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

The M.2 drive is an essential part of today’s computer system. Still, it can be challenging to keep track of all its features and specifications without consulting dozens of different sources or spending hours researching online on manufacturer websites that often lack detailed descriptions about each option available for selection during setup processes.

This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of M.2 drives and slots so that you can be better informed when selecting the right one for your needs.

M.2 drives come in two main form factors: 2230 and 2242. The first number refers to the width of the drive-in millimetres, while the second number is the length. The most common widths are 80 mm (also known as Type 2221), 60 mm, and 42 mm. The most common measurements are 110 mm, 80 mm, and 60 mm PCIe lanes.

The 2242 form factor is the more popular of the two, as it offers better compatibility with a broader range of devices. It is also the more versatile option, as it can be used on laptops and desktop computers. The 2230 form factor is typically only used in laptops, as it offers a more compact size better suited for mobile devices with PCIe Interface and graphics cards or solid-state drives.

M.2 drives are available in different storage capacities, ranging from 128 GB to 1 TB. The most common accommodations are 256 GB and 512 GB SATA SSDs.

There are three types of M.2 slots: B key, M key, and B+M key. The kind of slot determines which type of drive it can use. B key slots only support SATA drives, while M key slots only support PCIe drives. B+M key slots support both SATA and PCIe drives.

The most common type of M.2 slot is the B+M key slot, which offers the best compatibility with a wide range of drives. The B key slot is typically only used in laptops, providing a more compact size better suited for mobile devices. The M key slot generally is only used in desktop computers, as it offers better performance with PCIe drives.

The way that these terms are used can be confusing, but there’s an excellent reason for it SATA M.2

The bad news is you have to work before understanding what they mean- the good part? Understanding this logic will make things much more straightforward once we get started!

B key and M key slots are named after the shape of the notch cut out of the place. B key notches are rectangular, while M key notches are square of M.2 SATA SSDs.

These notches determine which type of drive can be used with the slot. B key slots only support SATA drives, while M key slots only support PCIe drives. B+M key slots support both SATA and PCIe drives with a talk of maximum speed and maximum transfer speed.

The most common type of M.2 slot is the B+M key slot, as it offers the best compatibility with a wide range of drives or the drive bays of NVMe drive. The B key slot is typically only used in laptops, as it offers a more compact size that is better suited for mobile devices. 

The M key slot generally is only used in desktop computers, providing better performance with PCIe drives or disk drive.

An external drive is connected to the right ventricle. The left ventricular outflow tract was closed with a Dacron patch, and the pulmonary valve was reconstructed by suturing it to the anterior wall of the ascending aorta. A coronary artery bypass graft

What is an NVMe drive?

NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express. It is a new technology that offers higher performance, lower latency, and more reliability than traditional hard disk drives.

NVMe drives have been around since 2015, but their popularity has exploded over the past year. Many major PC manufacturers are now adopting them because of their high performance and low cost.

M.2 slots are also available at different speeds, determining the maximum data transfer rate the slot is capable of. The most common speeds are SATA 3.0, PCIe 2.0, and PCIe 3.0.

SATA 3.0 has a maximum data transfer rate of 6 Gbps, while PCIe 2.0 has a maximum data transfer rate of 5 Gbps. PCIe 3.0 has a maximum data transfer rate of 8 Gbps along with the storage type of NVMe slot or PCIe slots.

SSDs are a leap forward compared to their old mechanical hard drive counterparts. I can’t think about them otherwise!

What’s the hurry? There are still many things to consider before committing. It may be wise for everyone who wants their voice heard in this development process, from community members and stakeholders alike -to do some research first!

Think of this as a primer on all things M.2 — an in-depth guide that’ll explain the most prominent buzzwords and provide you with tools so we can help navigate through what’s out there right now together!

What is an M.2 SSD?

M.2 specifies internally mounted computer expansion cards and associated connectors. It replaces the mSATA standard connector slot used in laptops and other devices for packing a solid-state drive (SSD) into a small space.

The M.2 specification defines several module types, each with different dimensions and capabilities. The most common types of SSDs are types 2280, 2260, and 2242.

Type 2280 is the largest and provides the highest data throughput, while type 2242 is the smallest and has the lowest data throughput. Type 2260 is somewhere in between.

What’s the difference between M.2 and mSATA?

M.2 and mSATA are both used for SSDs but are not the same.

MSATA was introduced in 2009 as a way to improve on the existing PATA and SATA standards. It uses the same data and power connectors as SATA but is much smaller in size.

M.2, on the other hand, is a newer standard introduced in 2013. It is designed to be even smaller than mSATA and can use either SATA or PCIe data connectors.

What is an M.2 slot?

An M.2 slot is a physical connector that allows an M.2 module to be connected to a motherboard.

M.2 slots are available in different sizes, the most common being type 2280. Type 2280 slots are 80mm long and can use either SATA or PCIe data connectors.

What is an M key slot?

An M key slot is a physical connector that allows an M.2 module to be connected to a motherboard. M key slots are designed for use with M.2 modules that use the PCIe data connector or the bus interfaces.

What is a B key slot?

A B key slot is a physical connector that allows an M.2 module to be connected to a motherboard. B key slots are designed for use with M.2 modules that use the SATA data connector.

What is a B+M key slot?

A B+M key slot is a physical connector that allows an M.2 module to be connected to a motherboard. B+M key slots are designed for use with M.2 modules that use either the SATA or PCIe data connectors of the PCIe expansion card.

M.2 Drives — Lengths, Widths, and Heights

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is an M.2 slot?,” it’s time to talk about the drives themselves! M.2 drives come in different lengths, widths, and heights.

The most common length is 80mm, but you can also find drives that are 60mm, 42mm, and 30mm.

The width is always 22mm, but the height can be either 2mm or 3mm.

M.2 drives are available at different speeds, which determine the maximum data transfer rate that the drive is capable of. The most common speeds are SATA 3.0, PCIe 2.0, and PCIe 3.0 getting the advantage.

SATA 3.0 has a maximum data transfer rate of 6 Gbps, while PCIe 2.0 has a maximum data transfer rate of 5 Gbps. PCIe 3.0 has a maximum data transfer rate of 8 Gbps.

What is an M.2 connector?

An M.2 connector is a physical connector that allows an M.2 module to be connected to a motherboard.

M.2 connectors are available in different sizes, the most common being type 2280. Type 2280 connectors are 80mm long and can use either SATA or PCIe data connectors.

Recommended read this article:- Which M.2 Slot Should You Use?

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is an M.2 SSD?

M.2 is a specification for internally mounted computer expansion cards and associated connectors. It replaces the mSATA standard, which was used in laptops and other devices for packing a solid-state drive (SSD) into a small space.
The M.2 specification defines several module types, each with different dimensions and capabilities. The most common types used in SSDs are types 2280, 2260, and 2242.
Type 2280 is the largest and provides the highest data throughput, while type 2242 is the smallest and has the lowest data throughput. Type 2260 is somewhere in between.

What is the difference between M.2 and mSATA?

M.2 and mSATA are both used for SSDs, but they are not the same thing.
MSATA was introduced in 2009 as a way to improve on the existing PATA and SATA standards. It uses the same data and power connectors as SATA, but it is much smaller in size.
M.2, on the other hand, is a newer standard that was introduced in 2013. It is designed to be even smaller than mSATA and can use either SATA or PCIe data connectors.

Conclusion

M.2 is the newer standard and is designed to be even smaller than mSATA. M.2 can use either SATA or PCIe data connectors, while mSATA is limited to SATA.

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