What is an M.2 SSD?  Pros, cons, and buying tips

What is an M.2 SSD? Pros, cons, and buying tips
What is an M.2 SSD? Pros, cons, and buying tips

If you are assembling a new computer or if you wanted to increase the speed of the laptop, you may have started thinking about SSD.  But since there are several types of SSD in the market, if you don’t choose the most suitable one, you will definitely have to spend more than twenty thousand rupees.

 Why be wary of SATA SSDs?

One type of SSD available in the market is SATA SSD.  These connect to the computer through the SATA port just like a regular HDD.  The shape of these is as big as a normal HDD.  It’s a good solution for older laptops (those without an NVMe slot).  After these came mSATA SSDs, which were smaller, thinner, and caseless, faster than SATA due to PCIe connectivity.  They are suitable for small-size or thin laptops.  For modern computers, their application is disadvantageous.

If you go to a store and put an SSD in your computer, they may remove your existing HDD and replace it with a SATA SSD.  But from that (PCIe mSATA) the speed you get is about 750MB/s.  Alternatively, you can also get an M.2 SSD if the existing HDD has an NVMe slot.

Thus having both HDD and SSD is advantageous.  Because moving or storing large files on SSDs wears them out quickly.  But an SSD is very beneficial for Windows to boot very quickly.  So, you can use the other HDD to store movies or songs using the software you use frequently with Windows on the SSD.

 Available forms of M.2

Originally known as Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), M.2 is the modern capacity form that came after mSATA.  Even though this SSD technology can be adapted to any computer, as mentioned before, it does not achieve maximum speed in all ways.  However, in choosing the right one for your motherboard, you will find the following methods.

Depending on the bus type

SATA: This option allows connecting the SATA 3.0 port to the M.2 connector through the AHCI driver.  The speed here is very low and even older SATA computers benefit from connecting an SSD.

 AHCI: This method can be used to add SSDs to low-cost motherboards and older operating systems.  An SSD connected in this way has a higher speed compared to an HDD and a SATA (AHCI) can get about 600MB/s.

 NVMe: This is based on PCIe.  This makes the most of an SSD and can achieve speeds as high as 3GB/s.

 This makes it clear to you that M.2 is just a form factor and SATA or NVMe is the bus mode used for data exchange with the computer, so they are multiple.

 Depending on the connector

 An M.2 SSD is also divided into parts depending on how it connects to the motherboard.  This is mentioned near the motherboard connector or in the user manual, so you should check it before buying the SSD.  The following types are called the Key and are separated by slots between the pins on the end of the SSD.

 B: There is a single slot after 6 Pins on the left side.  The data transfer speed is 10Gbit/s.

 M: A single slot is applied after Pin 5 from the right end and claims a data transfer speed of 20Gbit/s.

 B+M: Here it is designed to fit both types of motherboards with both of the above slots.  The speed is 10Gbit/s.

Check support from BIOS

Even if we select the SSD according to the correct bus type and key, there may be other disadvantages due to the BIOS version.  Because some motherboards do not facilitate booting directly from PCIe.  If you are going to use the SSD with the aim of booting the operating system quickly, it is wise to check this first before spending.

You can enter the BIOS with the key for your computers, such as F2 or Del, and verify that it is possible to enable the M.2 enable facility to boot from it.  Modern computers with an NVMe slot usually have PCIe boot support, so this isn’t much of a problem.

 Advantages and Disadvantages of M.2

Computer-capacity hardware manufacturers are now focusing more and more on producing SSDs.  M.2, PCIe capacities and NVMe are the king princes that will soon become the main capacity system in computers, despite the fact that SSDs are not suitable for long-term use and have a shorter lifespan than HDDs.  This reduces the weight, thickness, battery drain and even the time it takes for data to circulate.

The disadvantages of M.2 are that it is not compatible with every computer.  Even if you connect it through an adapter, if you don’t get the maximum data transfer speed, if you can’t boot, you won’t be able to benefit from it.  Also, an M.2 costs four times as much as a gigabyte of HDD, so it’s still a bit out of the affordable price range.

Both these negative factors are resolved over time.  When you buy a new computer, the compatibility problem disappears, and just like the price of HDDs was high at that time and now the price has gone down, one day SSDs will also come at a very low price.  But maybe even faster technology will have arrived by then.

So, if you don’t spend because of the simple wave of “everyone is putting it, I have to install an SSD”, if you check if your computer can get the most out of it, you will be able to enjoy the maximum amount of benefits without any of these problems.

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