M.2 NVME 1TB - Help with finding one


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I'm getting a bit confused with which nvme drive I need/should get for my laptop. It's fairly old but supports nvme m.2 and currently has m.2 SATA.

 

The laptop I have will only support 2 lane and all the drives I see is 4 lane, which isn't a problem as it just throttles it from my understanding.  Does anyone know the max read/write speed 2 lane?  I don't see much point in me buying a drive which can do like 3000MB/s if 2 lane only goes up to 2000MB/S as an example, but like I said I don't know max speed of 2 lane.

 

Thanks

 

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I thought SATA M.2's aren't compatible with NVME. It has a different pin layout.

 

What are you talking about lanes? Do you mean PCI-e lanes? They're back compatible.

 

I am using this in my Mini-PC: https://www.newegg.com/western-digital-1tb-black-sn750-se-nvme/p/N82E16820250191?Item=N82E16820250191

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On 30/11/2021 at 22:55, Mindovermaster said:

I thought SATA M.2's aren't compatible with NVME. It has a different pin layout.

 

What are you talking about lanes? Do you mean PCI-e lanes? They're back compatible.

 

I am using this in my Mini-PC: https://www.newegg.com/western-digital-1tb-black-sn750-se-nvme/p/N82E16820250191?Item=N82E16820250191

They're not entirely compatible, however majority of motherboards let you use both, so i'm good for that.

 

I'll be honest I'm not so sure about lanes, never really had to think about NVME drives before, but when looking at the specs of the drive you have as an example it says

 

"WD BLACK SN750 NVMe SSD (Heatsink)
Specification
Interface M.2 22801,2 PCIe Gen3 8 Gb/s, up to 4 Lanes"

 

So from what I understand, if your motherboard can handle 4 lanes, then you'll see the max advertised read/write speeds, but with 2 lane you won't.  For that drive max speed is 3600MB/s on 4 lane, so 2 lane I'm guessing it'll be 1800MB/S?

 

So confusing

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On 30/11/2021 at 18:52, Mindovermaster said:

Again, all those are x4...

Then he is limited to a 2242, if he can fit a 2280 then his hardware is capable of 4 lanes.  Here is the question what is this going into

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On 30/11/2021 at 17:59, DoctorD said:

Then he is limited to a 2242, if he can fit a 2280 then his hardware is capable of 4 lanes.  Here is the question what is this going into

He said his laptop, where hes getting 2 lanes, I have no idea.

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On 30/11/2021 at 23:59, DoctorD said:

Then he is limited to a 2242, if he can fit a 2280 then his hardware is capable of 4 lanes.  Here is the question what is this going into

It’s 2280, but x2 according to Dell, but that doesn’t matter really, just what max read speed for x2 is

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On 30/11/2021 at 18:50, Dan~ said:

It’s 2280, but x2 according to Dell, but that doesn’t matter really, just what max read speed for x2 is

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express#History_and_revisions

 

Buy the best drive you can get.  They're not going to sustain 3-7GB/sec or whatever they claim anyway even if you're transferring from a similarly fast drive.

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I just bought my first Corsair Force MP600 M.2 2280 500GB PCI-Express Gen 4.0 x4 NVMe 3D TLC Internal Solid State for my new build.   I need to get one more but,  it has to be a  Gen 3.0.  That's how my new motherboard is set up.   I got this baby on a very good sale with Newegg.  You should go and check them out yourself. Read over the spec.  Here's a picture of the one I got It comes with it's own heat sink...  

20211201_053819.jpg

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On 01/12/2021 at 06:20, Dan~ said:

It’s 2280, but x2 according to Dell, but that doesn’t matter really, just what max read speed for x2 is

what pcie generation is it?

 

if it's gen 3, that's 8GT/s or almost 1GB/s per lane=> 2GB/s for x2.

 

gen 4 is 16GT/s or 2GB/s per lane=> 4GB/s for x2

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On 04/12/2021 at 10:40, hellowalkman said:

what pcie generation is it?

 

if it's gen 3, that's 8GT/s or almost 1GB/s per lane=> 2GB/s for x2.

 

gen 4 is 16GT/s or 2GB/s per lane=> 4GB/s for x2

I believe it’s gen 3, as quite old now 2017 ish.

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On 30/11/2021 at 16:55, Mindovermaster said:

I thought SATA M.2's aren't compatible with NVME. It has a different pin layout.

 

What are you talking about lanes? Do you mean PCI-e lanes? They're back compatible.

 

I am using this in my Mini-PC: https://www.newegg.com/western-digital-1tb-black-sn750-se-nvme/p/N82E16820250191?Item=N82E16820250191

m.2 SATA drives actually do work in NVMe slots, I just swapped the drive in my Asus laptop a couple weeks back for a full NVMe drive and the drive in it was a m.2 SATA to my surprise

 

----

 

I'm with others in this thread when I say I swear by Samsung SSDs, their 960 Evo's are great drives for a fair price.

Outside of that WD Blue drives are good as they ever were, even in the NVMe space too

 

 

edit: the 2x vs 4x debate shouldn't be an issue, at worst you'll just get some throttling on your drive as you suspect, but at those speeds it'll hardly be noticeable anyway.

If in doubt you can always use Crucial's website to confirm size/speed compatibility (Y) 

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Unless I missed it, we still don't know what type laptop you have, if you don't know maybe you can tell us the model number of the current M.2 SATA drive you have from the device manager?

 

Things to consider:

 

If you search for M.2 SSDs you will quickly see that there are different keys available. The term key may be somewhat confusing, but refers to the connection that the M.2 has. An M.2 SSD with M key doesn't fit in a motherboard with only B key and vice versa. The key is also relevant to the speed: SSDs with an M key can handle a higher speed than versions with a B key. So check carefully which version your motherboard supports.

 

6b15c3c7a57b64fe8793a69ab638f0a7.jpg

 

There are more differences too: https://www.coolblue.nl/en/advice/what-should-i-keep-in-mind-m2-ssd.html

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On 06/12/2021 at 12:58, Brandon H said:

m.2 SATA drives actually do work in NVMe slots, I just swapped the drive in my Asus laptop a couple weeks back for a full NVMe drive and the drive in it was a m.2 SATA to my surprise

 

----

 

I'm with others in this thread when I say I swear by Samsung SSDs, their 960 Evo's are great drives for a fair price.

Outside of that WD Blue drives are good as they ever were, even in the NVMe space too

 

 

edit: the 2x vs 4x debate shouldn't be an issue, at worst you'll just get some throttling on your drive as you suspect, but at those speeds it'll hardly be noticeable anyway.

If in doubt you can always use Crucial's website to confirm size/speed compatibility (Y) 

Yeah, but they have different pin-outs. They might fit, but it's not using all the same pins.

 

image.thumb.png.b6de570f9f076440e0858564b100323b.png

 

Edit: Dam you, Steven, ninja'ng me.. :laugh: 

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On 06/12/2021 at 13:10, Mindovermaster said:

Yeah, but they have different pin-outs. They might fit, but it's not using all the same pins.

 

image.thumb.png.b6de570f9f076440e0858564b100323b.png

correct, the extra pins aren't used which is probably why they aren't capable of quite as good of speeds. They're definitely capable of being read by NVMe slots on mobo though.

 

the pins in the top drive in that picture matches what I took out of my laptop, of which I replaced with a true NVMe drive (went from a 256gb drive to 500gb drive in the laptop)

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Hello,
 

The M.2 slots on system boards can usually handle a variety of different bus protocols.  NVMe, SATA, and USB are the most common, but there are also I2C, SDIO, UART and other protocols as well.   What is supported depends upon things like the computer's chipset and how the slots are keyed (notched). 

 

The M.2 connections used for SSDs typically provide support both NVMe and SATA, although there are instances where only one protocol is supported due to limitations such as available PCIe lanes.  When an M.2 connector supports NVMe, typically four (4) PCIe lanes are assigned to the connection, although two (2) PCIe lanes are sometimes used, such as in your unknown model of Dell laptop.

 

Laptops with M.2 connections typically use PCIe 3.0 throughout, although laptops with a mixture of PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0 connectors have started to appear in the market in the past year.  A single lane of PCIe 3.0 ("PCIe 3.0 ×1") transfers data at 8.0 Gbit/s (aka 1.0 GB/s), however, that's the theoretical speed and does not account for the protocol's overhead, so the actual speed is 7.88 Gbit/s (aka 985 MB/s).  PCIe 4.0 doubles the speed, so a single lane of that is 15.76 Gbit/s (aka 1,970 MB/s).

 

So, the maximum speed for a PCIe 3.0 ×2 connection is 1,970MB/s, and the maximum speed for a PCIE 3.0 ×4 connection is 3,940MB/s.  PCIe 4.0 doubles these, so the maximum speed for a PCIe 4.0 ×2 connection is 3,940MB/s, and for a PCIe 4.0 ×4 connection it is 7,880 MB/s. 

 

Regardless of the PCIe speed, on an M.2 connection, SATA speeds remain at SATA Rev 3.0 speeds (3.0 Gbit/s, aka 600MB/s), so even a "slow" PCIe 3.0 ×2 NVMe SSD is going to be around three times the speed of SATA.

 

If your unknown model of Dell laptop  has an M.2 slot which supports both standards, I would suggest going with an NVMe SSD drive.  Now, the NVMe SSD drive may generate more waste heat and consume more electricity than a SATA SSD, however, the real-world difference is going to be so small that it is not noticeable.  I did want to mention that, though, in case the laptop is regularly used in hot environments or is only getting an hour or less of use on a fully-charged battery.

 

I would also suggest going with a 4-lane model, instead of a 2-lane model, even though that is only what your current unknown model of Dell laptop supports.  The reason for this is that you may someday wish to use the NVMe SSD drive in a laptop with a 4-lane PCIe connection to its M.2 slot(s), and it will operate far below the potential speed of the interface.  Also, the difference in cost between 2-lane and 4-lane NVMe drives is minimal.

One more consideration for an M.2 SSD is whether the circuit board that makes up the drive has chips on one side or both sides.  More chips means greater storage capacity.  A singled-sided M.2 SSD drive is about 2.3mm high, while a double-sided M.2 drive is a little thicker at 3.3 mm high.  The M.2 connectors that get soldered on to motherboards come in two heights as a result. 

 

On desktops, and most older laptops, the M.2 connectors are the taller kind, and double-sided M.2 SSD drives can be installed.  Over the past couple of years, many laptop manufacturers have switched to the lower-profile connectors in order to shave some height off of their laptops, and can only hold single-sided SSD drives. 

For currently manufactured drives, single-sided drives tend to top out at 2TB, with larger capacity M.2 SSDs (4TB, 8TB, etc.) being double-sided.  Since you are looking for a 1TB SSD, this should be a non-issue.

A final consideration is what sort of DRAM (memory chips) the NVMe SSD drive uses.  When they originally came out, NVMe SSDs usually used SLC (single layer cell) chips, which store one bit per cell of memory.  These allow for very fast accesses, but expensive and do not allow for higher densities of RAM.  Today, it is mostly used in M.2 22110 and U.2 NVMe SSDs for the enterprise.  TLC (triple layer cell) stores three bits of information per cell of memory, although there is more overhead for accessing it (in particular, writing), and the technology had reliability and longevity issues at the beginning.  QLC (quad layer cell) stores four bits of information per cell of memory, but has slower accesses and the reliability and longevity are not as good as TLC or SLC.

As for which brand to get, I have had good results with Crucial, Intel, Kioxia (formerly Toshiba), Samsung, SK Hynix and Western Digital NVMe SSDs.  SK Hynix is in the process of acquiring Intel's SSD business.  Dell probably re-brands one (or more) of these manufacturers as well, so you could consider getting one of their NVMe SSD drives for your unknown model of Dell laptop.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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