What is an M.2 SSD drive? Here is the explanation

Confused about how to make your operating system run faster? If yes, then the answer is to use an M.2 SSD drive.

If you are bundling a computer or just upgrading your computer’s internal storage hardware, you should consider using an SSD. But instead of opting for a 2.5″ SATA device, why not consider something more modern?

Solid state drives have evolved, and now you can connect SSDs directly to your motherboard. You may have heard of mSATA, but what is an M.2 SSD? Are there drawbacks?

Read also: 5 Ways to Optimize a Slow SSD in Windows 10

What is an M.2 SSD drive?

When assembling or upgrading PC hardware, choosing the fastest storage is one of the things to consider. Because if you can install the operating system on a super fast storage space, your computer will also run faster.

M.2 or better known as Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) is a type of internally installed expansion card that is more modern with a slimmer profile. The form factor can simply be defined as the physical shape and size of a piece of hardware (in this case, an SSD). M.2 offers faster data transfer speeds than standard mSATA. Since the latter is based on PCIe, it is limited to 6 gigabits per second (Gb/s). Older Windows laptops and tablets use mSATA Solid State Drives (SSDs).

M.2 Unlike a standard hard drive or SSD, this device does not connect to the motherboard via a cable, but rather connects directly to the motherboard using a dedicated M.2 connector slot. This type of SSD is generally faster but more expensive than a 2.5-inch SATA SSD.

While mSATA SSDs are great, they are much better when using M.2 if your motherboard supports them.

What does an M.2 SSD drive like?

M.2.  SSD screen

An M.2 card can use the standard SATA interface or the faster PCIe interface (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express), but in both cases, M.2 can be connected directly to the motherboard.

Apart from the two types of M.2, you will find some differences in the connectors. It is very important that you buy the right type of M.2 SSD so that it can be installed on your motherboard. M.2 has three different configurations based on the position of the notches and gaps in the edge connectors.

  • B: The prong is six pins from the left.
  • M: The notch is five pins from the right.
  • BM: It consists of two prongs, the first being six pins from the left and the second five pins from the right.

Of course, you should be careful to check your motherboard documentation before purchasing an M.2 SSD. Mistakes can be costly!

Disadvantages of Using an M.2 Solid State Drive

While an M.2 SSD drive can give you a super fast operating system, you should be aware of the potential drawbacks.

For example, older motherboards that support an M.2 SSD may rely on the PCIe bus, which means that devices are limited to 6Gbit/s transfer speeds. Also, an M.2 SSD drive connected to a PCIe bus cannot be used as the primary system drive.

This issue does not exist with modern motherboards so it is worth checking if your hardware will deliver the speed you expect.

Meanwhile, motherboard design limitations may limit how M.2 devices interact with other systems. PCIe bandwidth is limited, which means adding an M.2 SSD can interfere with other devices. Again, check your motherboard’s documentation to verify how the M.2 drive affects your setup.


So what is an M.2 SSD? Basically, M.2 is an SSD with an M.2 interface called Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), a new generation interface standard adapted to replace the mSATA interface.

With faster storage, the operating system can run faster and performance will improve. Simply select the appropriate SSD and M.2 connector for your motherboard. Do not forget to carefully insert the device.

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