Question What types of SSD can I use with MSI Z97M-G43 Micro-ATX Motherboard

Apr 25, 2019
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My first question here, so hope it's not too stoopid!

I want to extend my boot drive to 500GB or 1TB as currently almost full using a really old Crucial M4-CT256M4SSD2

Spec for my mobo is here https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/support/Z97M-G43 and I'd rather not upgrade it unless I have to.

But I am confused about which M.2 SSD it will support. Can I buy NVMe or do I have to stick with SATA? Any other factors?

Second question … how upgrade from existing SSD without reinstalling Windows/applications? Many years ago I moved onto the existing SSD with some kind of cloning tool, as far as I remember... any tips??

Thanks all for any advice!
 
Apr 25, 2019
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Here's some detail from the mobo manual:
Storage
Intel Z97/ H97 Express Chipset
-- 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports (SATA1~6)
-- 1x M.2 port*
-- M.2 port supports M.2 SATA 6Gb/s module
-- M.2 port supports M.2 PCIe module up to 10Gb/s speed**
-- M.2 port supports 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length module
-- Supports RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10***
-- Supports Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start
Technology and Intel Smart Connect Technology****
* The SATA5 and SATA6 ports will be unavailable when installing a module in the M.2 port.
** Intel RST only supports PCIe M.2 SSD with UEFI ROM, does not support Legacy ROM.
*** M.2 PCIe interface does not support RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.
**** Supports Intel Core processors on Windows 7 and Windows 8/ 8.1
 

AllanGH

Commendable
Mar 10, 2019
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The specs do not explicitly state that you can boot from NVMe from that M.2 slot, so you won't gain any advantage by going with an M.2 SSD, since you'll only realize SATA3 speeds at the M.2.

...and losing 2 SATA ports to support an M.2 SSD just sux.

Realistically, you can use pretty much any SATA3 SSD to replace a mechanical hard drive, though I tend to stick with Samsung, since they seem to be the best performers, and I have confidence in their reliability.

As far as cloning goes, I don't do software cloning at all (unless I have drives that will make using dd easy), and far prefer hardware cloning with something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N1KXE9K

I have never cloned a mechanical drive to an SSD, and had the SSD refuse to boot.

[EDIT]
Of course, assume that cloning goes from a SATA drive having a capacity of x to a SATA drive having a capacity of x or greater.
 
Last edited:

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
A Z97 level board might not boot from an NVMe drive in that M.2 port, or it might, with a current BIOS update.
You'll have to investigate this.

Cloning?
It works, usually.

Going from an SATA SSD to an NVMe drive has other, non fatal, issues:


-----------------------------
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)
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
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
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.
-----------------------------
 
Apr 25, 2019
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Thanks for this both - very useful.

I am now purchasing Samsung 860 QVO SATA III 2.5 inch 1TB. I would like to try a software clone to avoid further expense. I will probably try Macrium as the old SSD is Crucial not Samsung.

Can I ask what needs to be done to the new SSD before beginning your instruction sequence? Obviously connect to SATA port, but does it then need formatting and creation of partition?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Thanks for this both - very useful.

I am now purchasing Samsung 860 QVO SATA III 2.5 inch 1TB. I would like to try a software clone to avoid further expense. I will probably try Macrium as the old SSD is Crucial not Samsung.

Can I ask what needs to be done to the new SSD before beginning your instruction sequence? Obviously connect to SATA port, but does it then need formatting and creation of partition?
Just plug it in.
 

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