[SOLVED] SSD PCIe x4 compatabile or not with my motherboard?

Apr 26, 2019
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The question is 2-fold:
First, I would like to understand what PCIe x4 actually means and also what type of PCIe is it? like 2.0 or 3.0? I couldn't find a straight answer.

Secondly, the question specific to me is that I got this AsRock Z97 Pro 3 motherboard: http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z97 Pro3/index.asp

I don't quite understand which of the PCIe slots are which and to which one of them I can connect an SSD with PCIe x4 (either NVME or M.2), all I know is that I don't have a specific slot for the M.2 or NVMe. Now in case I'd like to connect a really fast SSD with say 1500+ MB/s - will it work to that speed on my motherboard? Which PCIe would I need to connect it to & also which slot would that be, I have no idea to differentiate between them except that one is for my GPU and that's about it. Thanks for any sort of support guys, black friday already started here and I just got the fever xD.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
x4 relates to the size of the PCI slot, and how many lanes are dedicated to it. A x4 slot will be 1/4 the length of a x16 slot. a x1 slot will be even shorter. None of that has anything to do with what PCI version the slot or device is.

Further, none of that has anything to do with M.2 drives, unless you are using an M.2 to PCI slot adapter, because they install in their own M.2 slot on the motherboard which is often specific to being either SATA, PCI or both, and the PCI part only has to do with the fact that the device uses the PCI bus for data transfer, not that it uses any PCI slots.

Your board, has no M.2 slots at all. Not for SATA nor for PCI type M.2 devices. NVME is a PCI M.2 device.

You MIGHT be able to use an M.2 PCI NVME storage device with that board using an adapter, then installed in one of the PCIe slots on your motherboard, but it is unlikely given the fact that it does not natively support M.2 drives, that you would be able to boot from that device so it would likely need to be a secondary storage device, not for the operating system to be installed on.

Basically, unless you upgrade to a board WITH M.2 onboard, you are better off simply using a standard SATA III drive, and to be honest for most operations the difference in performance is negligible. Only in transfers of large files, and ONLY if you are transferring to another storage device that is just as fast as the one you are transferring from, does the very fast speeds of NVME come into play. For random operations, which is most of what you do on a computer, a regular SATA drive is AS good. Unless you are going to upgrade your whole platform to something newer, it is probably not worth your time to worry about trying to use a PCI drive with your current board.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
x4 relates to the size of the PCI slot, and how many lanes are dedicated to it. A x4 slot will be 1/4 the length of a x16 slot. a x1 slot will be even shorter. None of that has anything to do with what PCI version the slot or device is.

Further, none of that has anything to do with M.2 drives, unless you are using an M.2 to PCI slot adapter, because they install in their own M.2 slot on the motherboard which is often specific to being either SATA, PCI or both, and the PCI part only has to do with the fact that the device uses the PCI bus for data transfer, not that it uses any PCI slots.

Your board, has no M.2 slots at all. Not for SATA nor for PCI type M.2 devices. NVME is a PCI M.2 device.

You MIGHT be able to use an M.2 PCI NVME storage device with that board using an adapter, then installed in one of the PCIe slots on your motherboard, but it is unlikely given the fact that it does not natively support M.2 drives, that you would be able to boot from that device so it would likely need to be a secondary storage device, not for the operating system to be installed on.

Basically, unless you upgrade to a board WITH M.2 onboard, you are better off simply using a standard SATA III drive, and to be honest for most operations the difference in performance is negligible. Only in transfers of large files, and ONLY if you are transferring to another storage device that is just as fast as the one you are transferring from, does the very fast speeds of NVME come into play. For random operations, which is most of what you do on a computer, a regular SATA drive is AS good. Unless you are going to upgrade your whole platform to something newer, it is probably not worth your time to worry about trying to use a PCI drive with your current board.
 

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