What is M.2 NVMe?

NVMe SSDs were introduced in 2011 as the latest and fastest edition to drive technology, offering incredibly fast data transfer rates and higher storage efficiency. In this article we will explain what M.2 NVMe is to help you make an informed decision on your next storage drive.  

What is M.2? 

M.2 is the latest form factor for SSDs. In other words, it describes the size, shape and other physical aspects of the storage drive. M.2 drives are becoming increasingly popular due to their reduced size and the fact that they offer cableless connection for a tidier, more organised and more efficient component layout.  

M.2 SSDs are available as both SATA and NVMe to be compatible with every motherboard. NVMe SSDs and SATA SSDs look very similar, however, their connectors are in slightly different places in order to plug into the different ports required, a dedicated M.2 socket or PCIe adapter for NVMe and the SATA port for SATA SSDs.  

The majority of the latest laptops and PCs come with an M.2 socket as standard, making upgrades and component level repairs quick and easy. Some servers, on the other hand, may not have a compatible M.2 socket, however, PCIe adapters with M.2 sockets are available to expand the storage capabilities of most servers where necessary. This makes M.2 a versatile form factor that can be applied to most electronic devices requiring storage on the market.  

Are M.2 SSDs faster than SATA or SAS? 

M.2 SSDs can feature a SATA or NVMe interface for data transfer; however, it is this interface, rather than the form factor of the component, that affects the speed and performance of the drive. In other words, a M.2 SATA SSD is no faster than a 2.5” SATA drive even though one is cabled and one is not; they still use the same interface and so reach the same speeds and data transfer rate.  

M.2, therefore, is simply a newer shape and size of SSD that can sit flush with the motherboard rather than sticking out, making it an efficient option for space on your device. SATA M.2 SSDs offer a maximum data transfer rate of 6GBps whilst NVMe M.2 SSD deliver a data transfer rate of up to 984 MBps.  

What is M.2 NVMe? 

Whilst M.2 is a form factor and therefore refers to the physical appearance, shape and size of the drive, NVMe describes the interface of the SSD or, how the storage drive transfers data. We have previously covered what NVMe is and how it functions in a previous article.

NVMe and M.2 are more often than not used in conjunction - NVMe M.2 SSDs are very commonly found and used in devices globally.  

NVMe SSD Form Factors 

NVMe SSDS can come in a range of form factors, including M.2. Other form factors include PCIe (making use of the PCIe port on your motherboard), U.2 and U.3. Whilst PCIe and M.2 can be used for both AHCI and NVMe drives, U.2 and U.3 exclusively use the NVMe protocol.  

Techbuyer’s Refurbished NVMe M.2 SSDs 

Techbuyer is a global supplier of sustainable IT solutions and a specialist in refurbished technology. We offer a range of high-quality refurbished and new-in-box NVMe M.2 SSDs. Each component offered by Techbuyer comes with an industry-leading warranty, as well as access to expert knowledge and advice through our experienced team. Get in touch to find out exactly what we can do for you, or browse our range of quality storage drives here.