Are All M2 Slots The Same

By | 03/11/2022

Which K.two slot should you employ for the best results with your PC build?

Today, I’ll help answer that and related questions and so that you have a proper understanding of how your M.two SSDs work with your motherboard. Let’s swoop into it.

The Basics of M.two SSDs

SSDs come up in a variety of speeds and class factors, and M.2 SSDs have go ane of the virtually prominent forms of SSD storage in recent years.

Information technology’s like shooting fish in a barrel to effigy out why when you compare M.2 SSDs at a glance to other forms of storage, similar the much larger 2.5-inch and iii.5-inch drive enclosures used by the majority of HDDs.

Some SATA SSDs even use that 2.5-inch form cistron as well, though on the inside the SSD doesn’t take up the entire enclosure.

Storage SSD Form Factors and Sizes Compared

Storage SSD Form Factors and Sizes Compared (M.2, ii.5″ SATA SSD, 3.five″ SATA HDD)

Compared to those drives, M.ii SSDs are positively tiny. They’re about every bit thin as a stick of gum, and they’re about the overall length and width of your usual USB flash drive.

One thousand.2 SSDs are an firsthand and dramatic comeback over other standards when it comes to size and portability.

Besides coming in a minor size, M.2 SSDs accept the unique property of coming in either SATA or NVMe formats.

An G.two SATA SSD has the same capabilities of a 2.5-inch SATA SSD, but in a smaller form cistron.

Additionally, using M.2 SATA drives may conciliate a SATA port or two on your motherboard to account for the SATA bandwidth being used elsewhere.

An Thou.2 NVMe SSD is a considerably different beast, and the reason why rests with NVMe itself.

NVMe stands for Not-Volatile Memory Express and that’due south a standard that allows M.2 drives to use PCI Express bandwidth, rather than the far slower SATA bandwidth.

Using PCI Express bandwidth with NVMe drives, M.2 SSDs tin can achieve the fastest SSD speeds available on the marketplace, especially high-finish PCI Express 4.0 SSDs.

Which M.ii Slot Should You Use First?

So, if your motherboard has multiple M.ii slots, which i should yous use offset?

Well, starting time you’ll want to double-check your motherboard specifications to see what the specs for each M.two slot are.

M.2 Slot Specs (SATA and PCIe)

Some motherboards will only accept one G.ii slot that tin run at NVMe / PCIe bandwidth, whereas others may be restricted to using SATA bandwidth.

Some motherboards’ G.ii slots may even back up
solely
SATA bandwidth, which greatly limits your selection of G.2 SSDs just makes your choice of slot basically irrelevant.

If y’all’re particularly lucky, you may stop upwards getting a motherboard with M.two slots that exclusively employ PCIe, simply if you didn’t buy with that in heed to brainstorm with, you probably don’t accept information technology.

If you’re using an M.2 NVMe SSD, yous’ll want to utilize a matching NVMe-compatible Thou.2 slot before annihilation else.
This will allow your NVMe SSD to perform at its fullest (within the limits of your motherboard- a four.0 SSD volition be express on a 3.0 motherboard, for instance).

If you’re using a SATA-based Grand.2 SSD, your choice of Chiliad.2 slot shouldn’t matter very much, withal you may be disabling some SATA ports on your motherboard in doing so.
Double-check your motherboard’due south documentation to see if any ports are disabled, and if so by what corresponding Thousand.2 slot.

How To Utilise Multiple Thou.ii Slots

At present, what if you lot take multiple Thousand.two drives and M.2 slots?

Well, the same general policy applies here.
If yous’re using Thou.two NVMe drives, you lot’ll want to prioritize using slots that enable those NVMe speeds.

With M.2 SATA drives, your choice of slot doesn’t really matter as long as you’re aware of whatever potential SATA Connectors existence disabled by their employ.

What To Do If Yous Don’t Take an M.two Slot

Let’s say yous bought an G.2 SSD…merely have just learned that yous don’t actually have any K.2 slots on your motherboard.

Is there any recourse for someone in this situation beyond merely returning the drive and going home?

Fortunately, at that place is, as long equally you have spare PCI Express slots.

This is the scenario where you invest in an Grand.ii PCIe adapter, which is basically a PCI Express bill of fare with Yard.two slots added onto it, allowing you to use M.2 drives on a organization that may not otherwise support them.

PCI Express M.2 SSD Adapters

Of course, your speeds will still be limited to whatever version of PCI Express your motherboard uses, so if you don’t accept at least PCI Limited 3.0 back up on your motherboard, this may not be the best idea for NVMe drives.

If yous want a rundown of our height picks for an M.ii PCIe adapter, or just want to learn more about them, give

Alex’south M.2 PCIe Adapter Guide

a read!

FAQ

Why does SATA K.two compared to NVMe/PCIe Thousand.2 matter?

While I accept used this article to explain that NVMe M.two SSDs are faster than their SATA M.2 counterparts and to only utilize them with corresponding NVMe slots, I haven’t actually explained
why.

So, I’ll take a moment to pigment a clearer picture. On the surface level, a SATA 1000.2 drive and an NVMe Grand.2 drive are going to look virtually the same.

And for many users, most of the improvements that you get over an HDD by upgrading to an SSD volition already be nowadays with a regular old SATA-based SSD.

Non everyone is pushing NVMe storage to its limits, especially if you lot don’t have peculiarly high-end storage needs.

However, all that extra bandwidth opened up by NVMe/PCIe bandwidth can be put to expert use in the right scenarios.

SATA-based SSDs, including Yard.2 SATA SSDs, cap out at around ~550 MB/s in read and write speeds. This is still good, and immensely faster than whatsoever HDD for sure, but it’s nowhere near today’s limits for fast storage.

HDD vs SATA SSD vs PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD

Sequential Read/Write Operation Comparing of different Drive technologies. In MByte/s.

NVMe SSDs, even the last-gen PCIe Gen iii-based NVMe SSDs, are immensely faster than this.

Gen 3 NVMe SSDs tin can push button as high as 3.5 GB/s, and even START around 1.5 GB/south on the cheaper end.

Even on the low finish of NVMe, you’re simply getting far faster speeds than is possible with SATA bandwidth.

In one case you start pushing further beyond into NVMe Gen 4 SSDs, you can even starting time coming across drives that tin attain a whopping 7 GB/s!

At this indicate, the speeds are so far removed from SATA SSDs that you may begin to question why people even bother with them to begin with.

Fortunately, that isn’t the whole story. While all that raw bandwidth is great, the bulk of practical benefits that you get from an SSD, similar faster loading times, are still nowadays on your bones SATA drives.

Loftier-operation NVMe SSDs are best suited to professionals, gamers, and enthusiasts who know how to make the almost of them.

After all, only very few workloads can really make employ of loftier sequential performance (Video Editing, Copying of large files..) – They’ll even so exist bottlenecked by slow random reads for example.

To acquire more than well-nigh the various types and tiers of SSDs,

check out my article on the topic
.

Can I Use an Thou.2 SSD In My Gaming Console?

If yous’re using a PlayStation 5, yep, you lot can install a compatible NVMe M.2 SSD into your system.

However, you volition need a PCI Express four.0 NVMe SSD for employ with your arrangement.

Additionally, the SSD needs to exist able to achieve read speeds of at least five.5 GB/s, to remain in line with the PS5’s built-in SSD storage.

PS5 NVMe Storage

If you’re looking for an NVMe bulldoze that meets these requirements but haven’t found i still, I’d like to indicate y’all in the direction of the excellent
WD_BLACK SN850
,
which offers read speeds of up to 7 GB/s.

This is more enough for upgrading your PlayStation 5 storage, and should concluding y’all for a long while since it’due south from a reputable brand.

Tin can I Use a PCIe 4.0 SSD on a PCIe iii.0 Motherboard?

Yes, but y’all will be limited to PCIe 3.0 speeds.

That’s well-nigh information technology, really- fortunately PCI Express as a standard is pretty proficient most backward compatibility.

What M.two Form Factor Should I Be Using?

The standard M.two form factor for well-nigh K.two drives is Thou.ii 2280.
The “22” ways that the drive is 22 millimeters wide, and the “80” means that the drive is fourscore millimeters long.

This is basically the standard M.2 slot size beyond most motherboards, and you shouldn’t demand to worry almost other M.2 sizes unless your specific motherboard or system requires information technology.

Should I Employ Included One thousand.two Coolers and Heatsinks?

If you lot’re using a speedy NVMe Gen four SSD and you lot take the room for information technology, yes, you probably should.

As NVMe SSDs have gotten faster, they’ve started to generate a lot more oestrus than they used to, which ways some of them are offset to come up with their ain heatsinks attached.

Types of M.2 SSD Heatsinks

The drives tin ordinarily still operate without these attached, but they may do and so at hotter temperatures, so unless you
need
to remove the heatsink to make it fit, I would keep it fastened.

Over To You

And that’s information technology, for at present!

I hope this article helped you lot observe which G.2 slot you should employ, and more than importantly, explained
why
you should use it.

There’s no bespeak in getting a sick Gen 4 NVMe drive if information technology ends up getting restricted to SATA bandwidth by a SATA M.two slot, later all.

Leave a annotate below or on our forum and let me know if you lot have any other questions. Alternately, tell me: how’s your new M.2 SSD treating you lot now that you have it installed?

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