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Even hard drives will be able to use the super fast NVMe 2.0 interface

Looking ahead: This won’t make the average hard drive faster, but adding support for them to the NVMe specification paves the way for faster ones to go down the pipeline and for storage in general to finally switch from SATA in two decades.

Version 2.0 of the NVMe standard (non-volatile memory Express) brings with it new functionality and improved performance, as expected, but also brings support for a modest hard drive.

The SATA III interface, which is currently used by all hard drives and many SSDs, is showing its age more and more day by day. Last significantly updated in 2008, its maximum bandwidth of 600 MB / s has become an obstacle to SSD performance, while NVMe specifications have allowed them to reach their full speeds via the high-bandwidth PCIe interface.

NVMe now also adds support for “rotating media”

; (or hard drives, for you and me). Current hard drives are still limited by the speed of the read and write arms in the drive itself – most are still far from saturating the SATA III interface in the way an SSD can. On the other hand, some like Seagate’s new Mach.2 can come close with its 524 MB / s serial transfers, impressive for so-called “rotating rust” and even stepping on the fingers of budget SATA SSDs.

As hard disk sizes continue to increase in response to server and data center requirements, dual-drive drives such as Mach.2 may become more common, but for users, the most tangible advantage will be device simplification. for storage up to one solution. Between version 2.0, which adds support for hard drives, and its redesign into a modular specification, the clear intention is to make NVMe a universal interface for storage devices that integrate interfaces and perhaps provide more space for constantly overcrowded consumer motherboards.

Then again, as the NVMe standard prepares for Life After SATA, it will probably take some time for the hard drives carrying the interface to ship and sell in bulk, and even longer until they begin to completely replace their SATA counterparts. in user space.

The revision of NVMe 2.0 also introduces a number of SSD-specific features aimed primarily at improving control, durability and overhead, and especially important is the introduction of Zoned Namespaces (ZNS), which allows both the device and the host to decide for the physical location of device data to help increase capacity and performance. And, as expected, it will remain backward compatible with earlier generations of the specification.

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