There is a new open format that scans the world of high-performance PCs, and it is ... well, complicated. The M.2 format is designed so that manufacturers replace a variety of specific devices, do so in a tiny space and require very little power. But upgrading to an M.2 reader or accessory requires a little thought.
Where does M.2 come from?
Formerly known asName of new generation form factor (NGFF), the M.2 format is technically a replacement for the standard mSATA, which was popular with manufacturers of super compact notebooks and other small gadgets. This may seem surprising, since most retail M.2 drives are intended for use on large desktops, but M.2 has effectively replaced the mSATA hard drives and SSDs of compact notebooks like the Apple MacBook or Dell XPS 13. simply sealed in the body and impossible to upgrade by most users.
What can he do?
M.2 is more than just a scalable form factor. Potentially, it could completely replace the aging Serial ATA format. M.2 is a slot that can interface with SATA 3.0 (the cable that is probably connected to your desktop computer's storage drive at the moment), PCI Express 3.0 (the default interface for graphics cards and other major expansion devices) and even USB 3.0.
This means that potentially any storage or disk drive, GPU or port extension, or low-power gadget using a USB connection, could all be mounted on a card plugged into the M.2 slot at the same time. The reality is a little more complicated - for example, one emM.2 placement only has four PCI Express lanes, a quarter of the total generally desired for graphics cards, but the flexibility of this tiny slot is impressive.
When using the PCI bus instead of the SATA bus, M.2 devices can transfer data 50% to about 650% faster than standard SATA, depending on the card's capabilities mother and the M.2 card itself. If you have the option of using an M.2 SSD on a motherboard that supports PCI 3 generation, it can be significantly faster than a standard SATA drive.
What devices use the M.2 location?
At the moment, M.2 is mainly used as an interface for high-speed SSDs, both on laptops and desktops. If you enter a hardware store and request an M.2 drive - assuming you can find a still active retail computer store, of course - they will certainly show you an SSD with an M.2 connector.
Some laptop models also use an M.2 port as a wireless connection, mounting tiny low-power cards that combine Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.This is less common for desktop computers, where the ease of a USB dongle or 1x PCIe cardst preferred (although there is no reason why you cannot do this on a compatible motherboard).
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Finally, some companies are starting to expand the use of the slot into categories that don't broadly match storage or expansion. Although no one has yet made a coachte graphics M.2, Intel is selling its accelerating cache storage, " Optane ", in M.2 format for consumers.
Does my computer have an M.2 slot?
If your PC has been manufactured or assembled in recent years, it probably has an M.2 location. Unfortunately, the flexibility of the format means that using it is not as simple as simply plugging in a card.
M.2 cards come with two main compatibility variables: length and key. The first is pretty obvious - your computer must have enough physical space to support the length of the card you want to use. The second variable - how the card is locked - simply means that the connector on the card must match the location where you are going to plug it in.
This motherboard takes support M.2 cards in lengths of 42mm, 60mm and 80mm.
For desktop computers, length is usually not a problem, even a tiny one Mini-ITX motherboard can easily make room for the maximum length of the M.2 PCB, which is 110 millimeters long. Some cards are as short as 30 mm. You usually want a card to be the size intended for use by theThe manufacturer of your motherboard, because an indentation at the end of the PCB allows a small screw to hold it in place.
All M.2 players use the same width determined by the connection. "Size is expressed in the following format; check compatibility with your laptop or motherboard when choosing one:
- M.2 2230: 22 millimeters wide by 30 millimeters long.
- M.2 2242: 22 millimeters wide by 42 millimeters long.
- M.2 2260: 22 millimeters wide by 60 millimeters long.
- M.2 2280: 22 millimeters wide by 80 millimeters long.
- M.2 2210: 22 millimeters wide by 110 millimeters long.
Some motherboards are flexible, providing mounting holes for retention screws at some or all of these intervals.
Although the M.2 standard uses the same 22mm wide slot for all cards, it is not necessarily exactly the same location. Since M.2 is designed to be used with so many different types of devices, it has similar and frustrating looking ports.
- B key: uses a gap in the right side of the card (left side of the host controller), with six broches to the right of the space. This configuration supports PCIe x2 bus connections.
- M key: uses a space on the left side of the card (right side of the host controller), with five pins to the left of the gap. This configuration supports PCIe x4 bus connections for twice the data rate.
- B + M key: uses the two spaces above, with five pins on the left side of the card and six on the right. Due to the physical design, B + M Key cards are limited to PCIe x2 speeds.
M.2 cards with a B Key interface can only be inserted in a B Key host slot, and the same for M Key. But cards with a B + M key design can fit into a B or M host slot because they have gaps for both.
Check the specifications of your laptop or motherboard to see which one is supported. NoWe recommend that you consult the documentation instead of "taking a look at the location, as the two key standards can be easily confused.
What do I need to install an M.2 card?
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Not much. Most M.2 cards are SSDs and are automatically recognized by your operating system based on the AHCI drivers. For Windows 10, most Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards are also recognized automatically, with generic drivers activated immediately or specific drivers downloaded later. However, you may need to enable the M.2 location via a setting in your computer's BIOS or UEFI . You will also need a screwdriver to insert the retention screw.
Can I add an M.2 card if my PC does not have a slot?
For laptops, the answer is no - the design of modern laptops is so compact that there is no room for any kind of unplanned expansion. you're using a desktop computer, you're in luck. There are many adapters for sale that use the PCIe x4 slot already on your motherboard. However, if your motherboard cannot boot from PCIe, you will not be able to define this onM.2 drive as a boot drive, which means you won't get high speed. So keep that in mind - if you want to take full advantage of the benefits of an M.2 drive, you will probably need a motherboard that supports it.
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