NVMe vs PCIe: What’s the Difference?

NVMe and PCIe are both related to data storage and transfer in computers. While understanding technical terms can sometimes be difficult, the good news is that there are some distinct differences between NVMe and PCIe.

Hello everyone! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional photographer, videographer, and filmmaker. For decades now, I have been following, using, and learning all I can about all things technology-related.

In this article, I will explain what an NVMe is and what a PCIe is as well. I will go over the differences between the two and look at the pros and cons of each one. Also, I will answer some commonly asked questions.

Key Takeaways

  • NVMe is a fast, flash protocol with specific uses.
  • PCIe is a connector interface with a broader range of uses.
  • NVMe and PCIe have a symbiotic relationship as opposed to a contradictory one.

What Is NVMe?

NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express and it is a transfer protocol that is designed for accessing high-speed storage devices like solid state drives (SSDs) and flash drives. 

NVMe is also a protocol that replaces AHCI and acts as a complement to PCIe technology. It was specifically developed to address the speed bottleneck caused by the previous, older SATA connection technology.

NVMe Pros

Generally speaking, NVMe is a faster flash protocol, which is very impressive and attractive. It also works very efficiently with most SSDs. Another impressive thing about NVMe is that it comes in different form factors, making it flexible concerning applications and implementation.

NVMe Cons

The biggest con for the NVMe is that it is noticeably more expensive than other protocols. Also, to maximize its speed, it has to be used with the more expensive SSDs.

What Is PCIe?

PCIe stands for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express and it is a connector series that supersedes SATA. It is a high-bandwidth interface that connects things like CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, network cards, sound cards, and other such components.

PCIe Pros

The impressive things about PCIe include its large bandwidth capability, faster speed, increased utility, and lower latency. Most PCIe cards have up to 16 lanes for data to travel through. It is faster than SATA and has multiple uses, unlike SATA.

PCIe Cons

There are some limitations with PCIe though. It only works with newer computers and it does consume more power than NVMe and SATA. While it can carry different types of data, another drawback is that it does not have a particular specialization.

How NVMe and PCIe Are Different?

The primary differences between NVMe and PCIe are found in their fundamental makeup. PCIe is a standard bus interface that works with various types of components such as sound cards, video cards, raid cards, etc. NVMe on the other hand, is an interface designed specifically for communication with NAND flash and next-generation SSDs.

It is also important to note that NVMe and PCIe are not contradictory, rather, they are complementary to each other. NVMe SSDs are normally attached directly to a host system over a PCIe bus. In a nutshell, NVMe uses PCIe to maximize the potential of newer applications and it leverages PCIe for accessing high-speed storage devices like SSDs.


Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions about NVMe and PCIe.

Is NVMe Better than PCIe?

Yes and no. When it comes to high-performing devices, NVMe is a better choice. However, PCIe has many more utility options.

Can You Use PCIe for NVMe?

Yes, in most cases, if it is used on a 3.0 or higher version.

Is PCIe Slower than NVMe?

No, PCIe is faster than NVMe as they are used in mostly high end devices.

Final Thoughts

The question about NVMe versus PCIe is a long-standing one. The main difference is that PCIe is built on a point-to-point topology. NVMe is an interface specification used to communicate with NAND flash and SSDs, however, functionally it is based on the same protocols as SATA and SAS. PCIe is more versatile while NVMe is more specifically used.

Have you noticed any differences between NVMe SSDs and PCIe SSDs? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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