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What are M.2 SSD?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey,

Found this thing:
http://www.ncix.com/detail/sandisk-x400-512gb-m-2-2280-51-125368-1786.htm

What is the advantage of using M.2 drives? I don't see much improvement over my Crucial MX100 ~500MB/s read. I would like to get some PCI-e drives but they are so expensive. I went from 128GB to 256GB SDD but have 40GB left. Looking to double the capacity.
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post #2 of 7
Much smaller, no external power, fixes flush to motherboard, generally better access times.

Also heard they last longer than the equivalent PCIe SSD
     
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post #3 of 7
^

But as an OS drive, they are only a bit faster, so not needed rly... at least for me
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks!
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post #5 of 7
M.2 SSDs come in 2 variants. Some are SATA III, & some are PCIe. If you purchase a PCIe M.2 SSD, & either have a motherboard that supports M.2 PCIe or use a M.2 PCIe card in your standard PCIe slots, you can see much higher access times than a standard SATA III SSD. The best current example is the Samsung 950 Pro, which can see as high as 2500MB/s sequential read speeds. Here's my results using one (also posted in the 950 pro owners' thread):


If you instead purchase a SATA III M.2 SSD, it will likely be capable of the same speeds as an equivalent 2.5" SATA III SSD. These are often limited by the transfer rate of the SATA III interface itself, which maxes out at 600MB/s. If you install a PCIe M.2 SSD into a SATA III M.2 slot, I believe it will work, but only at SATA III speeds. I haven't tested this myself though, so I am not 100% sure.

In real-world use, the difference is apparent, but not huge. I've seen some slower programs open about 4x faster on my 950 Pro (PCIe) vs my 850 Evo (SATA III), and I've noticed a considerable difference loading levels in Borderlands. Outside of those use cases, the SATA III SSD is fast enough that I wouldn't be able to perceive the improvement from the PCIe SSD. If you want the best, & don't mind spending more, PCIe is the way to go. If you want good enough (seriously, it is), save some money & get SATA III.

Edit: One last note, the 950 Pro actually runs surprisingly warm. I often see temperatures around 50C-60C, with spikes over 70C during benchmarks. It hasn't had a noticeable effect on my system, but it is an extra heat source to consider, especially if it's close to your CPU or GPU & out of the airflow path.
Edited by dlewbell - 2/29/16 at 3:20pm
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just a nickname View Post

Hey,

Found this thing:
http://www.ncix.com/detail/sandisk-x400-512gb-m-2-2280-51-125368-1786.htm

What is the advantage of using M.2 drives? I don't see much improvement over my Crucial MX100 ~500MB/s read. I would like to get some PCI-e drives but they are so expensive. I went from 128GB to 256GB SDD but have 40GB left. Looking to double the capacity.

m.2 drives have two different types. AHCI and NVMe.

most AHCI m.2 uses SATA protocol which is the same as 2.5" SSD.

You could get a faster AHCI m.2 device that uses PCIe protocol like SM951 or XP941 or Plextor M6e or HyperX Predator.

If you want the cheapest NVMe (your mobo has to support NVMe protocol) m.2 device, I suggest you search for Samsung PM951
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post #7 of 7
All M.2 are good for the size and no power connector like Pedro said.

Like what raclimja said, you need to decide on the interface, either PCIe/NVMe or SATA3. The one you linked is SATA3, which won't be any faster.

As far as I know, the PCIe/NVMe run considerably hotter compared to the SATA3 SSDs. IMO, if the M.2 is in an area that will get hot, rethink about going with the PCIe/NVMe.
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