By Delia / Last update May 8, 2021

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SATA vs. NVMe, which one is better?

Why would many users want to clone SATA to NVMe? Is NVMe SSD really better than SATA drive? Let’s start with an overview of the two.

SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is an interface used to connect solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs) and optical drives. SATA greatly improves upon its predecessor - PATA, and the read speed can reach up to 600 MB/S under ideal conditions.

NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is the new standard host controller interface that uses the PCI Express (PCIe) bus to connect SSDs. A NVMe SSD can reach a top speed of 3500MB/S, which is 6x faster than SATA SSD. But given the high speed and low latency, it also costs more - kind of like the comparison between HDD and SSD.

In a nutshell, if you pursue high read & write speed and have enough budget, NVMe SSD is a good choice. The problem is, how can you migrate all the data and the operating system from SATA to NVMe?

nvme

Case: Can I clone SATA SSD to NVMe SSD?

I plan to clone my Windows 10 and files on Crucial SATA SSD to a new NVMe SSD, from which I will always boot, but I'd also like to wipe the source SATA SSD and use it as additional storage space on the same PC. Can I do this and how?

First of all, it’s possible to clone SATA SSD or HDD to NVMe SSD as long as your system supports it. Most of NVMe SSDs use the M.2 form factor, but not all M.2 slots support NVMe, so you better double-check it.

After ensuring your motherboard has an M.2 slot that supports NVMe, you can then use disk clone software to clone SATA drive to M.2 NVMe SSD directly. As stated in above case, it’s also a wise option to keep the SATA drive as a secondary storage device.

In the next section, I will elaborate on what you need to prepare for this.

Preparations to clone SATA to NVMe

Make sure your computer supports UEFI boot mode

Booting from an NVMe SSD is only supported on systems that support UEFI.

Clean up the SATA SSD or HDD

Delete unnecessary files and apps, run a disk cleanup to clear temporary files. 

Connect NVMe SSD into the NVMe M.2 slot correctly

Make sure the slot supports NVMe and the connected SSD can be detected.

Download and install disk clone software

As you know, you can’t boot from NVMe in legacy mode, and GPT is the only option to work with UEFI. So if your source SATA drive is formatted with MBR in old BIOS, you will have to convert the partition style in advance to avoid Inaccessible Boot Device and similar issues.

To make things easier, I would use AOMEI Backupper Professional here, because its Disk Clone feature supports cloning system disk from GPT to GPT or even cloning MBR to GPT directly. If you only want to clone Windows 10 from SATA to NVMe, you can use the System Clone feature instead.

Also, it runs in an intelligent cloning mode by default to copy only used sectors, this allows you to clone SSD to larger SSD, or clone larger HDD to smaller SSD. For the target NVMe SSD, you can tick the SDD Alignment option to accelerate its reading and writing speed.

Download it to have a shot:

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

*The Clone features in Free Trial can be demonstrated only, please upgrade it to complete the operation.

Backup the target SSD

Cloning SATA to NVMe will overwrite the NVMe SSD, so if you’ve stored any important data on it, please make a backup at first to avoid unwanted data loss. You can also implement it with AOMEI Backupper.

Tutorial: How to clone SATA drive to NVMe SSD

With all the preparations done, you can perform SATA to NVMe clone with following steps.

1. Launch the software, go to Clone tab and choose Disk Clone. If you only want to clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD, you can also use the System Clone feature.

disk clone

2. Select the SATA hard drive or SSD as the source disk, click Next. Then select the NVMe SSD as the destination disk, hit Next to continue.

select disk

3. Tick SSD Alignment to improve the performance of the NVMe SSD, then click Start Clone to execute the operation.

ssd alignment

You can also use following features:
Edit Partition: Adjust the partition size and drive letter of the destination disk.
Sector By Sector Clone: Clone all the sectors, including the blank and logically bad sectors. You can tick this option when cloning SATA SSD to a larger NVMe SSD. It will take longer time accordingly.

4. Restart the computer, press a specific key (e.g. F2, F8, F12, Del, etc.) to enter BIOS, change legacy to UEFI boot mode, otherwise you may find the cloned SSD won’t boot.

uefi boot mode

Note if you want to keep the SATA SSD/HDD as a data storage device, you need to set NVMe SSD as the first boot option in the UEFI menu. As for the SATA drive, you could use the Disk Wipe tool to wipe the hard drive as you like.

AOMEI Backupper also supports you to clone NVMe to SATA, you just need to connect the SATA drive properly and select the source disk and target disk accordingly.

Summary

If you want to clone SATA to NVMe SSD for faster reading and writing speed, AOMEI Backupper is a great helper with its powerful disk cloning feature. With it, you can easily transfer data and operating system between disks with different sizes and partition styles.

Moreover, this software offers complete data protection and disaster recovery solutions. You can use it to schedule automatic backup on regular basis, or perform incremental and differential backup to save changed files only.