PCIe based Flash Storage vs SSD

by Paul | Last Updated: August 30, 2021

Storage is key for majority of the devices we use, they vary in size, capacity, and compatibility. Choosing the right storage for your device can be daunting when you have options, or you are not sure of what each type has to offer. This article focuses on just two types and highlights features that will help you decide one that suits your needs.

PCIe based flash storage vs SSD: Essentially, both can be referred to as flash storage because they use the flash memory design, and the main difference is that the former offers better performance than the latter and this performance increase comes with a higher price tag.

There is a tendency to assume that both are the same as software that PCIe based flash storage runs on is like the SSD. Unlike the HDD, they do away with mechanical read and write style, so they are fast and interestingly, they are both small. As for their differences, right of the bat, there is a difference evident to the eye, that is the flash storage is smaller. Let us take this storage hardware, one after the other.

PCIe based Flash Storage vs SSD- Flash Storage

Flash storage is not a specific drive rather it is any storage system that uses flash memory for data retention. This means it could be in form of a drive, storage library or any system really. It is designed to make data erasure or writing easy as it uses silicon chip-based storage.

Rewriting is easy coupled with an incredible speed making it worthwhile. As the name and design imply, it uses a flash memory, and this means it has no moving parts making it less prone to damage. Data retention even after your system is shut down owing to the non-volatile design is another feature that makes it attractive.

Initially, the flash storage was quite the expense making it fitter for companies or users with high-end hardware budget, but this is soon becoming a thing of the past but if the price still serves as a disadvantage for some users as the hard disk drive is still cheaper.

It is important to note that flash storage is not foreign, and it is available in different computer devices. Just like the normal style of the PCIe, more lanes translate to faster performance. Let us look at was the SSD offers.

There are different types of flash storage: hard drive storage, all-flash array, NVMe, storage array, SSD flash drive and hybrid flash storage.

PCIe based Flash Storage vs SSD- SSD

Solid State Drive offers users a “breath of fresh air” as its design reduced the dependence on the movement of disk to perform write or read tasks. This results in a better performance, less heat emanating from the computing device and silence (because there are no spinning disk).

Just like the PCIe flash storage the SSD used flash storage or flash memory. The similarity does not stop there as the SSD has better data security compared to HDD because it is not easily susceptible to damage as shocks and other things that make the reliability and durability of HDD falter is not present.

Three advantages the SSD has over the PCIe flash storage are:

  • There is no data overwriting in SSD
  • SSD uses less power than the flash storage which is a great feature for battery devices like a laptop
  • SSD is usually cheaper than the flash storage

The SSD has different interfaces it runs on, there are times when you can purchase an SSD that has two or three types infused in it. Currently, the types of SSD available are SATA, PCIe, NVMe, M.2 and U.2.

PCIe based Flash Storage vs SSD- Durability

We have pointed out both SSD and flash storage are durable, but how durable are they? Let us look at the lifespan, well in summary, flash storage has a shorter lifespan when compared to the SSD. What design gives one a different lifespan from the other?

The assigned number of times that a block can be rewritten and erased is limited in the flash storage this means regular usage will result in deterioration reducing its lifespan. The SSD on the hand, does not have a limit to blocks that can be written it does have limited P/E cycles which cannot be exhausted easily.

PCIe based Flash Storage vs SSD- Device Utilisation

The solid state drive can be used on a desktop or laptop which limits its use to just two types of computing device, but the flash storage can be used for laptops, phones, digital cameras, toys, equipment, USB memory sticks giving it a wider range.

PCIe based Flash Storage vs SSD- Performance

We already established that the PCIe based flash storage is faster than the SSD but let us put it in numbers. For the flash storage, the read speed is up to 1.1gb/s while the write speed is 975mb/s. For the SSD, the read speed can get up to 550mb/s while the write speed is about 520mb/s.

PCIe based Flash Storage vs SSD- Choosing the one you Purchase

Like with any purchase, your needs come first so when you are on a budget which one is favorable? The SSD will be your choice as it is currently more affordable than flash storage and as its popularity and usage grows, there will be a reduction in the price.

On a very small budget, you can also attach an SSD to your PC that has an HDD giving you the storage and capacity advantage.

However, if your budget can accommodate the flash memory or you are not on a budget, going for the flash memory will give you a better performance. Just like the SSD, this can be paired with an HDD or even as SSD.

Related Question

What storage size is available for PCIe based flash storage and SSD?

The flash storage is available in sizes ranging from 256GB to 3TB, there are other sizes, but that range is usually available on the market. For the SSD, the common sizes are 128GB, 256GB, 500GB (512), 1TB and 2TB. There are non-commercial sizes that can be as large as 16TB.