SATA vs NVMe SSD for programming

Is there a noticeable difference between using a SATA and NVMe SSD for programming? I’ve googled a question like this numerous times, every time without getting a clear answer that would provide any numbers. So, I’ve decided to do a quick comparison myself.

I’ll be comparing a 6-years old Crucial MX100 512GB SATA SSD with a brand new Samsung EVO 970 1TB NVMe SSD in real-world scenarios a typical Node.js or React developer runs into (and is usually annoyed by 😂).

Now, note that this isn’t a completely fair comparison as larger SSDs tend to have better performance in general, but it should give you an idea of what performance difference to expect between a SATA and an NVMe SSD. I repeated each test 5 times and then averaged the values, which showed 4 % dispersion at maximum.

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Yup, the difference is negligible. There’s a few seconds difference when creating a new app using create-react-app. And a few seconds difference when building a really large React application for development using webpack. It’s almost impossible to notice in the real world.

So, does it make sense to buy an NVMe instead of SATA SSD when you’re buying a new drive? With today’s prices, there isn’t much of a difference, so absolutely. Does it make sense to “upgrade” to an NVMe drive from a SATA SSD? Unless you’re trying to save every second you can, no.

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