AHCI VS NVMe: Which Is Better? What's Their Difference?

Sherly updated on Feb 20, 2024 | Home >Computer Instruction

Today, NVMe SSDs are becoming more common and popular among users. So, what are the advantages of NVMe SSD over AHCI mode SSD? Should you upgrade from AHCI SSD to NVMe SSD? Some say AHCI SSDs are the best option, while others claim that NVMe SSDs are better. So, which is better? EaseUS will answer this question for you in the following content.

AHCI VS NVMe: Which Is Better

AHCI is the abbreviation of Advanced Host Controller Interface, and NVME is the abbreviation of Non-Volatile Memory Express; they are both transmission protocol/interface specifications. So which of them is better? Which one should you choose? In this section, you can find the answer:

Released in 2004, AHCI was originally designed for mechanical hard drives. After enabling AHCI mode for SATA SSD in the motherboard, you can make full use of the SATA drive's advantages, such as NCQ (Native Command Queuing), hot-swap, etc.

ahci vs nvme

NVMe was first introduced in 2011 by various vendors, including Samsung, Intel, SanDisk, and others. It gets the most out of PCIe SSDs. It was developed specifically for accessing non-volatile storage media connected via the PCIe bus, such as PCIe SSDs.

The benefit of using NVMe's additional PCIe interface is that SSDs can achieve shorter data access and command queuing latencies. Additionally, PCIe NVMe SSDs have excellent multitasking capabilities.

They two are totally different in performance, delay, I/O, and consumption. Check the table to learn more:

🧩Comparison 💡AHCI 🔦NVMe
🔨Speed Slower Faster
🚩Interface AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express)
⚙️Latency Higher Lower
✨Queue Depth Limited Higher
✏️Form Factor 2.5-inch, M.2, mSATA M.2
🔎Compatibility Compatible with most systems Compatible with newer systems
🧮Price Cheaper Expensive
👤Ideal for Everyday use, gaming, light workloads Heavy multitasking, high-performance workloads, professional-grade applications

The debate between AHCI and NVMe SSDs has been a hot topic for a long time. Both have pros and cons, so it really comes down to what you want and need from your storage device. AHCI SSDs offer some great benefits, such as improved compatibility with older systems and lower power consumption.

If you're on a tight budget or you're not worried about getting the absolute best performance, an AHCI SSD will still give you a great gaming experience. However, it still doesn't offer the same level of performance as NVMe SSDs.

If you're looking for the absolute best gaming experience, you'll need to use NVMe. However, what should you do when you want to upgrade from AHCI SSD to an NVMe SSD? Continue to read and learn more.

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Does NVMe SSD Have Any Requirements on Motherboard and Operating System? Sure!

The above comparison shows that NVMe SSD can provide a better experience than AHCI SSD. But NVMe SSD has stricter requirements on the system and motherboard, so you need to understand NVMe requirements on System and Motherboard before upgrading. You can share this article to let your friends know NVMe's requirements for Motherboards and operating systems.


There are the detailed requirements:

  • ⚙️Specification

NVMe PCIe SSDs usually adopt the M.2 specification and use the PCIe 3.0*4 bus standard. Therefore, you should make sure that there should be an M.2 PCIe * 4 slot on your motherboard. Additionally, the BIOS version needs to support NVMe drivers.

  • ?Operating System

NVMe SSDs are not recognized by all Windows operating systems. Suppose you are running an older Windows operating system, such as Windows 7 or an earlier version of Windows. In this case, you can install the NVMe driver first to make sure the NVMe SSD can be recognized.

  • ?Use NVMe SSD as Boot Drive

You should ensure the motherboard supports UEFI booting, and the NVMe SSD should be partitioned GPT.

All in all, if you are running the latest Windows, like Windows 10/11 and Windows Server 2019/2022, and have the latest motherboard, you don't need to worry about NVMe SSD compatibility. Otherwise, check your motherboard and OS before upgrading to NVMe SSD. Now let's learn how to upgrade to NVMe SSD.

How Can You Upgrade From AHCI SSD to an NVMe SSD?

For a long time, when it comes to upgrading AHCI SSD to NVMe, the most troublesome problem is data loss, and NVMe cannot boot. But don't worry. In this part, we will provide you with a way to copy all your data from the original AHCI SSD to the brand-new NVMe. The whole process contains 3 stages. If your NVMe SSD is not new, skip to Stage 2.

  1. Stage 1. Initialize the NVMe SSD (If you use a brand-new SSD, you need to initialize it before putting it into use.)
  2. Stage 2. Clone the AHCI SSD to NVMe SSD (Make sure the NVMe SSD has enough space for the data from the AHCI SSD.)
  3. Stage 3. Set NVMe SSD as Boot Drive (Change the boot order if you want to boot from the NVMe SSD.)

EaseUS Partition Master is a reliable tool that you need to know. It can help you initialize the NVMe SSD and clone all the data (including the operating system) to the NVMe SSD. Now, let's start.

Stage 1. Initialize the NVMe SSD

Windows can't detect an uninitialized SSD, so this stage is necessary to guarantee Windows can recognize the NVMe SSD and write on it. EaseUS Partition Master is compatible with Windows 11/10, Windows 8.1/8/7, and even Windows XP/Vista. Now, follow the guide to try. Remember to initialize the SSD to GPT style if you want to boot from the NVMe SSD.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master and got to Partition Manager.

Step 2. Right-click the target disk - HDD or SSD and select "Initialize to MBR" or "Initialize to GPT". Click "Execute Task" and "Apply" to save the changes.

0:00-0:18 Initialize to MBR; 0:19-0:44 Initialize to GPT;

Stage 2. Clone the AHCI SSD to NVMe SSD - No Data Loss

If you don't want to lose your original data and system, then it's time to consider saving applications and data on the original SSD. Windows doesn't have a built-in tool to help you copy data and system to another new drive at the same time, so cloning AHCI SSD to NVMe PCIe SSD is a very good choice under a great disk cloning software, EaseUS Partition Master. This tool provides two modes of fast clone disk and sector-by-sector clone, enabling you to clone an AHCI SSD to another NVMe SSD or clone an SSD with bad sectors to another disk.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

The following are some of its features:

  • It also provides the Migrate OS to SSD wizard, which enables you to clone only OS-related partitions to NVMe SSD to use Secure Boot, which is more time-saving.
  • And it can automatically perform 4K partition alignment on SSD to improve SSD performance.
  • Test the health of NVMe SSD, such as speed and temperature.

The guide below is how to clone the AHCI SSD to an NVMe SSD:

Step 1. Select the source disk.

  • Click the "Clone" from the left menu. Select the "Clone OS Disk" or "Clone Data Disk"  and click "Next".
  • Choose the source disk and click "Next".

Step 2. Select the target disk.

  • Choose the wanted HDD/SSD as your destination and click "Next" to continue.
  • Read Warning message and confirm "Yes" button.

Step 3. View the disk layout and edit the target disk partition size. 

Then click "Continue" when the program warns it will wipe out all data on the target disk. (If you have valuable data on the target disk, back up it in advance.)

You can select "Autofit the disk", "Clone as the source" or "Edit disk layout" to customize your disk layout. (Select the last one if you want to leave more space for C drive.)

Step 4. Click "Start" to start the disk cloning process.

Click the button to download this tool to try.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

Stage 3. Set NVMe SSD as Boot Drive

If you cloned the operating system to the NVMe SSD, you would meet the "Windows not booting from SSD" error. Follow the guide to set the NVMe SSD as the correct boot drive:

Step 1. Restart your PC. Press F2/F12/DEL to enter BIOS when you see the boot screen. (Note that different brands may have different ways to enter the BIOS, you can consult the manufacturer)

Step 2. Next, select "Boot Tap" and select the cloned NVMe SSD as the first boot option.

Step 3. Save changes and exit BIOS. Then, restart your computer, and you'll be able to start Windows normally.


More and more users choose NVMe SSD because it is fast enough to provide a better work or game experience. The advantages of NVMe also make many users who use AHCI SSD turn to it. But it should be noted that we need to figure out whether the NVMe motherboard and system requirements are compatible with our current equipment. When replacing with NVMe SSD, it is also very important to choose a reliable cloning software, such as EaseUS Partition Master; it also allows you to clone only used sectors and clone SSD with bad sectors. Besides, it can check NVMe SSD temperature and test NVMe SSD speed.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure


Do you know the difference between AHCI and NVMe now? Here are some other questions to help you if you are facing related issues.

1. Is NVMe faster than AHCI?

Yes, it is. NVMe is much faster than AHCI. NVMe can provide speeds up to 3,500MB/s, while the average speed of other SSDs ranges from 200MB/s to 550MB/s.

2. Should I go with SATA or NVMe?

While NVMe drives offer speeds up to 3,500MB/s, modern motherboards employ SATA III, which has a maximum throughput of 600MB/s. So NVMe SSD is sure to be a better choice when you have enough budget.

3. Which is the best SSD, NVMe, M2, or SATA 3?

The advantage of M.2 is that it has a thinner storage drive form factor.

NVMe is a protocol that allows data to be read and written over PCI-E.

SATA 3 is an older protocol and generally not as fast as NVMe.

If upgrading from a traditional hard drive to an SSD, both SATA 3 and NVMe offer significant improvements. But NVMe is generally more expensive than SATA 3.

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Updated by Sherly

Sherly joined EaseUS in 2022 and she has always loved writing articles and enjoys the fun they bring. She receives professional training here, focusing on product performance and other relative knowledge. She has written over 200 articles to help people overcome computing issues.

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