Question Looking for advice on M.2 Drives vs. SSD

Dec 4, 2021
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Guys,

I'm recently retired and am building a new machine. Basing it on the Intel 690 chipset and an i9-12900K processor. The motherboard supports 4X PCIe M.2 (M key) modules and I'm struggling with understanding how best to utilize these types of drives. My use-cases are pretty basic as I primarily play FPS games, mostly campaigns vs on-line, and I use personal finance and Office 365 software. Pretty basic stuff. If I'm understanding M.2 correctly, I would want to have the OS, and any other frequently used software, on one or more of these drives. Do I even need to add 2.5" SATA SSD's or could I just install 4-1TB NVME modules? Maybe the answer is a single NVME, for the OS, and a couple 1TB SSD's to store/run games, O365, etc... I like the idea of the exponential speed increase but, I'm not sure I really need it other than taking advantage of the 690 chipset.

Budget is not really an issue for me however, I'm finding myself in "information overload", on how best to utilize the M.2 format. Depending on the author, every article seems to have a different opinion. My build specs are as follows, and yes I realize it's overkill but, why not?:

i9-12900K Processor
MSI Z690 Motherboard
128GB DDR5
RTX 3090 Graphics Card
850W Power Supply
M.2 Drives-to be determined, prefer Samsung in the past
SSD-1TB external drive for backing up files and pictures of the grandchildren, memes, etc...

Thanks for any real-world advice you guys might be able to provide!!!
 

Lafong

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Dec 2, 2021
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My preference:

NVME boot drive, for OS and applications ONLY; perhaps 250 or 500 or whatever you need. NO DATA; as fast a drive as you can afford

DATA drive: for all data. M.2 NVME if you can afford it; SATA if you can't. Doesn't need to be blazing fast. 2.5 inch rather than M.2 is fine. Whichever. Whatever size you need, with room for expansion.

Backup: a replica of the data drive, backing all data up perhaps daily. Ideally SSD; not used a lot so SATA is OK. NVME if you don't mind the spend. Probably larger than the data drive.

Be sure to find out if ANY of your M.2 ports will disable one or more SATA ports if used. That is common. Not a problem assuming you would still have plenty of SATA ports to use.
 
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Dec 4, 2021
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Great recommendations USAFRet. Thanks.

Lafong, Motherboard manual states it supports 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports ▪ SATA5~8 (From Z690 Chipset) ▪ SATAA~B (From ASMedia ASM1061), do there's plenty room for whatever I want to do. From what you stated, it doesn't sound as though there's any real advantage to M.2 for what I would call base-line storage (games, etc...) unless I just want to spend the money for it. Makes perfect sense.

I really appreciate the help here guys. Thanks.
 

Lafong

Prominent
Dec 2, 2021
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Looks good....I'd probably try to use the Z690 chipset SATA ports rather than the Asmedia if possible.

Contemplate heatsinks on the M.2 drives. I haven't found them necessary, but some folks are temp-obsessed. Maybe for the OS drive only? Your motherboard may a have built in heatsink or two.....I'm unclear how well those work. There is thermal tape also.

What CPU cooler? The 12900K may require a dual tower??
 
Dec 4, 2021
4
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Not overly temp obsessed as I won't be pushing any limits on this config. Haven't made a decision on the cooler yet however, I tend to lean toward Arctic or Cooler Master simply because I've used both, in the past. I really appreciate your help with this!!
 
Guys,

I'm recently retired and am building a new machine. Basing it on the Intel 690 chipset and an i9-12900K processor. The motherboard supports 4X PCIe M.2 (M key) modules and I'm struggling with understanding how best to utilize these types of drives. My use-cases are pretty basic as I primarily play FPS games, mostly campaigns vs on-line, and I use personal finance and Office 365 software. Pretty basic stuff. If I'm understanding M.2 correctly, I would want to have the OS, and any other frequently used software, on one or more of these drives. Do I even need to add 2.5" SATA SSD's or could I just install 4-1TB NVME modules? Maybe the answer is a single NVME, for the OS, and a couple 1TB SSD's to store/run games, O365, etc... I like the idea of the exponential speed increase but, I'm not sure I really need it other than taking advantage of the 690 chipset.

Budget is not really an issue for me however, I'm finding myself in "information overload", on how best to utilize the M.2 format. Depending on the author, every article seems to have a different opinion. My build specs are as follows, and yes I realize it's overkill but, why not?:

i9-12900K Processor
MSI Z690 Motherboard
128GB DDR5
RTX 3090 Graphics Card
850W Power Supply
M.2 Drives-to be determined, prefer Samsung in the past
SSD-1TB external drive for backing up files and pictures of the grandchildren, memes, etc...

Thanks for any real-world advice you guys might be able to provide!!!
Folks have their opinion about the proper storage setup.
One disk/2 disk/4 disk...etc.
Just to keep things simple one disk for the OS and apps.
One disk for storage.

Size?
For the OS and apps 500GB.
Might be overkill but better to have extra space than to run short.

Storage?
Only you know how much stuff you want to store.....your call.

Nvme vs sata?
Unless your wheeling around big chunks of data won't matter.
Nice thing about m.2 vs 2.5 is less cable clutter.
 
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Lafong

Prominent
Dec 2, 2021
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Not overly temp obsessed as I won't be pushing any limits on this config. Haven't made a decision on the cooler yet however, I tend to lean toward Arctic or Cooler Master simply because I've used both, in the past. I really appreciate your help with this!!
I haven't deeply examined the 12900k, but a preliminary look says it might require more than an ordinary cooler if you ask it to break a sweat.

So maybe look at an above average single tower moderately sized third party cooler. Maybe Noctua U12S or U14S. Maybe something from be Quiet? Under 100 bucks somewhere. Not gargantuan.

May as well plan your case fans too. Some people are more averse to fan noise than others. I'd guess 2 or 3 fans would be plenty. 120 mm or larger.
 
Dec 4, 2021
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Guys,

Wanted to circle back and thank you all again for your help. Landed on a 500GB M.2 for O/S and apps and a 1TB M.2 for games, etc... A single SATA 1TB for backup , pictures, etc... Also, went with a Corsair 7000D Air Flow tower and MSI CoreLiquid CPU cooler. Case has 3-140MM fans so, I'm comfortable with the ability of this thing to move air efficiently.

Starting the build after the kids/grandkids leave following Christmas. Thanks again guys. Learned a lot on this build. Pretty much expecting the lights to dim when I light thing up. :)
 
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