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TOPIC: Help! I don't know what to buy! M.2 storage

Help! I don't know what to buy! M.2 storage 8 months 3 weeks ago #15956

  • go.neil
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I'm looking to upgrade my memory situation. Currently, my PC runs with one Sandisk 120GB SSD for boot and one Seagate 1TB for additional installations and one Western Digital Black 2TB for recorded videos storage.

My Seagate 1TB just died yesterday and Windows went haywire. So I'm gonna do a fresh install one of these days. Honestly, 120GB SSD is not enough, so I'm looking for an upgrade there. Now I want all my installations, Games, and software on one single disk. So I'm thinking 240GB SSD or M.2. The simplest solution is just grab another 240GB SSD and call it a day. But the M.2 slot on my MOBO has never been used and I don't know what I am missing.

Can anyone tell me if there's a big difference in speed on M.2 drives VS the traditional 3.5 SSDs? If yes, what M.2 drive should I buy? I see a lot of brands on the M.2 side but the prices vary from US$80 up to US$170 only selecting 240 GB drives. Is there a big difference in speed on the expensive ones? And are there different M.2 drives that my MOBO can't support? What should I buy? My MOBO is an ASUS Z97 PRO GAMER. If that helps. Thanks all and cheers!
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Help! I don't know what to buy! M.2 storage 8 months 3 weeks ago #15957

  • i7Baby
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I use a 250gb samsung 850 evo just for windows 10. A LOT of programs also insist on installing on your boot/c: drive. Games can use 30gb of drive space. So I use a hard drive for programs and data including games.

If you wanted just one SSD, I'd recommend at least 512gb. The speed difference for windows and games etc between sata sdd and m.2 won't be noticeable. eg windows will take about 20 seconds to load on either. But I'm hoping to eventually get an m.2 drive as a scratch disk for video editing - hopefully it'll be noticeably faster than on my sata ssd, But m.2 does cost a bit more than a sata ssd. And it's about 5x as fast.
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Help! I don't know what to buy! M.2 storage 8 months 3 weeks ago #15962

  • Birdhunter
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M.2 is the physical connector. The speed is determined by the Protocol thats used:
Cheaper SSDs tend to use the Sata Protocol. It's the same as with the 2.5" SSDs, do there's not much difference in speed (if at all).
The more expensive one use NVME / PCI-Express. The speed is much faster, but:
- They are much more expensive.
- They use up some PCIe lanes (which could be a problem if you are using a lot of the other pcie slots)
- The increase in speed is useless for things like windows, documents and most games. Only Software that read/write intensive really benefits from it.

From Asus mobo website:
*1: M.2 Socket 3 shares bandwidth with PCIEX1_1 and PCIEX1_2 (in PCIE mode) & SATA6G_4 (in SATA mode), and supports M Key and type 2260/2280 storage devices.

If you have any of those PCIe slots in use, you'll be better of with a regular 2.5" SSD. If not, then any M.2 2260 or 2280 SSD will work (pcie and Sata) without problems*.

For just windows, games, etc. I would recomnend a non-nvme ssd, because the huge price jump isn't worth it.
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