[SOLVED] Confused about M.2 PCIe

Umeed

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Hi there,

I have a GA-Z97X-UD3H (gigabyte rev 1.0) mother board. And I'm looking to finally add an NVMe ssd. However I'm really confused because trying to figure out what I need I came across a site (https://www.velocitymicro.com/blog/nvme-vs-m-2-vs-sata-whats-the-difference/ ) that says NVMe can come in two form factors, M.2 or PCIe...but my motherboard specs says

1 x M.2 PCIe connector
(Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe SSD support)

So I'm kind of confused if that's two form factors listed or there's some sort M.2 PCIe combined form factor?

I understand the SSD I need to get should be "M key" and not the B Key and I'll be able to tell based on how the connectors look...I'm just so confused about these NMVe stuff.


My intent is to get an NVMe SSD and clone my current SSD to it so I have my windows and drivers and all that, and then use my current SSD as an extra drive instead.

my current build (back from 2014)
ga-z97x-ud3h rev 1.0
4790k
Crucial MX series ssd (sata iii) 500gb (main)
750GB WD blue
1TB WD green (the most annoying hdd ever)
1TB Seagate Barracuda
gtx 1080ti (bought in 2018)
16gb ddr3

All help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Umeed
 

USAFRet

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For a Z97 board, don't bother with an M.2 NVMe drive unless you find one really cheap. And even then, not for the OS drive.

For a LOT of use cases, you won't see any real user facing benefit vs a SATA III drive.
Even if the NVMe were running at theoretical full speed. Which it can't in your board.

I have an Intel 660p in a PCIe adapter. That drive is, in theory, 3x the "speed" of a SATA III SSD.
In my typical use case with Adobe Lightroom...I see zero difference over a good quality SATA III SSD.
I did a test of writing out 5 large photo files with multiple edits.
Writing to the 1TB Intel 660p and a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO (SATA III)

Took the exact same 15 seconds for each drive.
 

Umeed

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M.2 is a form factor, PCIe and SATA are specific types of interfaces. Some M.2 slots support both types of drives such as your motherboard, while other only support SATA or PCIe Speed drives.
thank you! lol that article had me so confused the way it was written. Okay sweet I can look for a good m.2 now. Thanks again
 
thank you! lol that article had me so confused the way it was written. Okay sweet I can look for a good m.2 now. Thanks again
I should also point out that the SATA ports 4 and 5 will be disabled when you have a M.2 drive installed. This is common so if you have a SATA drive cabled installed in one of those ports youll need to move it.

And yeah any M.2 drive should work, steer clear of the few PCIe4 speed drives since they cost significantly more and you don't have PCIe4 on your mobo.
 
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Not so fast.
Older motherboards did support m.2 pcie drives for data, but not for booting.
Check that out. Possibly you might need a bios update.

Then, also, realize that pcie drives are more expensive.
They look wonderful in sequential benchmarks, some 4x faster than sata.
But windows does very little sequential work so you will hardly notice.
Random I/O will be largely unaffected.
You may find that you can make a good trade off and buy a larger sata m.2 drive and give up a bit on sequential processing.
 
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Umeed

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oh wow this is great information. thank you, I had no idea booting wouldn't be standard with older motherboards - I'll look into that for this motherboard.

So the main reason I want to make this switch for NVMe is because I'm told it's much faster and I wanted to move my current SSD to a back up position since the green drive is really slow and looks like its starting to fail. Also need a larger main drive, 500 isn't enough anymore lol.

The main things I'll be doing
4k gaming
Handling large excel files (I believe this is still based on ram)
Music production and 3D work with Blender and Unreal Engine (just a hobby for both).
So if you think I won't really get the benefits of an NVMe (booting aside) then I should stick to sata m.2 which I think I those available on this motherboard.
 
oh wow this is great information. thank you, I had no idea booting wouldn't be standard with older motherboards - I'll look into that for this motherboard.

So the main reason I want to make this switch for NVMe is because I'm told it's much faster and I wanted to move my current SSD to a back up position since the green drive is really slow and looks like its starting to fail. Also need a larger main drive, 500 isn't enough anymore lol.

The main things I'll be doing


So if you think I won't really get the benefits of an NVMe (booting aside) then I should stick to sata m.2 which I think I those available on this motherboard.
Unless you have need of the much faster loading of an M.2 NVMe drive, you won't gain any benefit moving from SATA SSDs. Most online games don't even take advantage of the faster drives since you usually have to wait after loading in multiplayer games anyway.
 
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USAFRet

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For a Z97 board, don't bother with an M.2 NVMe drive unless you find one really cheap. And even then, not for the OS drive.

For a LOT of use cases, you won't see any real user facing benefit vs a SATA III drive.
Even if the NVMe were running at theoretical full speed. Which it can't in your board.

I have an Intel 660p in a PCIe adapter. That drive is, in theory, 3x the "speed" of a SATA III SSD.
In my typical use case with Adobe Lightroom...I see zero difference over a good quality SATA III SSD.
I did a test of writing out 5 large photo files with multiple edits.
Writing to the 1TB Intel 660p and a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO (SATA III)

Took the exact same 15 seconds for each drive.
 

Umeed

Distinguished
Apr 16, 2013
164
1
18,715
5
For a Z97 board, don't bother with an M.2 NVMe drive unless you find one really cheap. And even then, not for the OS drive.

For a LOT of use cases, you won't see any real user facing benefit vs a SATA III drive.
Even if the NVMe were running at theoretical full speed. Which it can't in your board.

I have an Intel 660p in a PCIe adapter. That drive is, in theory, 3x the "speed" of a SATA III SSD.
In my typical use case with Adobe Lightroom...I see zero difference over a good quality SATA III SSD.
I did a test of writing out 5 large photo files with multiple edits.
Writing to the 1TB Intel 660p and a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO (SATA III)

Took the exact same 15 seconds for each drive.
I saw a linus tech video just before I saw your post, and he says the same thing. This is great, thanks USAFRet.
I'll stick to a sata SSD.

Also I just realized I posted this in memory instead of storage, my bad everyone.
 

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