Question What's the fastest set up I can get on an ASUS Z170-E MoBo?

May 29, 2019
My company is letting me get a new SSD, I only really need more space, but I think the MoBo would allow me some sort of PCIe SSD set up for a similar price. I'd like to make extra sure it will work before I get them to spend the money on it though.

This is the mobo:
  • 1 x SATA Express port, compatible with 2 x SATA III 6 Gb/s ports
  • 1 x M.2 x4 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIe mode)
  • 6 x SATA III 6 Gb/s port(s), gray
  • Supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Supports Intel Smart Response Technology
I'm not that familiar with PCIe SSDs, but from what I've seen so far, I can get an M.2 drive like this:

And an adapter to fit it the PCIe port, like this:

Would I need the adaptor though, or could I get the full speed using the mobo M.2 port?

Anything I'm missing that could increase speed? I'm sure there are faster drives, but I don't want it to be much more expensive than a Sata SSD.

Once installed, would I be able to boot from a linux USB stick and be able to clone the existing Sata SSD to the new drive so I can keep my existing windows installation?



M.2 x4 implies that you have the full PCIe 3.0 interface on the board. An M.2 NVMe drive plugged right in would be plenty fast.

Yes, you can clone it.

Not to mention that the difference between an M.2 NVMe SSD and a SATA SSD for general purpose isn't huge. The NVMe drive just has more sustained throughput on sequential tasks.
Reactions: jrish82


Boot times will be noticeably faster, but we are talking the difference between 15 seconds and 10 seconds, not some minutes like when switching from a hard drive.

Updating will be faster, yes, but that is a very temporary thing. Nothing wrong with getting an NVMe drive, just not a huge benefit to most people. Not unless you have some other external fast storage you need to transfer files to, or some media job that involves large files.

Evo 860 is a popular choice for both SATA and M.2 SATA.


"boot time" is the last thing you should refer to for justifying an NVMe drive.
As said above...10 seconds vs 15 seconds. Or, if you don't have Fast Boot on...25 seconds vs 30 seconds. That added 15 seconds is for the BIOS to do its thing, and the drive has nothing to do with that.
In that case, yes, the drive is 30% faster. But the drive speed is only one factor in 'boot time'.

IF the system has a dedicated M.2 port,
and IF that port can deliver the full performance of the NVMe
and IF the M.2 drive is not substantially more expensive per GB than a SATA III drive....

Then go for it.