SATA vs PCIe SSD


unifex

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I have two SSDs on my system - an "old-fashioned" SATA SSD and a "new" M.2 SSD that is plugged in to the PCIs x4 slot. Now, looking at the "Intel optane Memory and Storage Management" tool I find that the PCIs link speed is 4000 MB/s, while the SATA transfer rate is 6GB/s. The latter number looks bigger, and W11 installed on the SATA disk feels faster. Previously, I thought the PCIe would be faster, which is why I bought that SSD. Could someone please educate me on these issues? What I ultimately want to know, is to how to get the best out of the existing hardware.
 

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RFS

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6GB/s is the maximum speed of the channel not of the disk. I have both types of SSD in my PC and the speeds reported by Samsung Magician are

M2.SSD - 3506 MB/s read, 2380 MB/s write
SATA SSD - 562 MB/s read, 526 MB/s write.

Windows is on the M2.SSD and is much faster.
 

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SlicEnDicE

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That is 6Gb/s is not Gigabytes it is Gigabits theoretical bandwidth for SATA port. This equals to 750MB/s or about 698MiB/s.

PCIe3.0 has a bandwidth of 1GB/s per lane...so a 4x drive will have a maximum of a 4GB/s theoretical badwidth cap. In practice this translates into about 3500MB/s real world speeds because of various other factors.

PCIe 4.0 doubles PCIe 3.0 speeds, so instead of 1GB/s speed per lane you get 2GB/s.
 

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Berton

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Further, the use of b for bits and B for Bytes has been part of computing for years, at least since the late 1980s which is when I learned about it. Eight bits equals one Byte. The math can be mind-boggling. The b versus B designation is critical.
 

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hdmi

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unifex

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Thanks to everyone for help!

Here's the Crystal benchmark of the two drives as measured on the Windows 11 running off the SATA SSD:

sata.pngpcie11.png

and here's the PCIe drive measured on Windows 10 running off it:

pcie10.png

Indeed it looks like the PCIe drive is faster. Now, why is the Windows 11 running off the slower SATA SSD feels "snappier"? Is it possible to slow down the PC by tinkering with Settings, Services, etc. and/or installing software?
 

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AndreTen

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Windows 11 is indeed a bit "snappier". But can be related to fresh installation.

In real life, you won't be able to tell SATA and PCIe SSDs apart. Maybe when transferring some large files. But PCIe is faster
 

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CountMike

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Even with relatively clean insider version on a SATA SSD (it's Kingston A200, no cache) I can clearly see difference when compared to regular windows on NVMe drive. Not only is it snappier but updates etc last at least twice shorter with lower load on rest of system.
 

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SlicEnDicE

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You probably will if there is a huge difference in random read and writes compared with two drives. I can even feel the difference from sata ssd to sata ssd. But generally if both drive types (sata and PCIe) are equally as high quality, you won't notice any difference at all.
 

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CountMike

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You probably will if there is a huge difference in random read and writes compared with two drives. I can even feel the difference from sata ssd to sata ssd. But generally if both drive types (sata and PCIe) are equally as high quality, you won't notice any difference at all.
On paper and in benchmark it's on par with other SATA SSDs but no cache makes it less suitable for OS where small flies prevail.
 

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johnlgalt

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Clean installs will be hard to compare to well-used installs, in this case. But once you start using your fsystem for a while, and have things like lots of temp files, larger and larger page file (assuming you don't just turn that off), and things like a few programs always running in the background, and more than a single program running in the 'foreground' (as multi-tasking is still not true multitasking yet), you'll get a better representation of the snappiness / speediness comparison. But that is still going to be more subjective than benchmarks - which are more objective, but much less real world.

I have a triple {NVMe PCIe 4 SSD} based system - and want to know when I really feel the difference? When I move 20 GB worth of files and it takes seconds, not minutes. Other than that, it's not appreciably noticeably faster (although there is almost never a lag in using the system, from the system side, anyway - but that is reflective of the entire system build, not just the drives). Windows 11 does demand more than 10 did, and I have a lot more running in the background (including more protective stuff, too) as well as encryption that I never really used with my previous machine and Windows 10 - it was simply too slow, even with SATA II SSDs (processor, RAM, etc.). This one, yeah, it'll handle it.

So, if it works, good for you.

One thing to note though - for longevity, check out the MTBF for both drives, and use some utilities like CrystalDisk Iinfo (same dev) to see what the lifetime of the drives are - almost willing to bet the NVMe drives are newer, and are going to be less prone to failure simply due to having been used less. But for the average users, that is not a huge concern, it takes a serious amount of data transfer to / from your SSDs for a long, long time, to actually hit those thresholds.
 

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pparks1

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If you have a clean install to the SSD and the same clean install to the PCIe based NVME, you shouldn't feel the NVMe is slower than the SATA SSD. You may not really feel that the NVMe is way faster, as typically with standard read and write speeds for the OS do not require speeds that high. Only if you were copying from 1 NVME to another NVME would you "really" see the speed difference.

I have a 2TB NVME WD SN850 which benchmarks at 7,000MB/sec. However, with games it was filling up. So, I went ahead and moved my games over to a standard 2TB SATA SSD which comes in around 550MB/sec. But loading my games, and playing my games, is almost identical between the 2 drives. Maybe a call of duty map loads up in 11 seconds on the NVMe and 12.5 seconds on the SATA SSD, but it's so close that I'm not willing to use my expensive storage for the negligible performance gain.
 

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jimbo45

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If you have a clean install to the SSD and the same clean install to the PCIe based NVME, you shouldn't feel the NVMe is slower than the SATA SSD. You may not really feel that the NVMe is way faster, as typically with standard read and write speeds for the OS do not require speeds that high. Only if you were copying from 1 NVME to another NVME would you "really" see the speed difference.

I have a 2TB NVME WD SN850 which benchmarks at 7,000MB/sec. However, with games it was filling up. So, I went ahead and moved my games over to a standard 2TB SATA SSD which comes in around 550MB/sec. But loading my games, and playing my games, is almost identical between the 2 drives. Maybe a call of duty map loads up in 11 seconds on the NVMe and 12.5 seconds on the SATA SSD, but it's so close that I'm not willing to use my expensive storage for the negligible performance gain.
I think the Jury's still out on this for typical home computers. "Classic SSD"s" i.e SATA etc have a bigger footprint so it's understandable why PCie NVME's are popular for more modern laptops etc.

Performance wise I doubt if the average home user would notice any significant difference particularly if they weren't significant gamers or doing other things on their pc's other than typical office stuff, etc.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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pparks1

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I think the Jury's still out on this for typical home computers. "Classic SSD"s" i.e SATA etc have a bigger footprint so it's understandable why PCie NVME's are popular for more modern laptops etc.

Performance wise I doubt if the average home user would notice any significant difference particularly if they weren't significant gamers or doing other things on their pc's other than typical office stuff, etc.

Cheers
jimbo
Yeah, don't get me wrong...I love my 2TB WD SN850 drive. But it was expensive, when I bought it, it was $450. This was back around Jan of 2021. It's fantastic for my OS and great for my virtual machines. And not having a power cable and a data cable is a great thing.


Back in November of 2021, when I was starting to fill up my drive with games, I wanted to get an additional 2TB of SSD space. A PCIe Gen 4 drive was about 2x the cost of a SATA SSD, and I knew for games it wasn't going to amount to hardly any performance difference at all. Therefore, I just picked up a Sandisk Ultra 2TB for about $175.

Eventually, I'll get another PCIe Gen 4 drive for my other NVMe slot. Probably another 2TB, maybe a 4TB.
 

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hsehestedt

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Linus Tech Tips had a video a while back where they compared SATA SSDs, a Gen3 NVMe, and a Gen4 NVMe for gamers and video editors. It was pretty amazing how people just couldn't tell the difference. In fact, every person picked the SATA based system as the fastest.

Bottom line is that with typical things you do, you likely won't notice the difference.

Now, if you do stuff like copy lots of files around, you will see the difference, but not in typical daily tasks.

 

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    4k 15-inch
    Screen Resolution
    4k (3840 x 2160)
    Hard Drives
    1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD

johnlgalt

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Windows 11 21H2
If you have a clean install to the SSD and the same clean install to the PCIe based NVME, you shouldn't feel the NVMe is slower than the SATA SSD. You may not really feel that the NVMe is way faster, as typically with standard read and write speeds for the OS do not require speeds that high. Only if you were copying from 1 NVME to another NVME would you "really" see the speed difference.

I have a 2TB NVME WD SN850 which benchmarks at 7,000MB/sec. However, with games it was filling up. So, I went ahead and moved my games over to a standard 2TB SATA SSD which comes in around 550MB/sec. But loading my games, and playing my games, is almost identical between the 2 drives. Maybe a call of duty map loads up in 11 seconds on the NVMe and 12.5 seconds on the SATA SSD, but it's so close that I'm not willing to use my expensive storage for the negligible performance gain.

Yeah, I had triple 1 TB PCIe4 NVMes in here, and I managed to get one of the first deals on the Samsung 980 Pro 2 TB drives a couple of months ago (before they started dropping everywhere), and replaced all 3 of the 1TB drives with 2 TB 980s. I love the speed, but the main this it allowed me to do was move all of the data on my 2x 1TB mech RAID onto one of those drives - and man that was a fast move.

Now, I'm dealing with production videos for work a lot, and moving 5 or 10 GB wroth of video is nothing, literally takes seconds, and that is absolutely noticeable. Everything else, though - nah,, not really. I mean, I objectively know that this system is bonkers faster than my last rig - but for all intents and purposes, with everything that is pumped into it, it's much more powerful but not necessarily much faster. A few CPU intensive games and games that load a lot of data may benefit, but it's mostly negligible.

I think the Jury's still out on this for typical home computers. "Classic SSD"s" i.e SATA etc have a bigger footprint so it's understandable why PCie NVME's are popular for more modern laptops etc.

Performance wise I doubt if the average home user would notice any significant difference particularly if they weren't significant gamers or doing other things on their pc's other than typical office stuff, etc.

Cheers
jimbo

Speed does make a difference on modern laptops, but I suspect you're right, the primary factor is space, not speed.

Yeah, don't get me wrong...I love my 2TB WD SN850 drive. But it was expensive, when I bought it, it was $450. This was back around Jan of 2021. It's fantastic for my OS and great for my virtual machines. And not having a power cable and a data cable is a great thing.


Back in November of 2021, when I was starting to fill up my drive with games, I wanted to get an additional 2TB of SSD space. A PCIe Gen 4 drive was about 2x the cost of a SATA SSD, and I knew for games it wasn't going to amount to hardly any performance difference at all. Therefore, I just picked up a Sandisk Ultra 2TB for about $175.

Eventually, I'll get another PCIe Gen 4 drive for my other NVMe slot. Probably another 2TB, maybe a 4TB.

I know that feeling. As mentioned above, I moved data off hte mech RAID, and pulled it from the system. Also pulled data from the origina 1 TB (3rd drive), and data from the 960 MB SATA III - it's nice to have it all in a single RAID again.

Linus Tech Tips had a video a while back where they compared SATA SSDs, a Gen3 NVMe, and a Gen4 NVMe for gamers and video editors. It was pretty amazing how people just couldn't tell the difference. In fact, every person picked the SATA based system as the fastest.

Bottom line is that with typical things you do, you likely won't notice the difference.

Now, if you do stuff like copy lots of files around, you will see the difference, but not in typical daily tasks.


Exactly. Moving video files around and .ISOs around a lot, as I've been doing recently, proves that point well. It's fabulous that I can, once again, copy files between drives faster than I can download them - and I have synchronous gigabit Intenret, so that is not shabby to begin with. It's been a long time since I could claim that.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HomeBrew
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
    Motherboard
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE
    Memory
    4 * Corsair Vengeance 32 GB 3600 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti XC3 ULTRA GAMING (12G-P5-3955-KR)
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Eve Spectrum ES07D02 280 Hz QHD | Eve Spectrum ES07D03 4K Gaming Monitor
    Screen Resolution
    1440p | 4k
    Hard Drives
    3x Samsung 980 Pro NVMe PCIe 4 M.2 2 TB SSD (MZ-V8P2T0B/AM)
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling’s Silencer Series 1050 Watt, 80 Plus Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Design Define 7 XL Dark ATX Full Tower Case
    Cooling
    ZXT KRAKEN Z73 73.11 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (3x 120 mm push top) + Air 3x 140mm case fans (pull front) + 1x 120 mm (push back) and 1 x 120 mm (pull bottom)
    Keyboard
    SteelSeries Apex Pro Wired Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3 for Business
    Internet Speed
    Logitech MX Master 3 for Business
    Browser
    Nightly (default) + Firefox (stable),Chrome, Edge/ß/Dev/Canary
    Antivirus
    Defender
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 x64 Pro build 21H1
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Latitude E5470
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6300U CPU @ 2.40GHz, 2501 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
    Motherboard
    Dell
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
    Sound Card
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520 + RealTek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell laptop display 15"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 * 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 128GB M.2 22300 drive
    INTEL Cherryvill 520 Series SSDSC2CW180A 180 GB SATA III SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master (shared) | Dell TouchPad
    Keyboard
    Dell
    Internet Speed
    AT&T LightSpeed Gigabit Duplex
    Browser
    Edge Chromium | Chrome | Firefox Nightly | Brave
    Antivirus
    Defender + MB4

hdmi

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12:37 PM
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591
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Belgium
OS
11 Home
After I moved from M.2 SATA to NVMe there was a huge improvement when unrarring/unzipping archives with WinRAR and another huge improvement when copying data back and forth between the SSD and a Ramdisk.

I use Romex Software Primo Ramdisk with the Dynamic Memory Management feature enabled, to speed up various tasks such as repeatedly swapping the contents of multiple different sandboxes, or certain specific parts thereof, that each belong to Sandboxie-Plus. BUT... due to the fact that Sandboxie-Plus can, under a few special circumstances at least, easily fill up the Ramdisk within mere fractions of a second, I wanted a way to upgrade my strategy.

My laptop has 16GB RAM, which is way more than enough for everything I do. But there have been a few exceptions to this, as I tend to experiment with lots of stuff that AFAIK almost no one else has done. So, to avoid running too low on available free RAM space, the Dynamic Memory Management of my Ramdisk wasn't always sufficient, as it only prevents said Ramdisk's available free space from taking up actual space in RAM. Sometimes, my total amount of RAM consumption grew too big, thus cancelling out the performance gained from using the Ramdisk.

The 'trick' here is to just let enough data be wiped off of the Ramdisk each time when feasible so as to let it be fetched back at a later point in time and/or to let enough data be moved temporarily onto the SSD. I wrote my own scheduler to be able to automate all this copying/moving back and forth, with various presets and a few templates that, in turn, can be automated also, or at least in part, i.e. through a real-time optimization/prioritization routine that closely monitors the status information that it continuously collects where needed. It's some way similar to how QoS regulates network bandwidth, only different.

Primo Ramdisk (SCSI, DMM Compacted) benchmark.png
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Medion S15450
    CPU
    i5 1135G7
    Memory
    16GB DDR4
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme; Emotiva UMC-200; Astell & Kern AK240
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia XR-55X90J
    Screen Resolution
    3840×2160
    Hard Drives
    2TB SSD internal
    37TB external
    PSU
    Li-ion
    Keyboard
    Logitech K800
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Internet Speed
    20Mbit/s up, 200Mbit/s down
    Browser
    FF

pparks1

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Windows 11 Pro
Now, I'm dealing with production videos for work a lot, and moving 5 or 10 GB wroth of video is nothing, literally takes seconds, and that is absolutely noticeable. Everything else, though - nah,, not really. I mean, I objectively know that this system is bonkers faster than my last rig - but for all intents and purposes, with everything that is pumped into it, it's much more powerful but not necessarily much faster. A few CPU intensive games and games that load a lot of data may benefit, but it's mostly negligible.
Yeah, this is exactly where having these fast drives really makes a big difference. It's fun to look at the benchmarks and look at the raw throughput, but unless you are moving the files around like you showed above, in reality a drive that 7x faster isn't going to seem 7x as fast.

I'm actually considering upgrading my home 1Gbps network to a 2.5Gbps switch. My wife and I both have machines with 2.5Gbps cards, and we both have SSD's and NVMe's, and when I do big updates for games like Call of Duty, I typically just do one machine and then copy the files across. It would be nice to go from about 110MB/sec to around 250MB/sec for these network copies. I just haven't wanted to pull the trigger yet on spending $150 or $200 on the switch for those occasional file copies.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Beelink SEI8
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8279u
    Motherboard
    AZW SEI
    Memory
    32GB DDR4 2666Mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus 655
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Asus ProArt PA278QV
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    512GB NVMe
    PSU
    NA
    Case
    NA
    Cooling
    NA
    Keyboard
    NA
    Mouse
    NA
    Internet Speed
    500/50
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    Mini PC used for testing Windows 11.

hsehestedt

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Texas, USA
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Windows 11 21H2
Yeah, this is exactly where having these fast drives really makes a big difference. It's fun to look at the benchmarks and look at the raw throughput, but unless you are moving the files around like you showed above, in reality a drive that 7x faster isn't going to seem 7x as fast.

I'm actually considering upgrading my home 1Gbps network to a 2.5Gbps switch. My wife and I both have machines with 2.5Gbps cards, and we both have SSD's and NVMe's, and when I do big updates for games like Call of Duty, I typically just do one machine and then copy the files across. It would be nice to go from about 110MB/sec to around 250MB/sec for these network copies. I just haven't wanted to pull the trigger yet on spending $150 or $200 on the switch for those occasional file copies.
I just recently upgraded to 2.5Gbps Ethernet and is a refreshing boost in performance when I move large amounts of data. There are parts of the house still on 1 Gbps, but the speed increase wouldn't help me to those areas anyway.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 21H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 15-BL012DX
    CPU
    Intel i7-7500U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Dual Intel HD 620 and Nvidia GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Built-in Realtek HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    4k 15-inch
    Screen Resolution
    4k (3840 x 2160)
    Hard Drives
    1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
    Internet Speed
    300Mb down / 20Mb up
    Browser
    Chromium Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    RAM Upgraded from 16GB to 32GB WiFi Upgraded from WiFi 5 to WiFi 6 SSD upgraded from 512GB NVMe SSD to 1TB Seagate FireCuda 510 NVMe SSD
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