M2 ssd drive: The Best M.2 Solid-State Drives for 2022

The Best M.2 Solid-State Drives for 2022

Under the hoods of the skinniest laptops (and in the hollows of the latest desktop-PC motherboards), solid-state storage has undergone a transformation. Even if you’re a close observer of all things tech, it’s understandable if you didn’t even realize it was happening.

That’s because the whole idea is to make the storage hardware itself close to invisible. Over the last few years, solid-state drives (SSDs) have migrated from the slab-like shapes of familiar hard drives into little sticks of memory that offer much the same capacities. And they have picked up speed along the way.


(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

More About Our Picks

Crucial P5 Plus

4.5 Outstanding

Best PCI Express 4.0 M.2 SSD for Most Users

Bottom Line:

The PCIe 4.0-compatible Crucial P5 Plus posts excellent program-loading times in our testing and offers a solid software package and warranty.

Pros

  • Superb PCMark 10 overall and program-loading scores
  • Good SSD management software suite
  • 256-bit AES hardware-based full-disk encryption
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • Slow Crystal DiskMark 4K write speeds

Read Our Crucial P5 Plus Review

Samsung SSD 980

4. 5 Outstanding

Best PCI Express 3.0 M.2 SSD for Most Users

Bottom Line:

Samsung’s SSD 980 M.2 drive provides a stellar mid-tier option for new or returning fans of the company’s SSDs, squeaking the most performance possible out of PCI Express 3.0.

Pros

  • Edges out the Intel SSD 670p in 4K random reads
  • Competitive pricing for its performance class
  • Field-leading SSD software suite
  • Good durability rating for MLC
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • Still capped at PCI Express 3.0’s natural ceiling

Read Our Samsung SSD 980 Review

ADATA XPG Atom 50

4.5 Outstanding

Best Budget PCI Express 4.0 M.2 SSD

Bottom Line:

The ADATA XPG Atom 50, which can be used in a laptop, desktop, or PlayStation 5, delivers stellar performance for a budget PCI Express 4.0 internal SSD.

Pros

  • Inexpensive for a PCIe 4. 0 SSD
  • Superb benchmark results with high scores for OS booting and game loading
  • Compatible with Sony PlayStation 5
  • AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption

Cons

  • Currently available only in 1TB capacity
  • Relatively low scores in some file-copy tests

Read Our ADATA XPG Atom 50 Review

HP FX900 PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD

4.0 Excellent

A Solid Alternative to the ADATA XPG Atom 50

Bottom Line:

The HP FX900 isn’t the fastest PCI Express 4.0 solid-state drive on the block, but this M.2 model puts up solid (and, in some cases, excellent) numbers at a surprisingly moderate price.

Pros

  • Competitively priced
  • Solid benchmark performance, with a few top-tier scores

Cons

  • Lacks a full heatsink
  • Relatively low write-durability (TBW) rating
  • No AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption

Read Our HP FX900 PCIe 4. 0 M.2 SSD Review

WD Blue SN570

4.0 Excellent

A Solid Alternative to the Addlink S70

Bottom Line:

The WD Blue SN570, the third iteration of Western Digital’s popular budget SSD, is faster than ever and proved a solid performer in our benchmark tests.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Decent speed for a PCIe 3.0 SSD

Cons

  • Low write durability rating for a TLC-based drive
  • Low AS-SSD program load benchmark score

Read Our WD Blue SN570 Review

Samsung SSD 980 Pro

4.5 Outstanding

Best High-Performance PCI Express 4.0 M.2 SSD

Bottom Line:

Samsung’s PCI Express 4.0-based SSD 980 Pro will delight upgraders and PC builders who have deep pockets (and a compatible desktop platform). It delivers among the fastest theoretical performance from a mainstream SSD we’ve seen to date.

Pros

  • Exceptionally speedy performance
  • PCI Express 4. 0 bus support
  • Five-year warranty
  • Built-in hardware encryption

Cons

  • High cost per gigabyte
  • Lower write-durability rating than previous SSD 970 Pro

Read Our Samsung SSD 980 Pro Review

Mushkin Gamma

4.0 Excellent

A Solid Alternative to the Samsung SSD 980 Pro

Bottom Line:

With the Gamma, Mushkin steps away from its budget-drive roots to deliver a highly capable, high-performance PCI Express 4.0 M.2 SSD—albeit without frills in the blister pack.

Pros

  • Fast sequential read/write speeds
  • High PCMark 10 Overall Score and copy-test performance
  • AES hardware-based encryption

Cons

  • Lacks SSD management software

Read Our Mushkin Gamma Review

SK Hynix Platinum P41

4.5 Outstanding

Best PCI Express 4.0 M.2 SSD for Serious Gamers

Bottom Line:

The SK Hynix Platinum P41 posted record-high scores in some of our general storage and gaming tests. It’s a super-value M.2 SSD; just add your own heatsink to ensure peak performance.

Pros

  • In our testing, exceeded its sequential speed ratings
  • Excellent scores in PCMark 10 and 3DMark benchmarks
  • Competitively priced
  • Includes drive cloning/migration software
  • Supports 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption

Cons

  • No heatsink included

Read Our SK Hynix Platinum P41 Review

Acer Predator GM7000

4.5 Outstanding

A Solid Alternative to the SK Hynix Platinum P41

Bottom Line:

With blistering throughput speeds and fine benchmark results, Acer makes a splash with its Predator GM7000, the first PCI Express 4.0 SSD in its line and every bit as lethal as its gaming laptop and monitor brandmates.

Pros

  • Slightly exceeds its blistering rated speeds
  • Good all-around benchmark performance
  • 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption
  • Includes free cloning-software download
  • PlayStation 5 compatible

Cons

  • Ships with graphene-embedded foam heat spreader rather than aluminum heatsink

Read Our Acer Predator GM7000 Review

Intel SSD 670p

4. 5 Outstanding

Best PCI Express 3.0 M.2 SSD for Serious Gamers

Bottom Line:

It’s a tad pricey for a QLC-based drive, but Intel’s SSD 670p serves up some of the best shallow-depth 4K random read performance we’ve ever seen.

Pros

  • Record-setting game, OS, and program load speeds for PCI Express 3.0
  • Higher durability ratings than most QLC NAND drives
  • Five-year warranty
  • Solid software suite

Cons

  • A bit higher pricing per gig than typical for QLC NAND

Read Our Intel SSD 670p Review

ADATA XPG Spectrix S40G

4.5 Outstanding

Best M.2 SSD for PC Modders

Bottom Line:

The ADATA XPG Spectrix S40 is an unapologetically bright RGB-lit M.2 SSD that blings up your PC. Its 4K read and write speeds should keep most gamers happy, too.

Pros

  • Exceptional 4K write and sequential-read results.
  • Strong value proposition.
  • RGB lighting is a fun addition for PC builders.

Cons

  • Some quirks around saving RGB settings with multiple profiles.

Read Our ADATA XPG Spectrix S40G Review

The traditional SSD that you buy and install in a desktop PC, or in place of a hard drive in a laptop, uses what’s known as the «2.5-inch drive» form factor. (In actuality, the drives are about 2.75 inches wide.) These SSDs have the same dimensions that laptop-style hard drives do. SSD makers adopted this standard size to make SSDs compatible with existing laptop designs. (They could configure laptops with the choice of a hard drive or an SSD without any retooling.) Desktop PCs, meanwhile, could accommodate SSDs of this size with little fuss. You could mount them in a 3.5-inch drive bay using a simple bracket, or even just using alternate mounting holes in those same spots. Over time, too, desktop PC chassis have evolved to gain their own bays and mounting points for 2. 5-inch drives.

However, from an engineering point of view, SSDs didn’t need to be that big. The enclosure an SSD comes in has a lot of dead space inside. It’s designed in that 2.5-inch size and shape to make the drive fit into those existing bays. So when mobile-device designers, challenged with slimming down laptops and tablets, reassessed this issue, the consensus was clear: The bulky 2.5-inch form factor, eventually, would have to go.

At the core, an SSD is just a thin circuit board studded with flash-memory and controller chips. Why not design around that?


In the Beginning, There Was mSATA…

The first attempt was a new form factor called mini-SATA, or mSATA. The boiled-down essence of an SSD with the shell removed, an mSATA drive is a bare, rectangular circuit board. (Most mSATA drives relevant to upgraders measure about 1 by 2 inches.) mSATA drives fit into a special slot in a laptop’s logic board or on a PC motherboard. As the name suggests, the slot is a conduit to the Serial ATA bus in the system. The interface on the drive end is an edge connector on the PCB, as opposed to the usual SATA cabling. The mSATA drive also draws all the power it needs through the slot.


(Credit: HP)

By being reliant on SATA, mSATA drives gained all of the advantages and limitations of that interface, including the upper speed limit of SATA 3.0, the latest revision of Serial ATA. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. mSATA was also unusual in that it piggybacked on an existing connector, known as Mini-PCI, often used for installing small onboard components such as compact Wi-Fi cards.

Now, mSATA drives still linger on the market, primarily because some laptop models adopted the form factor years back, and residual demand exists as capacity upgrades. But it’s definitely a fading form factor, and mSATA saw only slight adoption on desktop systems.

Even in mSATA’s heyday, though, a replacement was in the works. During development, it was known by the prosaic name NGFF, for «Next-Generation Form Factor,» which still lingers here and there. As it took shape, though, it took on its current, final name: M.2. The drives would be smaller, potentially more capacious, and, most important, not necessarily reliant on SATA.


So, What Is an M.2 SSD?

M.2 drives are as utilitarian as upgrades come: They look like sticks of gum studded with NAND modules and a controller chip. («NAND» is the generic term for the flash-memory chips that make up the actual storage on the SSD; the term refers, technically, to the type of logic gates used in the underlying memory structure. See our primer Buying an SSD: 20 Terms You Need to Know for more SSD lingo explained.)

The key thing to remember about M.2 is that it is a form factor, a shape. The bus—the data pathway over which the data travels to and from an M.2 drive—is distinct from M.2 itself and can vary. And it can make all the difference.


(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

But first, the shape issue. Any M.2 drive you are looking at will be labeled with a four- or five-digit number as part of its specifications or model name. It’s a measurement, in millimeters: The first two numbers define the drive’s width, the second two the length.

The market has settled on 22mm wide as the standard for desktop and laptop implementations; the aftermarket drives available and the accessible slots we’ve seen have all been that width. The most common lengths we’ve seen are 80mm («Type-2280») and 60mm («Type-2260»). The lengthier the drive, the more NAND chips you can tend to stuff on it (plus, M.2 drives can be single- or double-sided), though know that length isn’t an absolute measure of capacity.


42mm, 60mm, and 80mm M.2 SSDs

Now, why does length matter? Fit, especially in the case of laptops. Most desktop motherboards with M.2 slots have screw-mounting points for several lengths of M.2 drive (usually, 80mm, 60mm, and 42mm), so length hasn’t been an issue there. But it’s a different matter in a laptop with a user-accessible M.2 slot. The bay may be space-limited to M.2 drives of a certain size, or to only single-sided modules, if the thickness tolerances are really tight. You’ll want to check the space available before you shop.

As we mentioned, M.2 drive length isn’t always an indicator of drive capacity, but there are limits to NAND-chip density and how many memory modules engineers can stuff onto a PCB of a given size. As a result, most of the M.2 drives we’ve seen to date have topped out at 2TB, though you can find a few 4TB and 8TB models at lofty prices. The typical capacity waypoints are 120GB or 128GB; 240GB, 250GB, or 256GB; 480GB, 500GB, or 512GB; 960GB or 1TB; and 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB. (Smaller-capacity 32GB and 64GB M.2 SSDs are also available for use in embedded applications or for SSD caching, but these are of marginal interest to upgraders or PC builders.) Pricing on these drives ranges anywhere from 10 to 75 cents per gigabyte, and the biggest factor affecting price is the bus type of the drive.

Now, to reiterate an important point: A drive may come in the M.2 form factor, but that says nothing about the bus that it makes use of. Determining that is just as important as making sure it fits.


PCI Express vs. SATA: The SSD Bus-Interface Issue

This is the trickiest part of an M.2 SSD upgrade. Most of the early M.2 drives were really just ordinary SATA drives stripped down to their fundamentals: a bare circuit board with a different physical connector, but at heart the same drives as their 2.5-inch bigger brothers. Some of them still are. You won’t see substantially better performance with these M.2 SATA drives versus their 2.5-inch SATA equivalents, because ultimately your data is traveling along the exact same inner pathways inside the computer once it leaves the drive.

That’s not a bad thing. Especially in the case of laptops, an older machine might support only M.2 SATA-bus SSDs, and that will be the boundary of your upgrade path…end of story. As a result, the only reasons you’d upgrade the drive, in that situation, would be to get more capacity, or if the old one failed.

Nowadays, though, many lean, premium laptops can make use of PCI Express-bus M. 2 SSDs. (Just about all new desktop motherboards with M.2 slots also support PCI Express M.2 SSDs, too.) With these, you may see a substantive increase in performance in benchmark testing, but in most real-world usage, they’ll just feel like a fast, premium SATA SSD.


(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

The earliest versions of M.2 PCI Express SSDs made use of the PCI Express Gen 2.0 x2 interface, which defines a throughput ceiling that’s higher than SATA 3.0’s, but not enormously so. That evolved into PCI Express Gen 3.0 x2 and x4, paired with a technology called Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) to propel performance even further, especially with heavy, deeply queued workloads.

Beyond that is PCI Express 4.0, a newer version of the PCI Express bus. It has rapidly gained traction, though it still signifies, in most cases, a higher-end drive. The read and write speeds for a few (such as Samsung’s flagship SSD 980 Pro) are rated as high as 7,000MBps. These drives are supported on recent desktop systems using the latest chipsets from AMD and Intel, and the very latest mobile platforms. For AMD, that is the X570 and B550 chipsets (for mainstream Ryzen CPUs) and the AMD TRX40 (for third-generation Ryzen Threadripper ones). With Intel, PCI Express 4.0 is supported on Intel 500-series chipsets that work with 11th Generation «Rocket Lake» desktop CPUs, or on laptops built on the latest «Tiger Lake» 11th Generation mobile platform, and on later «Alder Lake» 12th Generation platforms.

You can use these PCIe 4.0-based SSDs in older AMD- and Intel-chipset systems that support PCI Express 3.0, but they’ll just bounce down to slower PCIe 3.0 speeds. What’s next? Expect PCIe 5.0 support to appear in many desktop motherboards in 2022, but those even faster-rated drives aren’t quite here yet.


Meet NVMe: The Speed Booster

NVMe is another technical hurdle, because systems and motherboards need board-level support for these drives to be bootable. All late-model motherboards now support NVMe M.2 drives, but older boards are not guaranteed to support booting from an NVMe-based drive. Outside of new motherboards, these high-bandwidth, NVMe-capable slots are also found in some recent laptops. Also note that in some cases, a laptop may support a PCI Express NVMe drive, but it may be soldered to the motherboard and thus not upgradable. So, if you’re thinking of upgrading a recent laptop or convertible, be sure to consult your manual very closely before buying one of these drives.


(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Among M.2 drives, PCI Express 3.0 and 4.0 x4 M.2 drives that support NVMe are now the norm among aftermarket purchases. We’ve tested plenty, led by Samsung’s field-leading and pioneering SSD Pro and SSD EVO families. Ever since those Samsung drives led the way, though, we’ve seen fine NVMe-capable models from ADATA, Seagate, WD, and many others.

These are indeed impressively fast drives, leaving the fastest SATA-based drives well behind. But know that they are more relevant for PC builders or folks upgrading relatively recent systems rather than older PCs, which may not have an M. 2 slot, or may have an M.2 slot but not one that supports PCI Express and/or NVMe—only SATA-based M.2. So, as we said in the previous paragraph, make sure that your system supports this kind of drive before picking one up. You don’t want to bring home one of the fastest consumer drives available, only to find your system won’t boot with it installed.


Basic Compatibility, Card-Based M.2, and Optane Memory

Okay, back from Planet NVMe. Today, the real choice if you’re M.2-shopping will be between basic SATA and PCI Express M.2 drives, and for most users, those options will be dictated simply by what your motherboard or laptop can accept. A careful browse of support forums or a call to the vendor’s support line should unravel the M.2 bus-compatibility details. On the desktop side of the aisle, many recent M.2-equipped mobos support both kinds.

If you’re looking to upgrade a desktop but your PC’s motherboard doesn’t have an M.2 slot at all, one incidental option is what we call an «M. 2 drive on a card» or an AIB SSD (for «add-in-board SSD»). We’ve seen solutions like this from storage stalwarts such as Plextor, OWC, and Kingston. Also, with some of their high-end motherboards, Asus and MSI offer an M.2 «carrier card» like these makers use. In essence, these products put your M.2 drive on a PCI Express expansion card and let you tap their speed through the PCI Express slots in a desktop PC that lacks any (or enough) M.2 slots. Some such cards support multiple M.2 drives, too. A few high-end motherboards supporting PCI Express 4.0 even bundle such cards, supporting two or four M.2 drives, to supplement onboard M.2 slots.

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We actually like these because often, you often get a robust heat sink on the M.2 drive. Some PCI Express-bus M.2 SSDs can run hot under sustained read/write tasks and throttle their speed. That said, unless you’re running a server or something similar, where a drive is constantly getting hammered, that’s usually not something you have to worry about. That’s because many of these drives are so fast, they get their transfer duties done before they have a chance to get all that hot.

One last caveat to drop in before we get to our product recommendations surrounds Intel’s SSD line. Intel for a while sold a family of M.2-based storage products under the brand name Optane, in two very distinct types of drive. Intel’s Optane SSDs are SSDs like any other, bootable drives that can serve as a stand-alone boot drive or as secondary storage. They were discontinued for consumers in 2021, but you may still see them around.

Intel’s Optane Memory is a different animal. This is an M.2-format module that looks like an SSD, but serves as an accelerating cache for another drive, usually a hard drive. Again, these are not the same thing; if you’re buying an Optane drive, make sure you know what you are buying. You can read a lot more about Optane Memory in our deep-dive review of the first generation. The Optane brand here in 2022, though, is fading. We mention it only because you may run across it if you’re upgrading a laptop or desktop from a few years back. If you can, simply replace it and the hard drive with a vanilla M.2 SSD, if the PC supports it.


M.2 Upgrades and Boot Drives: What to Look For

Welcome to the cutting edge! You’re shopping for a kind of drive that many folks don’t even realize exists. As a result, you need to pay attention to several factors that may not be documented very well while you shop. Let’s recap.

Check the physical size. Make sure the width and especially the length (expressed in millimeters) will work in the space available for the drive. (This is mainly an issue with laptops.) Most will be 22mm wide, but the length varies: 42mm, 60mm, 80mm, 110mm are the common sizes.


(Credit: Molly Flores)

Know which bus you’re on.  In a laptop-upgrade scenario, you’re almost certainly swapping out one M.2 drive for another, with the intent of gaining capacity. Make sure you know the specifications of the drive coming out of your system—and whether it’s reliant on the SATA or PCI Express bus—so you can install the same, presumably roomier kind going in.

For a desktop, it’s a bit trickier. Some motherboard M.2 slots support either SATA-bus or PCI Express-bus M.2 drives on the same slot. Others support only SATA M.2 drives (those will be older boards), still others support only PCI Express M.2 drives. (And, in the case of PCI Express M.2, not all older motherboards support PCIe x4 or NVMe!) You need to know what your board is able to use and buy accordingly. All else being equal, PCI Express should give you a speed boost over a SATA model, but for everyday tasks, a SATA SSD will serve just as well, and be indistinguishable in most cases from a PCI Express one.

Also, with the very latest drives, look for PCI Express 4. 0 support. You’ll want to have a compliant late-model AMD or Intel motherboard if you buy one of those. Again, check the specs. A PCIe 4.0 drive should work in a PCI 3.0-only slot, just slower.

Check for bootability. If you’re installing an M.2 SSD in a desktop board for the first time, verify with the board maker that an M.2 SSD of the bus type you are considering will be bootable. Though unlikely, a BIOS upgrade may be necessary with an older motherboard.

Compare the cost per gig. Cost per gigabyte is the main yardstick whereby you can price-compare similar M.2 drives from different makers. Expect to pay more for PCI Express bus models, all else being equal, and more for PCIe 4.0 drives than PCIe 3.0 ones. But the cost differences are narrowing in both cases. Divide the price (in dollars) by the capacity of the drive (in gigabytes) to get the cost per gig. For example, a 1TB (1,000GB) drive that’s selling for $99 works out to about 10 cents per gigabyte. Use this as a value yardstick when looking at different drives.


So, What Is the Best M.2 SSD to Buy?

Below are the top M.2 solid-state drives that we’ve reviewed. You can also check out our roundups of the best external SSDs, as well as the best external hard drives for Mac, and the overall best external hard drives.

If you’re also interested in factoring larger 2.5-inch drives into the equation, check out our roundup of the best internal SSDs overall, which includes some 2.5-inch models. And if you want to see strictly PCI Express-based SSDs, see our roundup of the best PCI Express NVMe drives.

Best M.2 SSDs of 2022

Popular Mechanics; Courtesy XPG

If you’re into gaming, photos, video, or just looking to add lots of speedy storage to a desktop or laptop, an M.2 SSD (Solid State Drive) is the preferred way to do it.

The M.2 SSD packs copious amounts of storage into a device roughly the size of—and often not much thicker than—a stick of chewing gum. Moreover, most—though not all—M.2 SSDs support newer interfaces that can move data in and out of those storage chips much faster.

The Expert: For nearly 30 years I’ve been an IT professional, personal tech consultant, freelance technology writer, and book author who spends probably a bit more time than I should hip-deep in the latest tech. Over the past couple of years, I’ve personally given several dozen PCs a new lease on life by performing SSD upgrades.

Best M.2 SSDs

  • Best on a Budget

    Kingston NV1 500G M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe
    Kingston

    $40 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $40 AT AMAZON

  • Best for Performance

    SAMSUNG 980 PRO 2TB PCIe MZ-V8P2T0B
    SAMSUNG

    $235 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $235 AT AMAZON

  • Best Value for High Capacity

    PNY CS2130 4TB M. 2 NVMe M280CS2130-4TB-RB
    PNY

    $486 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $486 AT AMAZON

  • Best High Capacity—Performance

    Seagate FireCuda 530 4TB
    Seagate

    $740 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $740 AT AMAZON

  • Best for Showing Off a PC’s Insides

    XPG S40G 1TB RGB 3D NAND PCIe Gen3x4 NVMe 1.3 M.2 2280 (AS40G-1TT-C)
    XPG

    $90 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $90 AT AMAZON

  • Best SATA Option

    AData ADATA SU650 1TB M.2 (ASU650NS38-1TT-C)
    AData

    $88 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $88 AT AMAZON

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It wasn’t always so easy to add storage. For decades, PC storage was synonymous with bulky, mechanical hard drives. The first hard drive was sold in 1956, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that they became available to consumers, and the 90s before hard drive actually went mainstream.

SSDs have been in existence in one form or another since the late 1970s, but it was only in the last decade or so that you could buy one. SSDs drives greatly improve performance and reliability by storing data on chips instead of spinning magnetic platters. Since SSDs have no moving parts versus mechanical hard drives which do, there’s less chance for something to go wrong.

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A conventional SSD (it looks a lot like a mechanical hard drive) is primarily designed a as drop-in replacement for their hard drive predecessors, so they’re not only bigger than they need to be, but they’re also hamstrung by an aging interface called SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) which prevents an SSD’s speedy storage chips from reaching their full performance potential.

Although most desktops or laptops built within the past five to seven years should accommodate an M.2 SSD, there are exceptions. Second, not all M.2 SSDs are the same, because «M.2» is an actually an umbrella term for modules that come in certain standardized shapes and sizes. M.2 SSDs may use one of a few different interfaces, and which one of these interfaces your PC supports determines the level of performance you can expect—or whether it will work in your PC at all.

A prerequisite to any M.2 SSD purchase then is to consult your desktop or laptop’s motherboard specs to verify not only the presence of an M.2 socket, but to determine its capabilities. PC manufacturers don’t always put this information in the owner’s manual, however, a bit of Google-Fu (be sure you use the exact model of your PC in searches) should turn up the information you need. For example, the spec sheet for my circa-2020 Dell XPS 8940 desktop supports the “M.2 2280/2230 M-key (PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe)”.

How to Choose an M.2 SSD

Physical Size

Most desktop and laptops support M.2 “2280” modules, a label that refers to the device’s width and length (22mm and 80mm, respectively). While M.2 2280 modules represent the lion’s share of the market, other lengths do exist, including 30, 42, and 60 mm. (A 30mm M.2 is labeled “2230”, and so on). Although it’s not especially common, some laptops—ones that are older or with very small footprints—may only accommodate shorter-length modules. Some, as indicated by the specifications of my PC mentioned above, may support multiple lengths.

Interface and Connector

Modern M.2 SSDs connect to the PC via one of two versions of the PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) interface, either Gen 3 or Gen 4 (also called 3.0 and 4.0) and use a communication protocol called NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express). Compared to SATA, which offers a maximum of about 600 MB/s (Megabytes per second) of throughput, PCIe 3 can provide up to 3. 9 GB/s (Gigabytes per second, more than a sixfold increase) while PCIe 4 doubles that to 7.8 GB/s.

If your PC supports a PCIe/NVMe-based M.2 SSD, that’s the way to go. Most PCs manufactured within the past five years or so should support PCIe 3, while support for PCIe 4 is more recent and thus less common. The two PCIe standards are backward-compatible, so if you install a PCIe 4 M.2 SSD in a system that supports PCIe 3, or vice-versa, it will still work, albeit at a lower level of performance. (Note: Performance is also determined by the type of storage chips, known as NAND Flash Memory, and other components an M.2 SSD uses, so two devices equipped with the same interface may have somewhat different performance.)

If your PC lacks support for PCIe/NVMe-based M.2 SSDs, opt for one that uses SATA. Although a SATA-based M.2 SSD’s performance won’t generally be any better than an SSD that uses the conventional hard drive form-factor (since they both communicate via the same SATA interface), it’s still many times faster than a mechanical hard drive.

Also check the connector type an M.2 SSD uses. M.2 SSDs with a PCIe/NVMe interface have a connector with one notch known as an “M-key”. The connector on a SATA-based M.2 SSD has two notches and is known as a “B+M key”. On the PC side, the M.2 socket will almost always be an M-key connector. An M-key M.2 SSD will work just fine in an M-key M.2 socket while a B+M key M.2 SSD will physically fit in an M-key socket, but may or may not work, depending on which interface(s) your system supports.

Capacity

As a rule, buy the largest-capacity M.2 SSD your budget allows. Storage is frequently something you think you have enough of until suddenly, you don’t. Unless your storage needs are truly minimal (e.g., you keep your data solely in the cloud and don’t need local copies of most of your files), don’t consider anything smaller than 500 GB. Give yourself some room to grow. Installing an M.2 SSD takes enough effort—especially on some laptops— that you probably won’t want to do it more than once if you can help it.

Performance Rating

Read and write times are another metric to help you choose an SSD. The faster, the better, meaning faster boot times, quicker application launches, and better overall system performance. Sequential read/write means reading/writing contiguous areas of storage, whereas random refers to reading/writing random areas of storage. The former is a good metric of performance when you’re predominantly dealing with large files—creating/playing videos, for example, as those files can be exceedingly large. The latter is a better indicator of overall performance, so more relevant for the general usage.

That said, there isn’t really a target performance number to recommend, other than «higher is better,» because the performance you actually get depends on whether your PC supports the same standard the M.2 SSD does and the specific applications you use. Note the performance numbers here are what the manufacturer claims, not necessarily what may be ultimately achieved.

Photo by Joseph Moran // Here are two M.2 SSD modules. The upper one uses PCIe/NVMe and an M-key connector (one notch). The lower one uses SATA and a B+M key connector (two notches). Although both modules will fit into typical desktop or laptop’s M.2 socket (which uses an M-key connector) the latter module will only be recognized if the system supports SATA.

I selected these M.2 SSDs based on several criteria including features, price, value, capacity, and rated performance figures. All the selections here are M.2 2280 modules (the most widely supported), and most are in the price/capacity sweet spot between 500 GB and 2 TB. You will generally pay a lot more per GB of storage when you go over 2 TB.

Best on a Budget

Kingston

Kingston NV1 500G M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe

Best for Performance

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG 980 PRO 2TB PCIe MZ-V8P2T0B

Best Value for High Capacity

PNY

PNY CS2130 4TB M. 2 NVMe M280CS2130-4TB-RB

Best High Capacity—Performance

Seagate

Seagate FireCuda 530 4TB

Best for Showing Off a PC’s Insides

XPG

XPG S40G 1TB RGB 3D NAND PCIe Gen3x4 NVMe 1.3 M.2 2280 (AS40G-1TT-C)

Best SATA Option

AData

AData ADATA SU650 1TB M.2 (ASU650NS38-1TT-C)

$88 AT AMAZON

Ready to Boost Your PC? Our Expert Joseph Moran Gives You Guidance on Buying an M2.SSD

Photo by Joseph Moran // (Top) An M.2 socket on a circa-2018 Dell desktop PC motherboard. The labeling states it supports both PCIe and SATA interfaces as well as either a 2280 or 2230 size module. The single notch indicates an M-key connector. (Bottom) To install an M.2 SSD module, insert it into the connector at an angle, then press down on the opposite end, and secure it in place with a screw.

PM: My desktop PC doesn’t have an M.2 socket. Am I out of luck?

JM: Not necessarily. If your PC has a free PCIe slot (and chances are it does) you can use an M.2 PCIe expansion card (generally between $15 and $50) to add up to four M.2 SSDs to your PC.

PM: How much effort does it take to access the M.2 socket inside a laptop?

JM: That depends on the laptop. At the very least, you’ll likely need to remove the entire bottom cover (usually 10 screws, often of varying length, so note which one goes where), but some laptops may require further disassembly to access the M.2 socket. Definitely consult the service manual or check out a YouTube video in advance to see how involved the process will be.

PM: Is there any reason to choose a hard drive over an M.2 SSD these days?

JM: Yes, if you absolutely need the most storage at the lowest possible cost. For example, an internal 8 TB hard drive can be had for as little as $150. In contrast, an 8 TB M.2 SSD will set you back between $1,200 and $1,500. Need even more storage? A 16 TB hard drive currently carries a price tag of around $350, but an M.2 SSD of equivalent capacity…is not even a thing. (At least, not for consumers—yet.)

PM: Do I need to buy an SSD that comes with a warranty?

JM: Yes. Luckily most M.2 SSDs (and all the ones featured here) come with a three- or five-year warranty. Remember that the warranty doesn’t protect your data though—so always back it up.

Joseph Moran
Joseph Moran, a native New Yorker but currently based in Florida, has been testing and writing about technology for 30 years.

What Is an M.2 SSD? The Pros, Cons, and How to Install One

Whether you’re building a PC or just want a fast disk drive for running your operating system, it’s wise to consider an SSD drive. But rather than choose a typical 2. 5-inch SATA device, why not consider something a bit more up to date?

SSD has evolved, with new devices that plug directly into the motherboard. What is an M.2 SSD, and how do you install an M.2 in your PC?

M.2 SSD or mSATA SSD?

When building your own PC or upgrading an existing model, opting for the fastest possible storage is a smart move. After all, if you can install your operating system on superfast storage, your computer will run quicker.

M.2, formerly known as the Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), offers faster data throughput than the older mSATA. As the latter relies on PCIe, it is limited to 6Gb per second (Gb/s). Older laptops and Windows tablets use mSATA solid-state drives (SSD).

One reason it is so fast is that there is a direct connection between the motherboard and the M.2 SSD.

Three types of M.2 are available:

  • SATA: This option uses the AHCI driver and routes to a SATA 3.0 port via the M. 2 connector. It is slow, but widely compatible.
  • AHCI: Advanced Host Controller Interface is a slower option that is found on low budget motherboards and is suited to older operating systems. SSDs connected via AHCI typically behave more like DRAM than a standard hard disk drive (HDD).
  • NVMe: Non-Volatile Memory Express or NVM Express was created specifically for next-generation SSDs. While NVMe storage is available with standard PCIe connections for desktop motherboards, the M.2 form factor uses a different connector.

Our guide to the difference between SSD, M.2, and NVMe will help you understand this further.

While mSATA SSDs are good, take the opportunity to use M.2 if your motherboard supports it.

What Does an M.2 SSD Look Like?

As well as the two types of M.2, you’ll find some differences in the connectors. It is vital that you buy the right type of M.2 SSD for the connection on your motherboard. Three configurations are available, which differ based on the position of the notch, the gap in the edge connector.

  • B: The notch is six pins from the left.
  • M: The notch is five pins from the right.
  • B&M: Features two notches; first is six pins from the left, the second is five pins from the right.

Obviously, you will need to take care to check your motherboard documentation before purchasing an M.2 SSD. A mistake could be expensive!

How to Install an M.2 SSD Drive

Before you install your M.2 SSD drive, take the necessary anti-static precautions. Be sure also to disconnect the computer from the mains. If you’re installing an M.2 SSD device in a laptop, remove the battery.

Step 1: Select the M.2 SSD You Want

Start off by identifying an M.2 SSD storage device based on the requirements of your motherboard and your port key. This is undoubtedly the most difficult aspect of the process. A site like PCPartPicker.com can help you make the right choice, based on your motherboard, size requirement, and budget.

Step 2: Identify the M.2 Connector

Some motherboards have multiple M.2 ports. One might be for a network card or some other device. Alternatively, your motherboard might have a specific configuration for optimum use. You might have four or more SATA drives, for example, requiring the use of a specific M.2 port.

It is important, therefore, to check your motherboard documentation to confirm which port the M.2 SSD should be connected to.

Step 3: M.2 Installation With No Connector

Is your motherboard missing an M.2 slot? If so, you can purchase a PCIe adapter card with an M.2 slot. These are relatively inexpensive, so won’t bump up your total too much if you’re thinking of buying an M.2 SSD.

No PCIe adapters are available for laptops, but USB 3.0 enclosures for M.2 SSDs are available. This isn’t ideal and is useless for booting operating systems. But for ultra-fast storage—perhaps for high-definition video editing—it’s a smart option.

Remember when buying an adapter to ensure the key matches the M.2 SSD you’re buying. Otherwise, it will be incompatible!

Step 4: Install the M.2 SSD Drive

When you’re ready to install the M.2 SSD drive, begin by removing the securing screw from the port. Use a Philips head screwdriver for this and keep the screw safe. Sticking it on a blob of adhesive putty is a good option.

Next, ensure the SSD drive and connector match up, then slide it into the port at a 30-degree angle. In some cases, it should slide in without too much effort, but you may need to wiggle it a little. Once in, it should stay at the 30-degree angle; there is a slight spring, which you’ll see if you push the other end down toward the motherboard.

To secure the M.2 SSD drive, push it against the motherboard, line up the screw, and tighten it up. Note that the position of the screw will depend on the length of the M. 2 SSD. Several holes should be available to support difference SSD sizes.

Take care not to over-tighten the SSD as this will damage it. Replace your PC’s case before you boot it up again.

Step 5: How to Enable M.2 in the BIOS/UEFI

You’ll need to enable the M.2 device in your PC’s settings, so boot straight into the BIOS/UEFI screen (how to check if your PC uses BIOS or UEFI). Look for an M.2 option related to the PCI Express slot. Check the motherboard manual for the correct steps here, as it will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.

With the device enabled, you can opt to install Windows or whatever operating system you prefer. M.2 SSD devices are particularly suited to running operating systems rather than acting as storage for other files.

The Downsides of Using an M.2 SSD

While an M.2 SSD can give your PC a superfast operating system, you should be aware of potential drawbacks.

For example, older motherboards with M.2 SSD support may rely on the PCIe bus, which means devices are limited to 6Gb/s transfer speeds. Furthermore, M.2 SSD drives connected to the PCIe bus cannot be used as the system’s primary drive.

Newer motherboards don’t have this issue, so it’s worth checking that your hardware will deliver the speeds you’re expecting.

Meanwhile, limits to the motherboard design may restrict how the M.2 device interacts with the rest of the system. PCIe bandwidth is limited, which means that adding an M.2 SSD could interfere with other hardware. Again, check the motherboard documentation to check how an M.2 drive could impact your setup.

Fast Storage on Your PC With M.2 SSD Installation

Follow the steps above to install an M.2 SSD into your PC or laptop, or upgrade an existing M.2 device. With faster storage now installed, your operating system will boot quicker and performance will improve.

Simply select the right M.2 SSD and connector for your motherboard. Consider an adapter if what you want is beyond your budget; insert the device carefully.

No option for M. 2 on your motherboard? A standard SSD drive will still improve speed over traditional HDDs, as will adding RAM to the system.

2 Types of M.2 SSDs: SATA and NVMe

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Aug 2021

  • Personal Storage

  • PC Performance

  • SSD

  • M.2

  • NVMe

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When we talk about M.2 in storage technology, we’re usually talking about an SSD by referring to its form factor. M.2 refers to an SSD form factor that resembles a stick of chewing gum. Its small and slim size makes it ideal for computers that are lightweight and portable like laptops, notebooks, NUCs and ultrabooks. They take up less room than 2.5-inch SSDs or hard drives and can go up to 2TB in capacity.

Now that we’ve explained what M.2 is, let’s address the question, “Is M.2 faster than an SSD?”

The answer is no. M.2 is a form factor of SSDs so that question doesn’t really make sense. Still, the underlying confusion behind the question is understandable since M.2 SSDs are relatively new when compared to the other form factors of client SSDs. There are two types of M.2 SSDs, which are SATA and NVMe-based. They differ in storage technology and, depending on your needs and budget, they each have their individual pros and cons.

Helpful tip: Bear in mind that an M.2 SSD is only compatible with a motherboard that supports a M.2 slot. Check your computer’s motherboard to make sure it has an M.2 slot.

SATA M.2 SSD

SATA M.2 SSDs use the SATA interface with a maximum data transfer rate of 6Gbps, which is slow compared to newer interfaces (more on that below). SATA-based SSDs are the lowest grade of SSDs in terms of performance and use the same interface as hard drives. Still, SATA-based SSDs have three to four times the bandwidth compared to spinning disk hard drives. SATA SSDs are more available and affordable than NVMe SSDs. SATA M.2 SSDs can be a great alternative to a 2.5-inch SSD if you don’t have room for a 2.5-inch SSD in your computer.

SATA has been the primary connection used for storage technology for a long time. SATA drives needed two cables to work. One is used to transfer data to the motherboard and the other to get power to the PSU (power supply unit). Cable clutter is one of the issues that can affect performance in PC cases when using multiple SATA storage drives. Slim notebooks and laptops, including Ultrabooks, don’t even have room for SATA cables, which is why they utilise the M.2 form factor. A SATA M.2 form factor SSD solves this problem since it doesn’t have the two cable connections used previously in other SATA-based storage drives.

Still, just because it’s an M.2 SSD doesn’t change the fact that it’s a SATA SSD. The main differences between a SATA and NVMe M.2 SSD are the interface technology and levels of performance. A SATA M.2 SSD still uses SATA-based interface technology, which doesn’t improve its speed and performance compared to an NVMe M.2 SSD.

NVMe M.2 SSD

NVMe M.2 SSDs utilise the NVMe protocol that was specifically designed for SSDs. When paired with the PCIe bus, an NVMe SSD offers the latest levels of performance and speed. NVMe SSDs communicate directly with the system CPU using the PCIe sockets. Essentially, this allows flash memory to operate as an SSD directly through the PCIe sockets rather than having to use the SATA communication driver, which is a lot slower than NVMe.

NVMe M.2 SSDs are much more performance driven compared to SATA M.2 SSDs. By leveraging the PCIe bus, NVMe M.2 SSDs have theoretical transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps, which is already faster than SATA M. 2 SSDs with 6Gbps. PCIe buses can support 1x, 4x, 8x and 16x lanes. PCIe 3.0 has an effective transfer speed of up to 985 MB/s per lane, which means there is a potential transfer speed of up to 16GB/s. However, there’s only x2 and x4 lanes accessible when using a M.2 form factor with the PCIe bus, which translates to a maximum transfer speed of up to 4GB/s.

Is NVMe faster than SATA? Technically, yes. Modern motherboards use SATA III which has a max throughput of 600MB/s while NVMe drives provide speeds up to 3,500MB/s. The level of performance is much greater than SATA SSDs, regardless of form factor. Only SSDs that utilise NVMe technology exceed the transfer speed caps that limit the SATA-based SSDs.

When deciding between a SATA M.2 SSD or an NVMe M.2 SSD, here are some things to consider:

  • System support — Older devices may not be compatible with NVMe as they don’t have the necessary connections to utilise the NVMe PCIe sockets.
  • Quick start-up – The easiest way to make your computer system boot faster is to install the OS (operating system) on an SSD. You’ll see the greatest speed improvements with an NVMe SSD.
  • Prioritise storage – You can use an NVMe SSD in combination with another SATA SSD. This is an affordable option without having to break the bank. You can install your OS and resource-intensive programs and applications on the NVMe SSD and use the SATA SSD to store everything else, like the smaller and less resource-hungry files, docs, etc.
  • Gaming advantages – You’ll see a drastic improvement in gaming load times when using an M.2 NVMe SSD. Games installed on NVMe drives will have vastly better performance overall because of the transfer speeds when recalling your games from storage.
  • PCIe generations – There are generations of the PCIe bus that have different levels of performance. The bandwidth doubles with each generation and there are SSDs utilising different generations of PCIe. The latest available is PCIe 4.0, with PCIe 5.0 still on the development horizon.
  • Shared connections – Some motherboards don’t have enough PCIe connections to support multiple NVMe drives. You might have to decide on using the available connection between a graphics card or an NVMe SSD. Other times, there may be PCIe lanes available but only a certain type of connection will be able to use NVMe devices at their full speed, such as an M.2 connection.

Helpful tip: Remember, M.2 is only a form factor and does not make your SSDs any faster. The level of performance of your SSDs depends on whether the communication driver is SATA-based or NVMe-based. Check your motherboard’s requirements to see what SSDs are compatible with your computer.

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Types of M.2 Drives & Slots (An In-Depth Guide)

M.2 drives come in various shapes and sizes.

To the “uninitiated,” the amount of information surrounding them can not only be overwhelming but flat-out nonsensical.

There are so many acronyms being thrown around: NVMe, PCIe, M.2, Gen this, Gen that, and then, once you scratch beneath the surface, you reach the point of sockets and dimensions, of keys and NAND chips, and everything in between.

To make matters even worse, some tend to use these terms as if they were synonyms and that — to put it bluntly — they are not.

Fortunately, this seemingly chaotic nomenclature does make sense — there’s a very sound rationale behind the madness, despite it all looking like some indecipherable mumbo jumbo.

Once you grasp the reasoning behind it all (which can take a bit of time), things immediately start making sense.

First of all, there’s a reason why there’s so much to digest: we (the end consumers) have been given a wide range of options to choose from, so it’s only natural for there to be a long list of features and particularities that we have to wrap our heads around.

It might seem like a drag in the beginning, but it’s actually a very positive thing at heart — it means you can “fine tune” your PC building experience and find just the right kind of drive and storage solution.

The shift from old mechanical hard drives to SSDs was an absolute breakthrough. There’s really no other way to say it.

Had you told someone just a few years ago about the kind of read and write speeds we’d have at our disposal, you would’ve gotten a Ray Liotta laugh in response.

There’s also a good chance that you’d be kicked out of the room and banned from further discussion.

The only downside of such rapid development is the loss of clarity. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to roll up their sleeves and do a bit of research before pulling the proverbial trigger.

Think of this piece as a primer on all things M.2an in-depth guide that’ll explain the biggest buzzwords and provide you with a solid foundation with which you’ll be able to traverse the market and find the perfect kind of storage solution for your needs.

There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dive straight into it!

What is M.2?

Solid-state drives — or SSDs, for short — have been reduced to incredibly thin and small sticks with the memory soldered onto them.

Nowadays, you can purchase SSDs in one of two form factors: 2.5” drives that are connected through the SATA interface or, alternatively, M.2 ones that are much smaller, require no cabling, and can achieve far greater read and write speeds.

Two distinct cables will always be necessary between your motherboard and a 2.5” SATA SSD. The first cable is for data and the second one for power (in the picture below, on the right).

The speed of these SATA SSD drives is capped at up to ~550 MB per second, which is the limitation of the SATA interface.

However, that kind of speed is perfectly suitable for most folks and use-case scenarios.

These drives are, therefore, cheaper and are the better solution if you’re on a budget and don’t mind doing a bit of work when it comes to cable management — or don’t mind the cables running through the inside of your case.

M.2 drives, on the other hand, are plugged directly into your motherboard and can reach astronomical read and write speeds.

To utilize this particular format (and harness its many splendors), you’ll need to have a motherboard with an M.2 slot on it.

Nowadays, most motherboards come with at least one or two such slots, and the highest-end ones go up to a whopping four. And you can add even more M.2 SSDs with PCIe Adapter Add-In Cards.

The M.2 format has many benefits and advantages over regular (“old”) SATA SSDs, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best option for everyone.

M.2 drives are smaller and easier to use but that also comes at a cost.

Now, not all M.2 SSDs are made equal.

Some of them are as fast as older SATA ones — they’re just “packed” differently (i.e. they’re smaller).

Others, however, are much more advanced and, therefore, faster and more expensive.

These drives utilize the oh-so-important PCIe interface (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express).

M.2 Guide | Let’s Talk PCIe

The PCIe interface is what your processor uses to communicate with the rest of your machine. And, much like everything else in the tech sphere, it, too, gets upgraded every few years.

PCIe slots on your motherboard are used to connect a host of different things — namely graphics cards and expansion cards of all kinds (sound, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, video capture cards, and everything in between).

Source: GIGABYTE

These expansion slots are hugely important.

Now, let’s touch on a very important part of the equation and that’s PCIe lanes; simply put, they are used for data transfer.

PCIe Roadmap by Toms Hardware

The more lanes a PCIe port has, the more data it can handle. That’s why you’ll often see the following naming scheme: PCIe x1, PCIe x4, PCIe x8, and PCIe x16.

The latter part tells you how many lanes that particular port can “handle.” The more lanes, the bigger the data throughput.

Simple, right?

Each new upgrade of the PCIe interface increases the amount of data a PCIe lane can handle or, rather, the speed at which said data is processed.

PCIe SSDs are still limited to four lanes which might not sound like much but are actually more than enough.

Five PCIe generations have been released thus far and each new generation basically doubled the performance of its direct predecessor.

PCIe Gen 3 (introduced in 2010), for instance, can handle around 985MB/s per lane. PCIe Gen 4 (introduced in 2017), on the other hand, is twice as fast.

So the number of lanes hasn’t changed from one generation to another, but the transfer rate per lane has increased (to put it mildly).

These things are important for one simple reason: they affect the speed and overall responsiveness of our drives.

PCIe Gen 3 SSDs are the most ubiquitous these days. They’ve been “standardized” and are most commonplace.

Gen 4 ones, however, are much faster and can be bought for a premium, but to fully harness their potential, you’ll need an appropriate motherboard, one that has PCIe Gen 4 support. You’ll also need a fairly novel CPU, to boot.

The only processors that support PCIe Gen 4 SSDs are AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs (and newer) along with the 11th and 12th Gen CPUs from Intel (“Rocket Lake” and “Alder Lake,” respectively).

PCIe Gen 5 is also a thing, but it’s still so nascent that it’s not even worth talking about — most folks haven’t even upgraded to Gen 4 (nor do they have a particularly big reason to do so).

An important thing to note is that PCIe slots are backward and forwards compatible.

In other words, you can put a PCIe Gen 4 SSD in a PCIe Gen 3 slot, but it’s not going to run at its full speed.

M.

2 Drives — Non-Volatile Memory Express

Nowadays, the acronym NVMe is often thrown around willy-nilly.

To put it simply, it is a protocol that uses the PCIe interface and is much faster than SATA; it is, therefore, preferred by both gamers and industry professionals alike.

NVMe SSDs are the fastest you can buy these days and they almost always come in the M.2 format.

On the surface level, they look exactly like SATA ones, but there is a key difference: they’re “keyed” in a slightly different way so as to prevent the user from inserting them in an incompatible motherboard socket.

But more on that below.

The word NVMe is nowadays synonymous with “speed.”

The fastest PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs are blazingly fast. They offer up to 7000 MB/s in sequential read speeds. That’s simply astounding.

They also run hot which is why most of them have some kind of heat sink pre-applied to help out with dissipation.

And, well, they’ll also burn a hole through your wallet — that’s par for the course whenever we’re talking about the latest and greatest piece of tech.

PCIe Gen 3 NVMe drives, on the other hand, are still way faster than most folks need. Their read and write speeds go up to a whopping 3.5GB/s which is more than enough for almost all workloads and use-case scenarios.

Now, a few years ago, the NVMe protocol was not only rare but also reserved for best-in-class SSDs.

Nowadays, it’s not only commonplace but also relatively cheap, too.

Why would one want a faster SSD? Well, the answer is quite simple: it affects the speed at which certain processes are completed.

Things like photo and video editing, transcoding, and any kind of compression and decompression benefits greatly from faster read/write speeds.

When it comes to gaming, however, the benefits aren’t as big. Even the most basic SATA SSDs will get the job done.

The performance delta between them and best-in-class PCIe Gen 4 NVMe drives is negligible — we’re talking about a three- or four-second difference in loading times.

So, you’d be better off buying just a regular SATA-based SSD (or a PCIe Gen 3 one, at best) and spending that “leftover” money elsewhere.

M.2 Drives — Lengths

M.2 drives come in various different sizes. The most common formats are 2242, 2260, and 2280.

Source: ALIexpress

The first two numbers correspond to the width of the drive — as in 22 millimeters.

The last two numbers, however, are far more important as they indicate the length.

The longest format of the three (2280) is ubiquitous and is used in both desktop computers and laptops alike.

These drives are also the cheapest and easiest to find.

Most motherboards on the market have support for all three aforementioned lengths, so you don’t have to fret in case you end up with a shorter M.2 drive for whatever reason.

Some laptop manufacturers (like Microsoft, for instance), prefer the 2230 format which is exceedingly rare and pretty difficult to find.

As the name implies, they’re the shortest of the bunch while still being somewhat mainstream. There are also other, more obscure M.2 drive lengths, but they’re nowhere near as common and, odds are, you’re not going to encounter them.

M.2 Key Types

All M.2 drives are “keyed” at one end so as to prevent the end-user from inserting them in an incompatible socket.

M.2 PCIe NVMe drives are ‘M’ keyed. SATA ones, however, are ‘B+M’.

Source: Western Digital

The former ensures the absolute fastest speeds (four lanes of bandwidth). The latter, however, ensures maximum compatibility at the “cost” of performance.

‘B+M’ drives can, therefore, be inserted into any kind of M.2 slot, whereas an NVMe SSD that’s ‘M’ keyed can only go into its own appropriate socket — the kind that’ll harness its full potential.

So just keep that in mind when you’re on the lookout for a new motherboard as they’re not all created equal (especially if you’re looking to cut a few corners).

M.2 Screw Types

This one might seem trivial, but it’s still an important thing for us to cover.

And, well, there’s a very simple reason why: an M.2 SSD — regardless of its speed and capacity — will have to be screwed into your motherboard to work properly.

It can still work without being screwed in, but that’s a risk you simply shouldn’t take; the last thing you want is for your drive to fall out of its socket and potentially damage itself and/or other components within your build.

So you can literally go out and acquire the best M. 2 SSD money can buy, but if you don’t have an appropriate little screw — and these things really are tiny — then you won’t be able to hold it down tightly and make sure it’s safe.

There’s no need to fret, though, as virtually all motherboards come with these screws included.

In other words: they’re already tightened to the motherboard, so all you need to do is take them out, slot in your M.2 SSD, put the screw back in, tighten it, and you’ll be good to go!

Alternatively, depending on the manufacturer, you might find the screw in a separate plastic bag inside the motherboard box; the same goes for any potential SATA cables and whatnot.

If, however, you don’t have these screws (for whatever reason), you can still purchase them afterward.

There’s a standard in place which means you’ll need a flat Phillips head screw that’s 2x3mm (also known as M2x3).

If you happen to need a few motherboard stand-offs as well, you can always purchase a “screw kit” like this one.

You can also use slightly different screws as well (M2.5×3 or M3x3), but the M2x3 ones have sort of been “standardized” and are the most prevalent.

In any case, the length of the screw (3mm, in this case) is what matters most.

Conclusion

An important question arises almost by default: do you need such fast storage?

The answer varies from one person to another, but in general, you’ll be more than satisfied with the kind of speed a regular SATA-based SSD can provide.

If you don’t have any special needs or wants, a 2.5” SATA SSD will still do wonders — they’re not as “sexy” or popular these days but they still offer incredible “bang for your buck.”

If, however, you have a very specific use case or are transferring huge amounts of data on a regular basis (or are just looking to build the fastest possible gaming rig money can buy), then, by all means, go the M.2 route!

NVMe SSDs are in vogue and, well, there’s a good reason why.

Still, we’ve long reached the point of diminishing returns, and that’s definitely something worth keeping in mind.

Over to You

If you have any specific questions regarding M.2 drives, feel free to leave a comment below or send us a message in our forums. We’d be happy to help you out.

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Best M.2 SSD for Expanding PS5 Storage

If you’ve managed to get your hands on an elusive PlayStation 5, you’ll be eager to burn through tons of hit next-gen titles. However, the PS5’s 1TB storage drive can fill up quickly — and no one wants to have to pick and choose which games they have the space for. 

Fortunately, you won’t have to. Sony unlocked the PS5’s extra internal storage drive slot in the summer of 2021. This option wasn’t available when the PS5 launched in fall 2020, but now you can access that extra space to beef up your console’s current storage capacity. Just grab the best M.2 SSD for your gaming needs and you can experience all the benefits of that extra storage boost.

Before the mass availability of solid-state drives and before the beta, you could still add an external drive for PS4 games, but only play PS4 games from it. You could store PS5 games on a portable SSD, but you couldn’t play them. 

Read more: PS5 Review: Exclusive Games Power Sony’s Console

However, it can be hard to find a superfast M.2 drive, especially one with a built-in heatsink. That’s an essential feature to prevent overheating. So if your solid-state drive doesn’t have one, you’ll have to add it manually. We’ve made some suggestions below to help with that process.

We’ve tested several drives, including the 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which we installed in this how-to feature, and you can find those transfer time results below. 

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Samsung 980 Pro with Heatsink M.2 SSD

Samsung’s high-end M.2 drive was a logical first choice for a lot of PS5 modders… but the original version didn’t include a built-in heatsink, which is required for operation. Sure, you could buy a separate one and attach it, but that’s a few extra steps.

Conveniently, this excellent Samsung 980 Pro SSD is now available with a heatsink, which makes it an all-in-one package. There are two current configurations, a 1TB model and a 2TB model, with the price roughly doubling for the larger model. 

You’re receiving price alerts for Samsung 980 Pro with Heatsink M.2 SSD

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Seagate FireCuda 530 NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.

2 SSD

I recently got my hands on a big 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which includes a built-in heatsink, a requirement for an internal PS5 drive. The 1TB version lists for $250, though can sometimes be found for less, while the 4TB version is upward of $900. Note that due to its popularity, this particular Seagate FireCuda drive has frequently been out of stock, so grab one when you can. 

After I installed and set up the drive, I tried transferring a few games from the default drive to my new SSD. Call of Duty, which is nearly 200GB, transferred in about 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Returnal, around 50GB, transferred in about 40 seconds. 

$879 at Amazon

You’re receiving price alerts for Seagate FireCuda 530 (Heatsink, 4TB)

Scott Stein

Corsair recently announced this PS5-compatible M.2 drive. This particular SSD comes with a heat sync. We’re currently testing the 2TB version and will update this soon with more details from our hands-on testing. A 1TB drive lists for $135, while the 2TB is $240.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

PNY XLR8 CS3140 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD

Normally I’d stick with M.2 drives with built-in heat sinks, so make the entire upgrade process easier. But I’ll make an exception for this PNY XLR8 drive, because PNY also makes a separate PS5 SSD cover panel, complete with built-in head sink. 

Just slot the slim M.2 drive in the slot, then screw the new cover panel over it and you’re all set. The 1TB drive is around $120 right now, and the cover is an extra $18. We’ve tested the drive and added its transfer time scores to the chart below. 

$112 at Amazon

You’re receiving price alerts for PNY XLR8 CS3140 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD

This is the PNY heat sink and cover combo, which makes it easy to install an M.2 drive that doesn’t have its own heat sink. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The drives above have all been tested, and you’ll see there’s not a lot of difference in performance between them. The most notable thing is that writing to the M.2 drive is a lot faster than writing back to the internal PS5 drive. 

PS5 M.2 file transfer time (in min:sec)

Console to M.2 M. 2 to Console
FFVII (81GB)
Seagate FireCuda 530 (4TB) 1:05 6:00
Samsung 980 Pro (1TB) 1:08 5:56
Corsair MP600 Pro LPX (2TB) 1:04 5:54
PNY XLR8 CS3140 (1TB) 1:16 6:11
Spider-Man: Miles Morales (39GB)
Seagate FireCuda 530 0:33 2:57
Samsung 980 Pro 0:31 2:53
Corsair MP600 Pro LPX 0:33 2:54
PNY XLR8 CS3140 (1TB) 0:40 2:53

Below are some additional drives and accessories that we have not tested yet, but should all work fine.  


Amazon

WD Black SN850 Gen4 x4 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD

Besides the Samsung and Seagate versions, this Western Digital drive is probably the most popular M.2 choice for the PS5. It also includes the needed heatsink built in, which I frankly recommend as a much easier way to get your console storage upgraded. 

The WD Black comes in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes, although I can’t see going through all the effort required to open the PS5 and install these for a mere 500GB of extra space, especially with some games getting close to 100GB in size. 1TB seems like the best bang for your buck, as the 2TB drive costs more than the PS5 itself. 

$130 at Amazon

$167 at Walmart

You’re receiving price alerts for WD Black SN850 Game Drive (1TB)

Samsung

This is the original Samsung 980 Pro 1TB drive that needs a separate heatsink. If you’ve got one and can attach it, it’s a less expensive option and easy to find. In fact, the price on this model has even dropped by a few dollars. 

The advantage of adding an M.2 internal drive to your PS5 is that you can both store and play PS5-native games from it. Regular external hard drives can store PS5 games, but not play them. (Both store and play PS4 games.)

Amazon

MHQJRH M.2 2280 SSD heatsink

If you’re going down the add-your-own-heatsink route, this is one of the most popular parts for PS5 owners. Gamers have reported that it’s a perfect fit for the PS5’s M.2 slot, especially when paired with the Samsung 980 SSD. 

To attach a heatsink like this, you usually need some thermal tape to connect the heatsink to the drive. In this case, there’s an included thermal pad that sticks the two parts together. That’s important because without the right kind of thermal management, the M. 2 drive could get too hot in the tightly constricted PS5 internal drive slot. 

$10 at Amazon

FAQs

We update this list regularly, and below are answers to some of the most common PS5 M.2 SSD questions.

How do I remove the PS5 cover?

Both the front and rear panels of the PS5 are removable. To remove the bottom cover and expose the M.2 drive slot, Sony recommends positioning the console so the PS logo is facing up and the power button is facing away from you. Grip the bottom left corner of the cover and pull slightly up and to the right so the cover lists away. You can see the PS5 cover removal process in action here. 

Does my M.2 drive need a heat sink?

Yes. Sony requires a heat sink (basically a chunk of metal) to dissipate heat and prevent the drive from overheating. Some M.2 drives include a built-in heat sink, others need to attach manually via tape or adhesive. 

What games will run from a PS5 M.2 drive?

Unlike an external drive connected via USB-C, an internal M. 2 drive can both store and run PS5 and PS4/PS Plus games. An external drive can store both, but only play PS4/older games. 

How we test PS5 M.2 drives

To test these M.2 SSD drives for the very specific purpose of storing and playing PS5 games, our primary concern is data transfer speed. All the drives compatible with the PS5 will play and load games seamlessly. The only time you’re likely to notice the drive in action is when transferring full games either to or from it. 

To test the speed of these drives, we downloaded specific games onto the PS5 internal drive, then transferred those games to the newly installed M.2 drive. Then we transferred the same games back to the internal SSD. The games we use for this test are Final Fantasy VII Remake, at 81GB; and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, at 39GB. We used a stopwatch to time the transfers and listed each result in the chart above.

What is the difference between expensive and cheap M.2 SSD

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Article author: Sergey Koval
([email protected] ru)

Published: 22 June 2021

An M.2 solid-state drive is a disk that is made in the form of an electronic board without a case and is designed to be connected to the M.2 connector of the motherboard. Initially, drives of this format were intended for laptops and laptops. However, later, due to their compact size, they began to be actively used in desktop computers.

M.2 is a drive format that comes in several sizes. All of them have a standard width of 22 mm, the length can be 42 mm; 60 mm; 80 mm; 110 mm. Actually, the marking of each module consists of the width and length parameters:

M.2 2242 — compact drives for laptops.

M.2 2260 is not a very common size for laptops and desktops.

M.2 2280 is the most popular desktop size.

M.2 22110 — drives for server systems.

Key Benefits of M.2 SSDs:

  • NVMe M.2 speed is many times faster than SATA drives and 2. 5″ drives.
  • Compact size to fit the drive in the smallest enclosures.
  • Absolute silence during operation.
  • Easy installation.
  • Low heat levels unlike 2.5 (U.2) and NVMe.
  • Possibility to install heatsinks to control operating temperatures.

The main disadvantages are:

  • Prices are higher than SATA drives.
  • Complexity of interface selection.
  • The probability of making a mistake with the size or key when buying.

M.2 SSDs are used to install the operating system, work programs, applications and games. But storing large archives on them is not recommended, as well as using them for downloading and distributing torrents.

The price of M.2 form factor solid-state drives, with an equal volume, can vary over a wide range and is determined by the following aspects.

Interface

The interface is a technology for connecting an M.2 SSD to the motherboard, which is responsible for the data transfer rate. Depending on the configuration of the motherboard, the connection can be carried out over 2 or 4 lines, which also affects the data transfer rate. To date, you can meet the following generations:

PCI-e 2.0 is a connection interface that allows you to transfer data at speeds up to 2 GB / s when using 4 lanes. Today it is an outdated format and is gradually being phased out.

PCI-e 3.0 is the most popular format providing the best price-performance ratio. Information can be transferred over 2 lines at speeds up to 2 GB/s, or over 4 lines at speeds from 3.5 to 3.8 GB/s.

PCI-e 4.0 is the most modern and fastest connection interface, which provides speeds up to 3.8 GB / s over 2 lines, and up to 7.8 GB / s when connected over 4 lines.

If we talk about price categories, then the most modern and high-speed interfaces with the maximum number of lines will cost more. However, you should buy a drive only in accordance with the capabilities of the motherboard. If the slot interface provides only 2 lines, then it makes no sense to overpay for an M.2 PCI-e 4.0 x 4 SSD.

Controller

The controller is a functional element of each solid state drive, which is responsible for reading and writing data in cells, and also provides information exchange via the PCI-e bus. The speed of the drive depends on the efficiency of the controller.

The main criteria for choosing a controller are the number of cores and the number of threads. The price of an SSD increases in proportion to the increase in these indicators.

The controller model can be found in the specification for a specific SSD or in the marking directly on the device. The brand of the controller also affects the cost of the disk. The most popular: Intel, Realtek, Samsung, Silicon Motion.

Memory type

The type of memory also makes a significant contribution to the cost of each individual drive. However, unlike other parameters, the relationship between price and generation is reversed:

SLC is a single-level memory type that provides the highest speeds, but has a high price. Today, drives with SLC memory are practically not produced.

MLC is a type of double-level memory with increased capacity. It is present only in a few models of drives, but it shows the highest and most stable performance under any load.

TLC is the optimal ratio of price and speed, which also provides the user with large amounts of information storage. Recording in cells is carried out at three levels.

QLC is a four-level memory that has the most favorable prices, but provides the lowest speeds for writing and reading data. However, its capabilities are sufficient for user purposes.

Purpose

Also, prices for M.2 SSDs vary greatly depending on the purpose of the device.

Custom models are usually significantly cheaper because they lack many specialized features.

Server drives are more expensive due to special technologies: dynamic cache, power failure protection, error correction technology.

Brand

The popularity of the SSD M. 2 manufacturer also affects the pricing policy. The prices of well-known manufacturers are, of course, higher than those of Chinese «no name» drives, however, there are much more guarantees of high-quality and durable work.

One of the most popular brands is Samsung, which manufactures all components and assembles drives under its own brand. Reliable vendors proven by many years of cooperation include Kingston and ADATA.

We hope that now it has become clear to you how prices are formed for M.2 solid-state drives and what criteria should be used to choose drives for games, work or home use of a PC.

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2 types of M.

2 SSDs: SATA and NVMe

Aug 2021

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When talking about M.2 in storage technology, we usually talk about SSDs by referring to their form factor. M.2 refers to a form factor of solid state drives that resembles a chewing gum stick. With a small and slim design, they are ideal for lightweight and portable computing such as laptops, NUCs and Ultrabooks. They take up less space than 2.5″ SSDs or HDDs and can be up to 2TB in capacity.

Now that we have figured out what M.2 is, let’s consider the question: «Is M.2 faster than an SSD?»

The answer is no. M.2 is an SSD form factor, so this question doesn’t really make sense. However, the confusion it causes is understandable as M.2 SSDs are relatively new compared to other client-grade SSD form factors. There are two types of M. 2 SSDs: SATA-based and NVMe-based. They differ in storage technology. And, depending on your needs and budget, they each have their pros and cons.

Good advice. Please note that an M.2 SSD is only compatible with a motherboard that supports an M.2 connector Check your computer’s motherboard to make sure it has an M.2 connector.

M.2 SATA SSD

M.2 SATA SSDs use a SATA interface with a maximum transfer rate of 6Gb/s, which is slower than newer interfaces (more on that below). SATA-based SSDs are among the lowest class of SSDs in terms of performance and use the same interface as HDDs. However, SATA-based SSDs have 3 to 4 times the bandwidth compared to spinning HDDs. SATA SSDs are more affordable and less expensive than NVMe SSDs. M.2 SATA SSDs can be a great alternative to a 2.5″ SSD if your computer doesn’t have room for a 2.5″ SSD.

For a long time, SATA connections were mainly used for data storage. SATA drives required two SATA cables to work. One was used to transfer data to the motherboard, and the other was used to supply power to the PSU (power supply). Cable clutter has been one of the issues that could affect PC performance when using multiple SATA drives. Thin laptops and portable computers, including ultrabooks, have no room for SATA cables and therefore use the M.2 form factor. The M.2 SATA SSD solves this problem because it doesn’t have the two cable connections that other SATA-based drives used to have.

However, the fact that this is an M.2 SSD does not change the fact that it is a SATA SSD. The main difference between M.2 SATA and NVMe SSDs is the interface technology and performance levels. The M.2 SATA SSD still uses SATA-based interface technology. Speed ​​and performance doesn’t improve unless it’s an M.2 NVMe SSD.

M.2 NVMe 9 SSDs0057

M.2 NVMe SSDs use the NVMe protocol specifically designed for SSDs. Combined with the PCIe bus, the NVMe SSD delivers the highest level of performance and responsiveness. NVMe SSDs communicate directly with the system processor through PCIe slots. Essentially, this allows flash memory to act as an SSD directly through the PCIe slots, instead of using the SATA communication driver, which is much slower than NVMe.

M.2 NVMe SSDs are much faster than M.2 SATA SSDs. Using the PCIe bus, M.2 NVMe SSDs have a theoretical transfer rate of up to 20Gbps, which is already faster than M.2 SATA SSDs (6Gbps). PCIe buses can support 1, 4, 8, and 16 lanes. PCIe 3.0 has an effective transfer rate of up to 985 MB/s per lane, which means a potential transfer rate of up to 16 GB/s. However, when using the M.2 form factor with PCIe bus, only 2 and 4 lanes are available, which allows for a maximum data transfer rate of up to 4 GB/s.

Is NVMe faster than SATA? Technically, yes. Modern motherboards use the SATA III interface with a maximum throughput of 600 MB/s, while NVMe drives provide speeds up to 3500 MB/s. Performance levels are much higher than SATA SSDs, regardless of form factor. Only SSDs using NVMe technology exceed the transfer rate limits of SATA-based SSDs.

When choosing between an M.2 SATA SSD or an M.2 NVMe SSD, consider the following points.

  • System support. Older devices may not be NVMe compatible because they do not have the necessary connections to use NVMe PCIe sockets.
  • Quick start. The easiest way to make your computer system boot faster is to install an OS (operating system) on a solid state drive. You’ll notice the biggest performance boost when using an NVMe SSD.
  • Drive resource prioritization. You can use an NVMe SSD in combination with another SATA SSD. This is an affordable option at no extra cost. You can install the OS and resource-intensive programs and applications on an NVMe SSD and use the SATA SSD to store everything else, such as smaller and less resource-intensive files, documents, and more.
  • Gaming benefits. When using an M. 2 NVMe SSD, you will notice a dramatic reduction in game loading times. Games installed on NVMe drives will experience significantly better overall performance due to the transfer speed when calling games from the drive.
  • PCIe generations. There are different generations of the PCIe bus with different levels of performance. Bandwidth doubles with each generation, and there are SSDs using different generations of PCIe. The latest version available is PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0 is still under development.
  • General connections. Some motherboards do not have enough PCIe connections to support multiple NVMe drives. You may need to decide whether to use the available connection for your graphics card or NVMe SSD. In other cases, PCIe lanes may be available, but only certain types of connections will be able to support the full speed of NVMe devices, such as an M.2 connection.

Helpful advice. Remember that M. 2 is just a form factor and does not make SSDs faster. The level of performance of SSDs depends on the communication driver — based on SATA or NVMe technology. Check your motherboard requirements to see which SSDs are compatible with your computer.

#KingstonIsWithYou

  • How to install an M.2 SSD in a Notebook

    Installing an M.2 SSD in a notebook is very easy. We’ll show you how.

  • How to install an NVMe SSD in a laptop

    You can easily replace a smaller capacity NVMe SSD with a larger capacity drive that can store more files. Here’s how to do it.

  • 2019 NVMe Review

    We explain that NVMe is a data transfer protocol, not a form factor like M.2 or an interface like SATA or PCIe.

  • Looking at NVMe drives

    NVMe is still a relatively new technology that is changing the way PCs work.

  • Installing an internal M.

    2 drive in an external enclosure

    SSD enclosures may be less expensive than you think.

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overview of the interface and its parameters

Despite the fact that solid-state drives, that is, SSDs, have appeared for a long time, many users are just starting to learn about them and use them on their computers. Perhaps this is due to the high price and small capacity, although they are faster than standard drives and work much faster.

Before delving into the types of hard drives, their manufacturing technology, memory types and controllers, it is necessary to focus on the form factor (size). Each of the devices is different in size, has its own connection connectors and is used in completely different ways. If a 2.5-inch SSD does not raise any questions, since it is similar in size and location of connectors to conventional hard drives, then other varieties raise a lot of questions.

Today we will talk about devices such as SSD M.2 drives, what they are, what are their features and advantages. This is a relatively new standard, which, according to many experts, is a revolutionary solution. Let’s take a closer look at this topic and find out as much information as possible.

Contents of the article

  1. Development of the SATA interface
  2. Overview of the M.2 interface
  3. M-key and B-key
  4. Size specification: 2260, 2280 and others
  5. NVMe technology
  6. Wrapping up
  7. Detailed video review
  8. User comments

Development of the SATA interface

The SATA interface has become a good replacement for PATA, replacing the wide cable with a more compact, thin and convenient option. The main trend of its development was the desire for compactness, and this is quite normal. Even the new interface required a variation that would allow it to be used in mobile devices and where there are special requirements for the size of components.

Thus, mSATA was created — the same interface, only with more compact dimensions. But he did not live long and he was quickly replaced by a completely new one — the M.2 connector, which had even greater capabilities. Not by mistake, there is no word SATA in the abbreviation, since the new version does not apply to this standard. We will talk about this in more detail later.

The only thing that needs to be said is that the M.2 SSD drive is connected without power cables and cables, thanks to which its use becomes as comfortable as possible and allows the computer to be even more compact. This is one of its key benefits.

M.2 interface overview

M.2 is a connector on an expansion card installed in a PCI-Express slot or on the motherboard itself. You can install not only M.2 SSDs in it, but other modules, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The scope of this connector is quite wide, which makes it incredibly convenient and useful.

When upgrading your computer, be sure to pay attention to it and install a motherboard with this connector, even if you do not plan to install an SSD with this interface yet.

However, if you have a rather old motherboard and you don’t want to change it, for example «GA-P75-D3» with no M2 slot, but it has PCI-E 3.0, which has a video card and a PCIe slot x4. In this case, you can install an SSD on PCIe x4 through a special adapter, but its speed will be slightly lower.

All M.2 SSD drives are flush mounted in M.2 slots. This form factor provides maximum performance with minimum resource consumption and is designed for the technological improvement of hard drives in the future.

Moreover, as mentioned above, cables and loops are not needed for connection, which usually only take up extra space. In order to start working with the device, simply insert it into the connector.

M-key and B-key

Today’s hard drives, including solid state drives, are connected to the SATA bus. The maximum bandwidth of which is 6 Gb / s, that is, approximately 550-600 Mb / s. For a conventional drive, this speed is simply unattainable, but SSD drives can reach much higher speeds without any problems. Only their installation is absolutely meaningless if the interface cannot «pump» data at a higher speed than the one for which it is designed.

In view of this, it became possible to use the PCI-Express bus with a higher bandwidth:

  1. PCI-Express 2.0. It has two lines (PCI-E 2.0 x2), is characterized by a throughput of up to 8Gb / s, or about 800Mb / s.
  2. PCI-Express 3.0. It has four lanes (PCI-E 3.0 x4), with a bandwidth of 32Gb/s, or about 3.2Gb/s.

Which interface is used to connect a particular device determines the position of the jumper.

Currently, M.2 SSD drives have the following key options:

  1. B key «Socket2» (includes support for PCI-E ×2, SATA, Audio, USB and other modules).
  2. M key «Socket3» (includes PCI-E ×4 and SATA support).

For example, we take a motherboard with an M.2 connector with an M-key. That is, the PCIe ×4 bus is used. Can I install a SATA SSD in it? This is an interesting question that we will try to answer.

You need to open the motherboard information and see if it supports M.2 SATA or not. Let’s say the manufacturer says yes. In this case, you buy an SSD drive that was originally created for PCIe × 4, and absolutely no problems should arise when connecting.

When choosing a motherboard, be sure to pay attention to whether the M.2 supports the SATA bus so that any hard drive can be used.

Let’s summarize all of the above and summarize:

  1. M.2 is simply a different form factor (slot and size) of SSDs. All motherboards that are equipped with this slot use the PCI-E x4 bus.
  2. The type of bus used by the drive depends on the keys. Typically, a PCI-Express bus (key M) or SATA (key M + B) is used. The ability to connect an SSD with a SATA interface must be indicated in the characteristics of the motherboard.

Size specification: 2260, 2280 and others

Often, when looking at the specification of a computer or laptop motherboard, you can find such a line «1 x M. 2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2260/2280″ — it means that 1 slot is used M.2 with key type M and size 2260/2280. The first two digits «22» — mean the width in «mm», the second two digits «60» — this is the length. Therefore, if you choose, say, Transcend TS128GMTS600, with a length of «60mm» and a width of «22mm», then there will be no problems with its installation.

But even if you take the Kingston SHPM2280P2/480G with the “2280” type, and since the motherboard specifications support this type of drive, it will not be difficult to install it.

The motherboard can support many sizes of modules, and in this case, the fixing screws are placed on it, which are designed for each bracket length.

NVMe technology

The old generation of conventional magnetic and SSD drives use the AHCI protocol, which was created a relatively long time ago and is still supported by many operating systems. But with the advent of more modern and faster SSDs, he does not cope with his task and cannot use all their capabilities to the maximum.

The NVMe protocol was created as a solution to this problem. It is characterized by the highest speed, lower latency and uses a minimum of processor resources when performing operations.

In order for the media to work on this technology, it must support it, so when choosing, pay special attention to this, just like the motherboard (it must support the UEFI standard).

Wrapping Up

After we have reviewed the M.2 SSD, we can say that this is the most compact form factor of solid state devices. And if it is supported by the motherboard, it is recommended to use it.

Let’s look at a few tips to help you make the right choice. So, first of all, when buying, you should pay attention to the following points:

  1. Does the motherboard have the necessary M.2 slot, and what size of modules does it allow to use (2260, 2280, etc.).
  2. The type of key that the slot uses (M, B, or B+M).
  3. Does the motherboard support SATA or PCI-E interface, and which version is used (for example, PCIe 3. 0 4x).
  4. Whether the operating system, the SSD itself, and the motherboard support AHCI or NVMe protocols.

After all, answering the question of which is better, an SSD with a standard connector or M.2, it is clear that you should choose the second option with NVMe support and install it on PCIe 3.0 × 4.

This will not only free up more space by reducing the number of wires, but will also increase transmission speed, system speed and performance. The main thing is that it will make working at the computer more comfortable, enjoyable and efficient.

Detailed video review

SSD M 2 in Ukraine. Prices for SSD M 2 at Prom.ua

SSD 500GB Samsung 980 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 3D TLC (MZ-V8V500BW)

In stock in Dnipro

Delivery in Ukraine

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SSD drive Kingspec m2 NVME NE-256 256GB

In stock in Rovno

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Ankerok. com.ua izhternet-store

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in the city of Rivne

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SSD drive Kingspec 1Tb M.2 PCIe Gen3 nvme 2280 drive NE-1TB

In stock in Kyiv

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SSD M.2 NVME Kllisre 128GB

in a warehouse in Uzhgorod

Delivery in Ukraine

850 UAH

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MARD. SHOP — online electronics store

m.2 SATA 512GMTS430S)

Delivery

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Internet shop «CompX»

M.2 NVMe 512GB Apacer (AP512GAS2280P4U-1)

Delivery in Ukraine0011

M.2 NVME 256GB LEVEN (JP600-256GB)

Delivery in Ukraine

1 055 UAH

online store «COMPX»

M.2 NVME 500GB WD Black SN850 (WDS500G1XHA) Ukraine

4 232 UAH

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online store «COMPX»

M.2 NVME 2TB ACER (FA100-2TB)

Ukraine

854 UAH

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online store «Comps»

SSD M.2 NVME Kingspec 128GB PCIe Gen3 2280 drive NE-128GB

in a warehouse in Uzhgorod

Delivery in Ukraine

850 UAH

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MAMAR.SHOP — online Electronics Store

SSD DELECTOR 128GB M.2 2280 S2G TLC PX -28S2G

Delivery in Ukraine

1 500 UAH

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єvrotovar

Drummer SSD M. 2 128GB, Patriot P300, PCI-E 4X, 3D TLC, 1600/600 MB/S (P300P128GM28)

in a ward of

9 in Ukraine

808 uah

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See also

SSD M.2 240Gb, Goodram S400u, SATA3, TLC, 550/530 MB/s (SSDPR-S400U-240-80)

In warehouse

Ukraine

1 352 UAH

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SSD 120gb M.2 SATA KINGSTON A400 M.2 2280 SATAIII TLC (SA400M8/120G)

Delivery

777.78 — 949 UAH

UAH

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DART Computers

SSD 250GB M.2 NVME KINGSTON NV1 M.2 2280 PCIE 3.0 X4 3D TLC (SNVS/250G)

Delivery in Ukraine

1 074.07 — 1 239 UAH

of 3 sellers

9001 900 1 180 UAH

9 Buy

DART computers

SSD 2TB M.2 NVME KINGSTON NV1 M.2 2280 PCIE 3.0 X4 (SNVS/2000G)

Ukraine

675 UAH

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DART computers

M.2 NVMe Kingston NV1 M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 3D TLC (SNVS/500G)

Delivery in Ukraine

1 666.67 — 1 869 UAH

from 2 sellers

1 832 UAH

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DART computers

Drummer SSD M. 2 NVME KINGSTON KC2500 M..0 PCI (SKC2500M8/1000G)

Delivery in Ukraine

4 592.59-4 903 UAH

from 2 sellers

5 047 UAH

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SSD KingSton NVME M.22 22 x4 3D TLC SNVS/500G

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SSD drive 1 TB Geil Zenith P3L, M.2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 164409

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 1000 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 2000 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 1600 / MTBF: 2 million hours

  • Price in chain stores54 500 ₸
  • Price in the online store49 990 ₸

Prices include VAT

54 500 ₸49 990 ₸

You save: 4 510 ₸

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SSD drive 512 GB Geil Zenith P3L, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 164408

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 512 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to : 1900 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 1200 / MTBF: 2 million hours

  • Price in chain stores26 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store24 690 ₸

Prices include VAT

26 900 ₸24 690 ₸

You save: 2 210 ₸

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SSD drive 256 GB Geil Zenith P3L, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 164407

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 256 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to : 1900 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 850 / MTBF: 2 million hours

  • Price in chain stores16 600 ₸
  • Price in the online store15 600 ₸

Prices include VAT

16 600 ₸15 600 ₸

You save: 1 000 ₸

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SSD drive 256 GB Hikvision HS-SSD-E1000, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 164368

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 256 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 160 Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 1900 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 1200 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price in chain stores13 400 ₸
  • Price in the online store12 390 ₸

Prices include VAT

13 400 ₸12 390 ₸

You save: 1 010 ₸

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SSD drive 128 GB Hikvision HS-SSD-E1000, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 164367

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 128 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 80 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 980 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 620 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price in chain stores9 990 ₸
  • Price in the online store9 390 ₸

Prices include VAT

9 990 ₸9 390 ₸

You save: 600 ₸

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SSD drive 256 GB Hikvision HS-SSD-E3000, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 164369

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 256 / Total data volume TBW, / TB: 112 Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 3230 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 1240 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price in chain stores13 800 ₸
  • Price in the online store12 690 ₸

Prices include VAT

13 800 ₸12 690 ₸

You save: 1 110 ₸

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Reviews [1]

Recommended 1 time

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SSD drive 240 GB Western Digital Green (WDS240G3G0B), M.

2, SATA III

SKU: 164037

Interface: SATA III / Interface transfer rate, Gbps: 6 / Disk capacity, GB: 240 / Type memory: SLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to: 545 / MTBF: 1 million hours

  • Price in chain stores18 700 ₸
  • Price in the online store17 190 ₸

Prices include VAT

18 700 ₸17 190 ₸

You save: 1 510 ₸

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SSD drive 2 TB Western Digital Blue SN570, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 164019

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Interface transfer rate, Gbps: 8 / Disk capacity, GB: 2000 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 900 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 3500 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 1200 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price by price130 900 ₸
  • Price in chain stores130 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store122 900 ₸

Prices include VAT

130 900 ₸122 900 ₸

You save: 8 000 ₸

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SSD 4 TB Kingston KC3000, M.

2, PCIe 4.0

SKU: 163470

Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 4096 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 3200 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 7000 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 7000 / MTBF: 1.8 million hours

  • Price in chain stores399 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store375 900 ₸

Prices include VAT

399 900 ₸375 900 ₸

You save: 24 000 ₸

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SSD drive 1 TB Hikvision HS-SSD-E1000, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163734

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Interface transfer rate, Gbps: 8 / Disk capacity, GB: 1000 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 640 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 2100 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 1800 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • price list44 700 ₸
  • Price in chain stores44 700 ₸
  • Price in the online store41 100 ₸

Prices include VAT

44 700 ₸41 100 ₸

You save: 3 600 ₸

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SSD drive 512 GB Dahua E900N512G, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163883

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 512 / Total amount of data TBW, TB: TLC: 256 / Memory type / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 2000 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 1450 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price in chain stores22 990 ₸
  • Price in the online store21 600 ₸

Prices include VAT

22 990 ₸21 600 ₸

You save: 1 390 ₸

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Reviews [1]

Recommended 1 time

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SSD drive 512 GB Hikvision HS-SSD-E1000, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163696

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Interface transfer rate, Gbps: 8 / Disk capacity, GB: 512 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 320 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 2000 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 1600 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • List price24 400 ₸
  • Price in chain stores24 400 ₸
  • Price in the online store22 490 ₸

Prices include VAT

24 400 ₸22 490 ₸

You save: 1 910 ₸

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SSD 512 GB Patriot P300, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163721

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 512 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 240 / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 1700 / Write speed, MB/s, up to : 1200

  • List price24 900 ₸
  • Price in chain stores24 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store22 790 ₸

Prices include VAT

24 900 ₸22 790 ₸

You save: 2 110 ₸

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SSD 256 GB Patriot P300, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163720

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 256 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 120 / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 1700 / Write speed, MB/s, up to : 1100

  • List price13 800 ₸
  • Price in chain stores13 800 ₸
  • Price in the online store12 790 ₸

Prices include VAT

13 800 ₸12 790 ₸

You save: 1 010 ₸

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SSD 512 GB Hikvision HS-SSD-E3000, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163697

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 512 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 3476 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 2545 / Operating time to failure: 1.5 million hours

  • Price 26 500 ₸
  • Price in chain stores26 500 ₸
  • Price in the online store24 390 ₸

Prices include VAT

26 500 ₸24 390 ₸

You save: 2 110 ₸

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SSD drive 1 TB Hikvision HS-SSD-E3000, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163698

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 1024 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB /s, up to: 3476 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 3137 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price in chain stores48 700 ₸
  • Price in the online store44 990 ₸

Prices include VAT

48 700 ₸44 990 ₸

You save: 3 710 ₸

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SSD 1 TB MSI Spatium M470, M.

2, PCIe 4.0

SKU: 163140

Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 1000 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 1600 / Memory type : TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 5000 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 4400 / MTBF: 1.7 million hours

  • Price in chain stores88 500 ₸
  • Price in the online store81 290 ₸

Prices include VAT

88 500 ₸81 290 ₸

You save: 7 210 ₸

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SSD 250 GB MSI Spatium M390, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163136

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 250 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 150 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 3300 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 1200 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price in chain stores25 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store23 990 ₸

Prices include VAT

25 900 ₸23 990 ₸

You save: 1 910 ₸

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SSD drive 1 TB MSI Spatium M390, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163138

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 1000 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 400 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 3300 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 3000 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price in chain stores72 500 ₸
  • Price in the online store66 990 ₸

Prices include VAT

72 500 ₸66 990 ₸

You save: 5 510 ₸

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SSD drive 256 GB Dahua E900N256G, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163120

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 256 / Total data volume TBW, TB: TLC: 128 / Memory type / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 2000 / Write speed, MB/s, up to: 1050 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

  • Price in chain stores15 500 ₸
  • Price in the online store14 500 ₸

Prices include VAT

15 500 ₸14 500 ₸

You save: 1 000 ₸

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Reviews [2]

Recommended 2 times

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SSD drive 1 TB Western Digital Green SN350, M.

2, PCIe 3.0

SKU: 163143

Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Interface transfer rate, Gbps: 8 / Disk capacity, GB: 1000 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 100 / Memory type: QLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 3200 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 2500 / MTBF: 1 million hours

  • List price58 500 ₸
  • Price in chain stores58 500 ₸
  • Price in the online store55 290 ₸

Prices include VAT

58 500 ₸55 290 ₸

You save: 3 210 ₸

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SSD 2 TB Kingston KC3000, M.

2, PCIe 4.0

SKU: 162828

Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 2048 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 1600 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 7000 / Write speed , MB / s, up to : 7000 / MTBF: 1.8 million hours

  • Price in chain stores142 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store134 300 ₸

Prices include VAT

142 900 ₸134 300 ₸

You save: 8 600 ₸

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SSD drive 1 TB Kingston KC3000, M.

2, PCIe 4.0

SKU: 162827

Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 1024 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 800 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 7000 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 6000 / MTBF: 1.8 million hours

  • Price in chain stores70 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store64 990 ₸

Prices include VAT

70 900 ₸64 990 ₸

You save: 5 910 ₸

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SSD 512 GB Kingston KC3000, M.

2, PCIe 4.0

SKU: 162826

Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 512 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 400 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 7000 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 3900 / MTBF: 1.8 million hours

  • Price in chain stores48 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store45 900 ₸

Prices include VAT

48 900 ₸45 900 ₸

You save: 3 000 ₸

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Reviews [1]

Recommended 1 time

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SSD 500 GB Kingston Fury Renegade, M.

2, PCIe 4.0

SKU: 162829

Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 500 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 500 / Memory type : TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 7300 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 3900 / MTBF: 1.8 million hours

  • Price list52 900 ₸
  • Price in chain stores52 900 ₸
  • Price in the online store48 490 ₸

Prices include VAT

52 900 ₸48 490 ₸

You save: 4 410 ₸

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SSD 4 TB Kingston Fury Renegade, M.

2, PCIe 4.0

SKU: 162832

Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 4000 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 4000 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB/s, up to: 7300 / Write speed, MB /s, up to : 7000 / MTBF: 1.8 million hours

  • Price in chain stores429900 ₸
  • Price in the online store404 100 ₸
  • Prices include VAT

    429 900 ₸404 100 ₸

    You save: 25 800 ₸

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    SSD 2 TB Kingston Fury Renegade, M.

    2, PCIe 4.0

    SKU: 162831

    Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 2000 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 2000 / Memory type : TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 7300 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 7000 / MTBF: 1.8 million hours

    • Price in chain stores155 900 ₸
    • Price in the online store146 500 ₸

    Prices include VAT

    155 900 ₸146 500 ₸

    You save: 9 400 ₸

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    SSD 1 TB Kingston Fury Renegade, M.

    2, PCIe 4.0

    SKU: 162830

    Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 x4 / Disk capacity, GB: 1000 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 1000 / Memory type : TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 7300 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 6000 / MTBF: 1.8 million hours

    • Price in chain stores77 900 ₸
    • Price in the online store73 200 ₸

    Prices include VAT

    77 900 ₸73 200 ₸

    You save: 4 700 ₸

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    SSD drive 250 GB Western Digital Blue SN550, M.

    2, PCIe 3.0

    SKU: 162282

    Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Interface transfer rate, Gbps: 8 / Disk capacity, GB: 250 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 150 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to: 2400 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 950 / MTBF: 1.7 million hours

    • Price in chain stores23 500 ₸
    • Price in the online store21 900 ₸

    Prices include VAT

    23 500 ₸21 900 ₸

    You save: 1 600 ₸

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    SSD drive 250 GB Western Digital Blue SN570, M.

    2, PCIe 3.0

    SKU: 162283

    Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x4 / Interface transfer rate, Gbps: 8 / Disk capacity, GB: 250 / Total data volume TBW, TB: 150 / Memory type: TLC / Read speed, MB / s, up to : 3300 / Write speed, MB / s, up to : 1200 / MTBF: 1.5 million hours

    • Price by price25 500 ₸
    • Price in chain stores25 500 ₸
    • Price in the online store23 190 ₸

    Prices include VAT

    25 500 ₸23 190 ₸

    You save: 2 310 ₸

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    Many modern laptops and desktop motherboards have an M. 2 slot for installing an SSD.

    Drives for this interface are much more compact than standard SATA 2.5” drives and are connected without using separate power cables or flat cables.

    How to choose an M.2 SSD?

    Before buying, pay attention to the following characteristics:

    Form factor

    Drive bar size standard. It is necessary that this parameter corresponds to the one stated in the characteristics of the laptop or motherboard. As a rule, a smaller drive can be installed in a larger slot, but not vice versa. Designated like this:

    • M.2 2280 — width 22 mm, length 80 mm

    • M.2 2242 — width 22 mm, length 42 mm

    Interface

    Displays which data bus (logical interface) the M.2 slot is using. Are divided into:

    • SATA is an interface with a data transfer rate of up to 600 MB / s, budget models of drives are equipped with this.

    • PCI-E — this interface is able to provide the maximum data transfer rate for this type of drive. Different versions with different numbers of lines used differ in speed. So, for example, PCI Express 3.0 with two lines (referred to as PCI-E 3.0 x2) — provides speeds up to 1970 MB/s, PCI Express 3.0 quad lane (PCI-E 3.0 x4) — 3940 MB/s. If an SSD supporting PCI-E 3.0 x4 is installed in a PCI-E 2.0 x2 slot, then its actual read / write speeds may be less than the declared ones.

    The interfaces are incompatible with each other, i.e. M.2 PCI-E slot cannot install M.2 SATA SSD. But some laptops and most desktop boards have universal connectors that support both types of interfaces. Be sure to check this in the specifications.

    Volume

    The bigger, the better. A 120 / 128 GB model is quite suitable as a system disk — there is enough space for installing Windows, most everyday applications and storing the necessary minimum of user files. For a gaming computer or professional work with graphics, video and multimedia files, it is better to choose a model with a capacity of more than 240 GB.

    Why is the available SSD space smaller than advertised?

    During formatting, part of the drive’s memory is reserved for service files and information about the file system. In addition, there is a difference in the calculation systems — 1 GB for storage manufacturers is 1000 MB, while in the operating system of a computer 1 GB is 1024 MB. Therefore, for example, for an SSD with a declared capacity of 120 GB, after formatting it, the available volume will be approximately 111 GB.

    Doubt when choosing from several models of drives? Read user reviews on our website — they will help you find out the real pros and cons of specific SSDs.

    Delivery and payment

    SSD M.2 we can deliver to Almaty, Astana, Karaganda, Shymkent, Pavlodar, Kostanay, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Semey, Petropavlovsk, Turkestan, Aktobe, Atyrau, Kyzylorda, Taraz, Uralsk, Kokshetau, Zhezkazgan, Temirtau, Rudny or any other locality of Kazakhstan in a convenient way for you, including:

    • free delivery throughout Kazakhstan if the product is marked with a special icon;

    • pickup and courier delivery, including free door-to-door delivery in the cities of Almaty, Astana, Karaganda, Aktobe, Pavlodar, Kostanay, Temirtau, Zhezkazgan, Rudny.

    You can pay for the purchase in cash, by credit card or through popular payment systems.

    Purchase on credit

    You can buy an SSD in installments or on credit under the programs of various banks. Detailed information can be found here.

    M.2 SSD prices

    Name Price
    SSD drive 1 TB Geil Zenith P3L, M.2, PCIe 3.0 49 990 ₸
    SSD drive 512 GB Geil Zenith P3L, M.2, PCIe 3.0 24 690 ₸
    SSD drive 256 GB Geil Zenith P3L, M.2, PCIe 3.0 15 600 ₸
    SSD drive 256 GB Hikvision HS-SSD-E1000, M. 2, PCIe 3.0 12 390 ₸
    SSD drive 128 GB Hikvision HS-SSD-E1000, M.2, PCIe 3.0 9\u043e\u0431\u044a\u044f\u0441\u043d\u0438\u0442\u044c, \u043a\u0442\u043e \u0442\u0430\u043a\u0438\u0435 \u00ab\uuu43e\u440\u043\u043 u0440\u00bb \u0438 \u00ab\u043f\u0440\u043e\u0434\u0430\u043a\u0442\u00bb»,»buttonText»:»\u0421\u043c\u043e\u0442\u0440\u0435\u0442\u»imageuid «, «:»d859b94f-79b5-5ba0-ac5d-e836f96ff0c0″,»isPaidAndBannersEnabled»:false}

    Collected the most remarkable models from AliExpress, you can add in the comments.

    2480
    views

    970 EVO Plus

    • read/write — 3500/3300
    • PCI-E 3.x x4
    • DRAM buffer size — 1024 MB
    • memory type — mlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 600 TB
    • price in $ — 153, price in R — 9831. 78
    • store reliability, subscribers/orders/reviews — 12381/508/148

    Samsung 980 PRO M.2 SSD, nvme pcie…

    Samsung 980 PRO M.2 SSD nvme pcie 500GB TB Enjoy ✓Free Shipping via…

    aliexpress.ru

    Samsung 980 PRO

    • read/write — 7000/5000
    • PCI-E 4.0 x4
    • DRAM buffer size — 1024 MB
    • memory type — mlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 600 TB
    • price in $ — 179, price in R — 11502.54
    • store reliability, subscribers/orders/reviews — 39495/255/11

    SAMSUNG SSD 980

    • read/write — 3500/3000
    • PCI-E 3.x x4
    • DRAM buffer size — no buffer
    • memory type — mlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 600 TB
    • price in $ — 136, price in R — 8739. 36
    • store reliability, subscribers/orders/reviews — 12381/508/148

    ADATA XPG GAMMIX S11 Pro M2 SSD

    • read/write — 3500/3000
    • PCI-E 3.x x4
    • DRAM buffer size — 1024 MB
    • memory type — tlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 640 TB
    • price in $ — 116, price in R — 7454.16
    • store reliability, subscribers/orders/reviews — 28619/3952/1548

    ADATA XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite

    • read/write — 3900/3200
    • PCI-E 4.0 x4
    • DRAM buffer size — 1024 MB
    • memory type — tlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 740 TB
    • price in $ — 130, price in R — 8353. 8
    • store reliability, subscribers/orders/reviews — 28619/485/190

    ADATA XPG SPECTRIX S40G

    • read/write — 3500/3000
    • PCI-E 3.x x4
    • DRAM buffer size — 128 MB
    • memory type — tlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 640 TB
    • price in $ — 140, price in R — 8996.4
    • store reliability, subscribers/orders/reviews — 28619/482/223

    Original Crucial P5 Plus 500GB 1TB SSD…

    Crucial P5 Plus 500GB 1TB Original SSD Φ PCIe 4.0 3D NAND NVMe M.2 Up to 6600″ …

    aliexpress.ru

    Crucial P5 Plus

    • read/write — 6600/5000
    • PCI-E 4.0 x4
    • DRAM buffer size — no buffer
    • memory type — tlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 600 TB
    • price in $ — 160, price in R — 10281. 6
    • store reliability, subscribers/orders/reviews — 13519/18/6

    Crucial P5 500GB TB SSD…

    Crucial P5 500GB TB SSD PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 2280 Internal HDD…

    aliexpress.ru

    Crucial P5

    • read/write — 3400/3000
    • PCI-E 3.x x4
    • DRAM buffer size — 1024 MB
    • memory type — tlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 600 TB
    • price in $ — 107, price in R — 6875.82
    • store reliability, subscribers/orders/reviews — 39495/127/24

    WD Black SN750

    • read/write — 3600/2829
    • PCI-E 4.0 x4
    • DRAM buffer size — no buffer
    • memory type — tlc
    • write resource (TBW) — 600 TB
    • price in $ — 150, price in R — 9639
    • store reliability, followers/orders/reviews — 1509/187/104

    WD BLACK SN850