm guessing for stuff like DayZ you would install to RAM disk then copy it over to SSD when you need to shutdown. Maybe on my next build someday I will try it out. Maybe when TES VI releases. I'm on a mini ATX so can only hold up to 64GB.


    Yeah it helped with the stuttering that I use to experience in DayZ. That game is vary script heavy, to where even a WD Caviar Black 7200rpm drive had trouble keeping a smooth experience fps would go from back then high 30s to single digets then back up to 30s, I had a lot of ram at my shop and I decided to install the game on the RAM disk software that came with my ASRock board, of course load times were way better and it did help the stuttering usually when entering a city it would happen a lot in that game and my Disk would be at 100% utilization. With it on the RAM disk I was having a problem where the game loaded so fast that the Anti cheat would actually kick me because of how delayed it was.

    Now with even a Sata based SSD I noticed that load times didn't improve much, but stuttering was still gone, so for that game a sata based SSD was more than enough, Even a 10,000 rpm drive or a couple of 7200 rpm drives in raid zero would probably handle it. The game was vary vary poorly optimized back when it came out.

    RAM Disk is pretty interesting, there is some software out there that is designed to move the files back to the HDD before a shutdown or restart, and it will move them back once you are in windows, of course it will make for a longer shutdown and start up, but may not be too much of a problem if you move the files back and forth from a SSD to RAM disk.

    I have no idea where to look for a good RAM Disk software, its been years since I used my ASRock software.

    The first test is a NVMe drive, the 2nd test is a RAM disk test. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUALny_6wn0
    Reply to Viking2121
  7. Kobe Eveleigh said:
    RAM Disk is pretty interesting, there is some software out there that is designed to move the files back to the HDD before a shutdown or restart, and it will move them back once you are in windows, of course it will make for a longer shutdown and start up, but may not be too much of a problem if you move the files back and forth from a SSD to RAM disk.
    Easier IMO would be just to keep a duplicate on HDD then copy it over on start up if planning to play the game. Saves are probably kept away from game directory anyways so I figure no harm letting stuff get cleared on shutdown or restart unless there happened to be a game update in which case I'd copy over the updated game files onto the HDD. And if OS & game files backup are kept on SSD even less waiting. Moving files between folder locations on the SSD is almost instant even when moving a large amount of stuff. Deleting 30GB was virtually instant when I'd copied the game over to HDD.

    Restarting is almost instant on my PC. Should be very fast to do this on my PC unless writing to RAM disk takes a while or it makes it so you have to wait some time at shut down for it to clear everything out. I don't know but I assume it should be similar to an SSD but faster.

    This does sound really cool so maybe I'll go 32GB or more on my next build. Maybe this would be really great for some multiplayer stuff like PUBG?
    Reply to Kobe Eveleigh
  8. I really have no idea if it would help PUBG much while in game, but it definitely would help with the annoying load times. Not sure why they had to make the main menu show your character all the time, makes it load much slower.
    Reply to Viking2121
  9. It will ONLY shorten load times.
    Reply to Windwalker95
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