Question SSD Options for Gigabyte GA-Z97X Gaming 3

Jun 26, 2021
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Hello! I am very new to doing this, and today I opened my pc for the first time to look at how things would work.

I'd like to replace my very slow HDD with an SSD!

I've heard about nvme m.2 SSD's, and I did see an m2 slot in my motherboard (Gigabyte GA-Z97X Gaming 3) however, I did some googling and it appears that nvme isn't supported? If so, what is the m2 slot for?

Can somebody tell me my options?

  1. Is it only SATA SSD that can fit, or
  2. Can I still use the NVME M2 ssd, just that the speed is throttled?
  3. Or do I need some adapter for the NVME M2 SSD? - if i use an adapter, can I get the full ssd speed of the nvme? What are some adpators I can use?
I find that an nvme m2 ssd would be more convenient, since I do not need extra connectors and would simply add it to my mboard, but i think there are some problems with setting it as the main drive.

Can somebody suggest the best way to do this? I do not have much experience.
 

USAFRet

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The M.2 port can utilize either a SATA M.2 drive OR an NVMe M.2 drive. However, the NVMe would be throttled to just about SATA III speed anyway.
So no real benefit vs a SATA III SSD.

And, a board of that vintage may not be able to boot from an NVMe drive in that port.
The Z97 boards were released a little before NVMe drives were a thing. Support is very very spotty.

A SATA III drive is a massive improvement over your existing HDD.
NVMe vs SATA III SSD...not so much difference.

Don't worry about the NVMe thing.

Just get a good quality SATA III SSD, 2.5" format. Samsung 860 EVO or Crucial MX500, for instance.
You'll be amazed at the difference.
 
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Jun 26, 2021
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Thank you for the quick response!

I guess I'll go for a SATA SSD instead. I am sure it'll be way faster than what I currently have. I'm just a little confused with how I should hook it up:

  • Do I do it via the m2 slot, or
  • Connect the SATA SSD with a connector? - i did some googling, and someone said I could unplug my cd rom's power and sata connector to use it for my sata ssd (as i do not have additional connectors).
Here are the steps I think I should do:
  1. Decide on the SSD model to purchase
  2. Install it in my motherboard
  3. Turn on my pc, and use a cloning software to clone my hdd to my ssd
  4. Change my bios and set my primary disk to the ssd
^ I havent really researched on how to do the cloning and changing the bios, but I believe that's the steps I need to take!
 

USAFRet

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This is a desktop?

All you should need is another SATA data cable. A dollar or two.
Power for it will come from the PSU, just like your existing HDD.

What size is your current HDD?
How much space is consumed on it?
What OS?
Does the current OS work to your liking? If there are any issues, a clone operation just moves those issues to a faster drive.
 
Jun 26, 2021
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This is a desktop?

All you should need is another SATA data cable. A dollar or two.
Power for it will come from the PSU, just like your existing HDD.

What size is your current HDD?
How much space is consumed on it?
What OS?
Does the current OS work to your liking? If there are any issues, a clone operation just moves those issues to a faster drive.
  • Yep, this is a desktop.
  • My HDD is 794GB free of 930GB, with 8gb of ram
  • It is on Windows 10
  • It actually boots up really fast, < 30 seconds - however, I find that it is not very responsive for example, after signing in, and clicking to launch google chrome, it would take about 40-50seconds for google chrome to start launching. As a mac user, I am not really used to such slow response time - and i think that is why i stopped touching my desktop for a while, but i really want to make use of it again for my normal web browsing etc. and some light gaming. (i remember playing GTA V, but it was super laggy)
  • I am hoping I can play some simple steam games without it taking super long to load or being laggy.
Power for it will come from the PSU, just like your existing HDD.
But I dont think I see any extra cables from the power unit that I can use to connect to a SSD.

Once again thanks for entertaining my very trivial and lengthy questions!
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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-----------------------------
Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
-----------------------------
Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
If you are cloning from a SATA drive to PCIe/NVMe, install the relevant driver for this new NVMe/PCIe drive.
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive

If you are going from a smaller drive to a larger, by default, the target partition size will be the same as the Source. You probably don't want that
You can manipulate the size of the partitions on the target (larger)drive
Click on "Cloned Partition Properties", and you can specifiy the resulting partition size, to even include the whole thing

Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD This is not optional.
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
 
Jun 26, 2021
13
0
10
0
-----------------------------
Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
-----------------------------
Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
If you are cloning from a SATA drive to PCIe/NVMe, install the relevant driver for this new NVMe/PCIe drive.
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive

If you are going from a smaller drive to a larger, by default, the target partition size will be the same as the Source. You probably don't want that
You can manipulate the size of the partitions on the target (larger)drive
Click on "Cloned Partition Properties", and you can specifiy the resulting partition size, to even include the whole thing

Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD This is not optional.
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
Thank you! Last question for now, I have an old dell XPS 13 (2013) laying around in my drawer. If I open it up, can I extract the ram, or even the ssd and add them as additional space and memory for my desktop?
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Thank you! Last question for now, I have an old dell XPS 13 (2013) laying around in my drawer. If I open it up, can I extract the ram, or even the ssd and add them as additional space and memory for my desktop?
RAM, no. Laptop RAM is not the same as desktop RAM. Physically different size.

SSD? Probably, depending on exactly what it is.
 
Jun 26, 2021
13
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RAM, no. Laptop RAM is not the same as desktop RAM. Physically different size.

SSD? Probably, depending on exactly what it is.
Oops, I did a Google and apparently it uses an mSATA which is kinda obselete. It was i7 though, but I don't think I can simply swap the processor over right? (My desktop is i5)

Anyway, thank you for patiently answering my questions! That's all for now I guess ,:) can't wait to try things out! This might be a simple tweak/upgrade but it'll be my first and I'm super excited!
 
Jun 26, 2021
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USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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"Is this where the SATA cable is connected?"
The SATA data, yes.

Look carefully at all the SATA power cables from the PSU to the current drive and DVD>
There may be another connection on one of those.

Where to mount the drive...
What specific case is this?
There may be a dedicated 2.5" mount point.
 

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