M.2, originally known as Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), is a fairly new interface which compacts expansion cards and is internally mounted inside desktops and laptops.
M.2s are commonly seen as SSD, but they can also be found on other different modules like Bluetooth, Wi-fi, and NFC. There are many types of M.2 cards in terms of physical size and types that can make you ask yourself: Which M.2 slot to use?
Which M.2 Slot To Use Based On Purposes?(200)
One of the M.2 physical features you can easily notice on M.2 modules is their notches. Depending on their notch, those modules provide different interfaces. Each M.2 notch indicates a specific key type labeled from A to M.
The most common key types are lettered B and M, which are SSD modules. The main thing to keep in mind when buying an M.2 SSD is to make sure both your motherboard and your SSD share the same connector type, or simply say they have the same key type.
Another thing that you should remember is some motherboards share M.2 SATA bandwidth with an M.2 slot. This means if you mount a SATA based M.2 SSD, it may disable one or many other SATA slots. (You can know better) To know better about this problem, you should read your motherboard’s description.
But if you are using an NVME SSD, it won’t be a problem at all since they are not the same type of bandwidth at all.
As for the others like Wi-fi or Bluetooth modules, you need to pay attention to the same thing when using M.2 SSD to mount them in the right M.2 slot based on their labeled key type.
Which M.2 Slot To Use Based On Size?
M.2 modules come in different sizes, which are expressed in numbers like 2280. The first 2 digits represent the module’s width, and the last digits represent its length in millimeters. For example, a 2280 SSD is 22mm in width and 80mm in length.
Desktop motherboards usually have many M.2 slots supporting various modules in terms of size, so the M.2 module’s physical dimension shouldn’t be a problem.
On the contrary, laptops usually require a specific size for each kind of M.2 module, which is a problem you should bear in mind in order to choose a suitable module to fit the M.2 slot.
Which M.2 Slot To Use Based On Placement?
Desktop motherboards usually have two M.2 slots, which are M.2_1 and M.2_2 sockets. Based on the motherboard model, each slot supports one out of two kinds of connections, which are (SATA & PCIe 3.0 x2 mode) and (PCIe 3.0 x4 mode).
Those specifications indicate the module’s type and connectivity that M.2 slot supports. For example, if the M.2_1 slot supports SATA & PCIe 3.0 x2 mode, that means it can run both SATA and PCIe based SSDs. But mind that M.2 slot with x4 mode has faster connection compared to x2 mode, so if you are using an NVME SSD, you should mount it in that socket.
Just a reminder that using a SATA based SSD on an M.2 slot may disable SATA slots that share bandwidth with it. To avoid this issue, you should choose the slot that won’t conflict with other SATA by looking at the motherboard’s description.
M.2 has become an excellent way to deliver fast connectivity that comes in a small size. But with the huge benefit comes many problems on which M.2 slot to use and how to utilize its performance.
After reading this article, we hope you have gained all the information you need to build the best system featuring M.2 modules in the right way!