Which M.2 Slot Should You Use?

In this article, we will answer all your questions about the best M.2 slot for installing an SSD and how it can improve performance in gaming computers and workstations! 

To find out which one is right for you, though, there are a few essential factors that need consideration: what kind of hardware do I have (motherboard)? What size/form factor does my PC take up and its overall weight class? And last but not least importantly… AMI installed yet!?

All of these will be answered in the paragraphs below!

The Basics of M.2 SSDs

M.2 SSDs offer a high level of performance and make for an excellent choice in your next computer build, as they’re small enough to be installed into the same slots where you would insert SATA drives cur.

The M.2 SSD has an easy-to-read design that makes it the perfect storage device for any computer on your desk!

The size and capacity are much smaller than traditional HDD or USB Flash drives, so you’ll never have trouble finding a comparable amount of data when transferring videos from one place to another with these little guys’ disk drives as well – just know there’s not quite enough room if all those files were generated in HD resolution though since they only come preloaded at lower bitrates (less detailed).

The 2.5-inch form factor is not exclusive to SATA SSDs, though, on the inside, they do take up more room than other types of storage devices that use this size, such as hard drives or compact laptops with an optical drive installed in their base unit (no pun intended). So, for example, a 1 TB HDD holds about 10% more data than a 1 TB SSD. The M.2 connector is keyed so that it can only be inserted in one orientation.

The slot has a unique notch that corresponds to the shape of the connector on the bottom of an M.2 SSD. M.2 drives are available in different lengths, the most common being 80 mm (2.5 inches), 60 mm (1.8 inches), and 42 mm (0.6 inches). M.2 SSDs are as thin and light compared to other standards. They’re about the size of your typical USB flash drive but much faster because it has no moving parts or electronics inside!

The width of an M.2 drive is always 22 mm, but it can be equipped with various storage connectors, including SATA, PCI Express 3.0 x4, and NVMe. M.2 drives that use the SATA bus are usually labeled as “SATA M.2” or “M.2 SATA,” while those that use the PCI Express bus are labeled as “PCIe M.2” or “M.2 PCIe.”

The different bus types offer different maximum data transfer speeds boot drive. SATA M.2 drives are limited to a maximum data transfer rate of 600 MB/s, while PCIe M.2 drives can reach speeds of up to 4 GB/s. M.2 NVMe drives offer the fastest data transfer rates, with some models capable of reaching speeds of up to 8 GB/s! M.2 drives are available in different storage capacities, with the most significant models currently offering up to 2 TB of storage space M.2 SATA SSDs.

The Different Types of M.2 SSDs

There are three main types of M.2 SSDs: SATA, PCIe, and NVMe. SATA M.2 drives use the same bus as traditional SATA hard drives and SSDs, which are compatible with any motherboard with a SATA port.

PCIe M.2 drives use the PCI Express bus, which is faster than the SATA bus and allows for data transfer speeds of up to 4 GB/s. NVMe M.2 drives use the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) interface, the fastest type of M.2 drive, and offer data transfer speeds of up to 8 GB/s.

The M.2 SATA SSD has the same capabilities of a 2.”5-inch, but comes in a smaller form factor and can be used for laptops that don’t need room to spare inside their case or onboard storage capacity limits with an earlier generation Intel processor architecture chipset – which many new models do nowadays!

The introduction of the NVMe standard Advanced Host Controller Interface has allowed M.2 drives to take advantage and utilize PCI Express bandwidth rather than SATA’s slower rates that are not as efficient with data transfer speeds.

This means faster boot times for your system because these SSDs can access stored programs before they’re needed; plus, there will be less waiting around while files load PCIe 3.0 x4 and PCIe x16 slot!

Which M.2 Slot Should You Use First?

So, which M.2 slot should you use first?

The specifications of each motherboard’s slots will dictate what order they should be in when installing drives onto them and whether or not there is enough space available for installation without running into an obstruction such as physical housing that blocks the way, as shown below. The type of slot a motherboard has can determine what kind and speed it’s capable of running at.

For example, some motherboards will only allow for one M2 NVMe/PCIe device while others might be restricted to SATA bandwidth which limits your options when shopping around but doesn’t impact performance since all modern SSDs are based on PCIe lanes anyway!

The only way you can get a motherboard with M.2 slots that exclusively use PCIe is if it’s an upgrade from your old one, and even then, they might be limited in number or function due to the type of slot design used on their motherboards themselves (which we’ll get into next).

If you’re using an M.2 slot-based SSD, then your choice of motherboard doesn’t matter very much since they will all work with similar sizes and types; however, there may be some disadvantages to choosing one over another, so make sure that any documentation says which ports are enabled/disabled before purchasing!

There are different types of M.2 slots, which are not all created equal.

The three most common types of M.2 slots are Type A, Type B, and Type M are the connector slot.

  • Type A slots are the most common type of M.2 slot and are compatible with SATA and PCIe M.2 drives in the motherboard specification.
  • Type B slots are less common and are only compatible with PCIe M.2 drives.
  • Type M slots are the least common type of M.2 slot and are only compatible with M.2 SATA drives.

The physical size of an M.2 slot is also essential to consider. M.2 slots come in two different sizes: 2280 and 22110.

The number indicates the width of the slot in millimeters, while the ’80’ or ‘110’ indicates the length. Most M.2 slots are 2280, but some newer motherboards have started to include 22110 slots along with PCIe cards.

Both sizes are compatible with all types of M.2 drives, but 22110 drives can be longer and offer more storage capacity. When shopping for an M.2 drive, you’ll need to ensure it’s the right size for your M.2 slot.

Installing an M.2 Drive

Installing an M.2 drive is a relatively simple process. First, you’ll need to ensure that your motherboard has an available M.2 slot or M.2 PCIe. If it does, you’ll need to determine what type of M.2 drive you want to install and purchase the appropriate one.

Once you have your M.2 drive, the next step is to physically install the motherboard driver into the M.2 slot. To do this, you’ll need to locate the M.2 slot on your motherboard and remove the cover. Once the cover is removed, you should see something like this:![]()

You’ll need to line up the notches on the M.2 drive with the slots in the M.2 socket. Once the notches are aligned, insert the M.2 drive into the socket.

You’ll know when the drive is inserted correctly when you see that the drive is level with the surface of the motherboard and you hear a click as the drive locks into place.

How To Use Multiple M.2 Slots?

You might wonder how to use multiple M.2 slots if your motherboard has more than one. The answer is that it depends on the motherboard and the drives you’re using ultrafast PCIe.

Some motherboards will allow you to use multiple M.2 drives in a RAID configuration, increasing performance or providing redundancy in case one of the drives fails.

Other motherboards will only allow you to use one M.2 drive at a time, or they might have different slots for different types of drives (e.g. one slot for SATA and one slot for PCIe).

Before purchasing multiple M.2 drives, you’ll need to check your motherboard’s documentation to see how many drives it can support and what configuration is required.

M.2 Vs. PCIe: Which Is Faster?

The short answer is that M.2 is faster than PCIe, but the difference is not as big as you might think.

Both M.2 and PCIe offer similar speeds, with M.2 drives typically providing slightly higher sequential read/write speeds and PCIe drives typically providing slightly higher random read/write speeds.

The main difference between M.2 and PCIe is the form factor.

M.2 drives are smaller and more compact than PCIe drives, making them ideal for laptops and other devices with limited space.

On the other hand, PCIe drives are better suited for desktop PCs where space is not as much of a concern. Regarding speed, both M.2 and PCIe drives offer similar performance, so the choice between them comes down to form factor and compatibility.

M.2 Vs. SATA: Which Is Faster?

The short answer is that M.2 is faster than SATA, but the difference is not as big as you might think.

Both M.2 and SATA offer similar speeds, with M.2 drives typically providing slightly higher sequential read/write speeds and SATA drives typically providing slightly higher random read/write speeds.

What To Do If You Don’t Have an M.2 Slot?

If your motherboard doesn’t have an M.2 slot, you’ll need to use a SATA-based M.2 drive or a PCIe-based M.2 drive with an adapter card. SATA-based M.2 drives can be used with any standard SATA III port, so you’ll need to connect the drive to an available SATA port on your motherboard.

PCIe-based M.2 drives, on the other hand, will need to be used with a PCIe adapter card. These cards typically come with their power connector and can be installed in any free PCIe slot on your motherboard. Once the card is installed, you can connect your PCIe-based M.2 drive to the card.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I use an M.2 drive in a SATA slot?

A: No, you cannot use an M.2 drive in a SATA slot. M.2 drives are not compatible with SATA slots.

Q: What is the difference between M.2 and PCIe?

A: The main difference between M.2 and PCIe is the form factor. M.2 drives are smaller and more compact than PCIe drives, making them ideal for laptops and other devices with limited space. On the other hand, PCIe drives are better suited for desktop PCs where space is not as much of a concern.

Q: What is the difference between M.2 and SATA?

A: The main difference between M.2 and SATA is the form factor. M.2 drives are smaller and more compact than SATA drives, making them ideal for laptops and other devices with limited space. On the other hand, SATA drives are better suited for desktop PCs where space is not as much of a concern.

Q: Can I use multiple M.2 drives in RAID?

A: Some motherboards will allow you to use multiple M.2 drives in a RAID configuration, which can increase performance or provide redundancy in case one of the drives fails. Other motherboards will only allow you to use one M.2 drive at a time, or they might have different slots for different types of drives (e.g. one slot for SATA and one slot for PCIe). Before purchasing multiple M.2 drives, you’ll need to check your motherboard’s documentation to see how many drives it can support and what configuration is required.

Conclusion

M.2 is faster than SATA, but the difference is not as big as you might think. M.2 is also smaller and more compact than SATA, which makes it ideal for laptops and other devices where space is limited. If your motherboard doesn’t have an M.2 slot, then you’ll need to use a SATA-based M.2 drive or a PCIe-based M.2 drive with an adapter card.

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