If you want to boost the performance of your PC or laptop, you might be interested in upgrading to a M.2 SSD. This is a new type of solid state drive (SSD) that uses the NVMe protocol over PCIe bus to deliver faster speeds than traditional SATA SSDs. But before you buy one, you need to make sure that your computer supports it. Here are some tips on how to check and what to avoid.
How to Check if Your Computer Supports M.2 SSD
M.2 SSDs are small and flat devices that plug into a slot on your motherboard. They come in different sizes and shapes, but the most common one is 2280, which means 22mm wide and 80mm long. To find out if your motherboard has a M.2 slot, you can either look at the manual or use a tool like CPU-Z to identify your motherboard model and then search for its specifications online.
If your motherboard has a M.2 slot, you also need to check if it supports NVMe over PCIe. This is the protocol that allows M.2 SSDs to communicate with the CPU at high speeds. Some older motherboards may have a M.2 slot that only supports SATA, which is the same protocol used by 2.5 inch SSDs and hard drives. In that case, you won’t get any benefit from using a M.2 SSD.
To check if your M.2 slot supports NVMe over PCIe, you can look at the keying of the slot. The keying is the shape of the notch on the edge of the slot that matches the notch on the edge of the SSD. There are different types of keying, such as B-key, M-key, or B+M-key. For NVMe over PCIe, you need a M-key slot, which has a single notch on the right side of the slot.
What to Avoid When Buying a M.2 SSD
As mentioned above, not all M.2 SSDs use NVMe over PCIe protocol. Some of them use SATA protocol, which limits their speed to 600MB/s, while NVMe over PCIe can reach up to 3GB/s. To avoid buying a SATA M.2 SSD by mistake, you need to look at the keying of the SSD as well. A SATA M.2 SSD will have either a B-key or a B+M-key notch on the edge, while a NVMe over PCIe SSD will have only a M-key notch.
Besides the keying, you also need to avoid some other types of SSDs that are not compatible with your computer. For example, there are some SSDs that use U.2 or mSATA form factors, which require different connectors and adapters than M.2 slots. These SSDs are usually designed for specific devices or servers and are not suitable for general use.
M.2 SSDs are a great way to improve the speed and performance of your computer, but you need to make sure that your computer supports them before buying one. You need to check if your motherboard has a M.2 slot that supports NVMe over PCIe protocol and avoid buying a SATA M.2 SSD or other types of SSDs that are not compatible with your computer.