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Can a sata ssd bottleneck games ? Answer in the thread

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so all these years I thought sata ssds are perfectly fine for gaming,and I still think they're generally okay.
but lately I've swapped platforms and while the fps performance uplift was very good,I found that watch dogs 2 still had some intermittent stutter that I previously attributed to my 4/8 cpu.Nothing game breaking,but damn it kept me wondering.

I was really puzzled since framerates and gpu utilization were rock solid.No dips in fps,no dips in gpu usage,no spikes in cpu usage when this happened.Dpc latency in check.Then eureka moment - wd2 is a huge open world game.I opened the resource monitor and voila,there's a big spike in disk usage every time the stutter happens.

nvme.jpg


Tested ac origins too,and while it is a big open game too,it seems a little less disk bandwidth heavy cause it's not showing any signs of disk bottleneck.

this is what ac origins looks like.very consistent disk usage,no crazy ass spikes and consistent frametime performance
origins.jpg


wd2 has some serious issues.disk usage is low and suddenly ramps up like crazy for a split second.

I wonder if a pci-e drive can deal with that.
will be getting one for my games soon.
 
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The real question is it random reads or sequential?
If it's random reads don't expect too much from a pci-e drive or NVMe drive.
If it's sequential it might give a slightly better experience.

I was under the impression that games usually loaded most of the stuff in either Vram of regular ram.

I would really like to see someone use a Threadripper 3960x and make a large Ram drive to run a full game from it. Heck you could even run a virtual machine clone of your windows on it, if it's big enough.
 
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The real question is it random reads or sequential?
If it's random reads don't expect too much from a pci-e drive or NVMe drive.
If it's sequential it might give a slightly better experience.

I was under the impression that games usually loaded most of the stuff in either Vram of regular ram.

I would really like to see someone use a Threadripper 3960x and make a large Ram drive to run a full game from it. Heck you could even run a virtual machine clone of your windows on it, if it's big enough.
well textures and stuff,not the big world data fiiles,those can be huge

now this is interesting.
wd2 regularly overloads the disk's i/o

wd2rv2.jpg


ac origins only does this in loading screens,in game the green bar rarely raises above half the way up.

it seems both games handle loading data differently.

@DemonicRyzen666
look at 860 evo iops values and compare them to what modern gaming nvmes can do.
8200pro can do 1.87x at 4k random

 
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In the past I had some stuttering with GTA V, (even though I use G-Sync) the game was installed on Sata SSD, I was running windows 8.1.
Then I installed windows 10 on M.2 PCI-e , also installed GTA V on the M.2 PCI-e and no more stuttering. (rarely now)

Not sure on what drive I have WD2 installed (no access to my main rig at the moment) but I didn't have stutters with WD2 IIRC.
 
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In the past I had some stuttering with GTA V, (even though I use G-Sync) the game was installed on Sata SSD, I was running windows 8.1.
f***** blew my mind when I found out
I thought nvmes are a bad buy over sata for gaming

well,they are.until they aren't.
 
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I have different online stores set to different SSDs both Sata and NVME and I've yet to see any stuttering to the naked eye in gaming regardless of drive. I'm sure there will be that one game that shows an improvement of NVME over Sata but as of today I would still recommend the highest capacity SSD you can afford over the connection type or theoretical benchmarks.
 
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i just use a ram drive in my cpu L3 cache... joking aside, on sata ssd as well and no stuttering, but i am migrating my steam library to 2tb nvme, and gradually use 7200k spinners in raid 0 as well. hpet might have something to do with stuttering, and a balanced system overall, on intel maybe less chance of it than amd.
 
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I have different online stores set to different SSDs both Sata and NVME and I've yet to see any stuttering to the naked eye in gaming regardless of drive. I'm sure there will be that one game that shows an improvement of NVME over Sata but as of today I would still recommend the highest capacity SSD you can afford over the connection type or theoretical benchmarks.
True.
But still its relevant knowledge.
It can cause frametime spikes.up until now I thought a sata ssd is enough and then some.
And mind you its on a 860evo,random small size reads are as good as some nvmes.

i just use a ram drive in my cpu L3 cache... joking aside, on sata ssd as well and no stuttering, but i am migrating my steam library to 2tb nvme, and gradually use 7200k spinners in raid 0 as well. hpet might have something to do with stuttering, and a balanced system overall, on intel maybe less chance of it than amd.
What are you buying ?
I never understood why tweaktown,my go to ssd review site,always painted hp ex and adata sx drives as best for gaming.now I do.
8875_007_samsung-970-evo-plus-ssd-review-96-layer-refresh (1).png
 
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ppn

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Waiting times on loading 1GB of textures when transitioning different areas in open world games can be very crucial. It happens in real time, the rendering of the game pauses like loading screen. So it depends how big the textures are.

SSD is limited to PCIe 1x gen2, So the bigger SSD that you can get doesn't make sense.

When the price of 1TB Nvme 3500MB.s and SSD 350MBs is nearing the same $100. so it can deliver that little much more speed. like 10 times over.
 
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Waiting times on loading 1GB of textures when transitioning different areas in open world games can be very crucial. It happens in real time, the rendering of the game pauses like loading screen. So it depends how big the textures are.

SSD is limited to PCIe 1x gen2, So the bigger SSD that you can get doesn't make sense.

When the price of 1TB Nvme 3500MB.s and SSD 350MBs is nearing the same $100. so it can deliver that little much more speed. like 10 times over.
Are game areas loading sequential 4mb ? I thought they were much smaller in size,4-512kb,random access at high queue number.
And I am not talking textures.when I access disk monitoring the highest usage are big,game world files.look closely at the picture in post #3
 
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Are game areas loading sequential 4mb ? I thought they were much smaller in size,4-512kb,random access at high queue number.
And I am not talking textures.when I access disk monitoring the highest usage are big,game world files.look closely at the picture in post #3

It may be just game dependent.
do you have have far cry 5 ?
I'd like to see some of this done on that game too.
 
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What are you buying ?
I never understood why tweaktown,my go to ssd review site,always painted hp ex and adata sx drives as best for gaming.now I do.
these are my exact drives, ex950 2tb, sx8200 pro 1tb for OS
 

bug

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I think this is less a question of whether SATA can bottleneck a game and more like "can developers mess up disk IO to the point a SATA drive won't do?"
Sizing your game's assets and preloading are meant to handle precisely the case you see here. The devs seem to have chosen to brute force it, that's all.

Also, your picture says 10MB/s tops, that's not enough to bottleneck a traditional HDD. But I'm guessing it's just the wrong picture.
 
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I highly doubt it, since even with mechanical drives, you don't tend to have issues.
Maybe on some really terrible old SandForce or JMicron based drive. I seem to have a vague memory of some early JMicron controllers having some serious issues.
Not seen any mention of that in recent years though.
 
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It may be just game dependent.
do you have have far cry 5 ?
I'd like to see some of this done on that game too.
Fc5 will be easy on sata,theres a lot less world detail and geometry

I highly doubt it, since even with mechanical drives, you don't tend to have issues.
Maybe on some really terrible old SandForce or JMicron based drive. I seem to have a vague memory of some early JMicron controllers having some serious issues.
Not seen any mention of that in recent years though.
Theres plenty of proof that hdds struggle with open world games.and its not just an odd frametime spike,its momentary freezes.

May I ask what is it that you doubt ? I took ss of disk usage.a game can overload a sata ssd unless Im interpreting a spiking green bar wrong.

I think this is less a question of whether SATA can bottleneck a game and more like "can developers mess up disk IO to the point a SATA drive won't do?"
Sizing your game's assets and preloading are meant to handle precisely the case you see here. The devs seem to have chosen to brute force it, that's all.

Also, your picture says 10MB/s tops, that's not enough to bottleneck a traditional HDD. But I'm guessing it's just the wrong picture.
No it says 70-something.look at pic in post 3.and frankly I ve seen 100mbs
If that's small file read then a sata ssd is up shits creek with 40 mb/s 4k random
 
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Can a sata ssd bottleneck games ?
No. If the system has to go out to the drive to fetch more data, typically due to a lack of sufficient RAM, then because it had to go to a drive, that might, in some circumstances, create a tiny bottleneck. But with a SSD there, even a slow SATA SSD, no.

See Does a Faster SSD Matter For Gamers --- $hit Manufacturers Say (For those who don't like Linus, set aside your prejudices and bias. Facts are facts regardless who presents them).
 
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we are not talking about ram textures paging, these are huge games with 100gb of open world data, that developers dont optimize the engine loading in the background, and the screenshots show disk bottleneck at the time of the freeze
 
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No. If the system has to go out to the drive to fetch more data, typically due to a lack of sufficient RAM, then because it had to go to a drive, that might, in some circumstances, create a tiny bottleneck. But with a SSD there, even a slow SATA SSD, no.

See Does a Faster SSD Matter For Gamers --- $hit Manufacturers Say (For those who don't like Linus, set aside your prejudices and bias. Facts are facts regardless who presents them).
which can then lead to a ram bottleneck.
Which reviews have pointed out that Far Cry 5 has a ram bottleneck.
That was why I asked.
 
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it also depends on the perception of the stutter to the gamer, some dont notice it, and as i said if the hardware and software of the overall system is not balanced, there will be hitches even on desktop mouse movement
 
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which can then lead to a ram bottleneck.
I agree. But the OP has 16GB. That "should" not be a problem. Regardless, neither will having a SATA connected SSD.
these are huge games with 100gb of open world data
I understand but for this discussion, that doesn't really matter. The system is not going into wait states, sitting around for 100GB "chunks" of data to be loaded off the drive. Once the program is loaded, the size of the chunks of data going back and forth between the system and local storage are relatively small. The size of those chunks being passed between the CPU and GPU may be a different story, but that is not affect by drive performance. Again, note that video. The results were surprising for all involved.
 
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I agree. But the OP has 16GB. That "should" not be a problem. Regardless, neither will having a SATA connected SSD.
I understand but for this discussion, that doesn't really matter. The system is not going into wait states, sitting around for 100GB "chunks" of data to be loaded off the drive. Once the program is loaded, the size of the chunks of data going back and forth between the system and local storage are relatively small. The size of those chunks being passed between the CPU and GPU may be a different story, but that is not affect by drive performance. Again, note that video. The results were surprising for all involved.
good

origins.jpg


bad

wd2rv2.jpg


I think this is less a question of whether SATA can bottleneck a game and more like "can developers mess up disk IO to the point a SATA drive won't do?"
I think you're spot on.
be that as it may,it's all the motiivation I need to get a nvme
 

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Not sure what you are trying to show us there. For anything to be conclusive, you would have run "blind" AB comparisons (like what was done in that video) using the exact same hardware running the exact same software with the only difference being drive type.

If your initial question was, "Can drives bottleneck games?". The answer would be, "Yes".
 

ppn

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This shows the Dysk queue being filled reaching 100%, like with CPU you want it to stay below 90%.
 
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If your initial question was, "Can drives bottleneck games?". The answer would be, "Yes".
yes.
and the one I ran it on happened to be sata ssd.

don't know what so hard to grasp here
 
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yes.
and the one I ran it on happened to be sata ssd.

don't know what so hard to grasp here
It is hard to grasp a moving question. And you've changed it by NOW agreeing and saying "Yes"!

Your initial question was about "SATA SSDs" as if you were comparing SATA SSDs to PCIe SSDs, for example.

But NOW, since you agreed to my rephrasing of your initial question, we are talking about all drives in general, and not just SATA SSDs.

Any time any CPU has to go out to the drive to access data (regardless type), there will be latency (bottleneck) issues when compared to accessing data stored RAM.
 
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