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What Are the Benefits of M.2 SSD Storage?

Tech companies are always researching into the latest innovations when it comes to data storage. On the average consumer market, you might think that the pace is relatively leisurely. You wouldn’t be wrong. You can still buy things on disc and pick up hard disk drives. If storage is reliable, it sticks around.

Solid state drives (SSD) are no longer the latest innovation. They make for the perfect hard disk drive (HDD) replacement because they’re more reliable, owing to having no moving parts, and far quicker. If you ever switched from an HDD to an SSD, the difference in the time it takes to load up Windows is instantly noticeable. It’s impossible to go back to HDD once you’ve experienced SSD.

For a long time, SSD was unaffordable to the general consumer. Although the benefits might have been known, the amount of storage capacity you could get for your buck in an SSD compared to an HDD wasn’t comparable. If you had lots of data, HDD was the way to go.

Things have changed now. SSD prices have dropped in price as more companies manufacturer them and the economies of scale have come into play. Though it’s still cheaper to pick up an HDD, you’d be unwise to do so if you’re building a new system.

SSD technology hasn’t sat still, though. You might have heard about the M.2 form factor SSD. This changes an SSD from palm-sized to the size of a USB stick. So, what are the benefits of M.2 SSD storage?

Perhaps most importantly, M.2 SSDs are quicker. Some of them are designed for the PCIe connector, which has more possibilities than the standard SATA connector. You can pick up a M.2 SSD that is up to 15 times quicker than a hard drive. Some M.2 SSDs can also use the NVME protocol, which offers lower latency. All of this means that Windows will boot faster and your files will load quicker.

The M.2 form factor isn’t a new thing. In fact, it has been used in laptops for years. This is because they weigh around 7 grams, compared to an SSD’s usual 50 grams, and are slimmer in build – all factors which make them perfect for portable devices. Despite this, we never got the benefit because they were still using the old SATA connector. That can change now.

M.2 SSDs are just as reliable as their predecessor and we’re only going to see more companies launching their own. All the big manufacturers, including Samsung and Western Digital, already offer their range.

Currently, M.2 does have downsides. Firstly, not every motherboard is going to be compatible. Newer and fancier motherboards will, but if your machine is older then chances are it won’t. If it does, though, you’ll appreciate the fact that M.2 slots right into the motherboard and requires no additional cables.

Secondly, you’re going to be paying around four times more per gigabyte for a M.2 over a traditional SSD. It’s similar to the situation when SSDs first hit the market. At the moment, it’s only targeted at enthusiasts who think the steep price is worthwhile. For the average consumer, however, they will need to wait a few years before the prices stabilise, after which they can they benefit from the power of M.2.


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