What SSD Form Factor Do I Want?
drasnor Starship OperatorHawthorne, CA Icrontian
edited June 2016 in Science & Tech
My SSD is full.
My computer only has SATA3 and no M.2 slots. I'd like to be able to use any new SSD I buy with my hypothetical future new computer and not feel like I really should've bought a different hard drive.
1. Are M.2 NGFF-to-2.5" drive adapters a worthwhile technology or do they neuter drive performance to worse than a dedicated SATA3 2.5" SSD?
2. What physical M.2 form factor (card length) is the one the industry is going to adopt as standard?
3. Am I even approaching this problem correctly? Should I just delete a bunch of stuff and wait until I want to buy a new PC (years) or buy a 2.5" SATA3 drive and be done with it?
I don't know anything about M2 slots, but another possibility is buying a cheap small SSD (maybe even a used one) to shuffle some things onto, and then getting something fancier later on. Looks like another 128GB would make a big difference.
If you haven't already moved your Documents/Pictures/Videos/Downloads/OneDrive to your spinning disks, you can do that to free up space.
I could probably move some programs over to my spinning drive (/home) instead of spending money on a small SSD.
They're all on /home.
True dat. I just remember a couple years ago when I only had a 60GB SSD and spinning disks, I used the SSD for Steam. So if you got a second small SSD, it could be used for any programs you want to keep good load times on. If you have programs that are big but infrequently used, those are good spinner candidates.
Edit: I've realized I'm explaining obvious things above, but my real reason in suggesting a cheap small drive was that it might be a useful stalling tactic depending on what you hear about M2 SSDs from others.
My cursory investigation has revealed that the M.2 to 2.5" adapters only work with SSDs that support SATA (B-keyed M.2 drives). The nice, future-proof drives are all M-keyed which means there's not a whole lot of point in going for that form factor at present.
I think m.2 in a temporary PCIe adapter is probably the most forward-looking SSD solution you can use while serving your current needs. When you have m.2, dump the AIC.
Though u.2 may win out for desktop client devices.
//edit: all the m.2 devices you can buy for desktop are M key.
I forgot to mention earlier that my computer is ITX and doesn't have available PCIe expansion card slots.
You are pretty much stuck with SATA. The M.2 drives that are NVME will not run in those adapters, as you discovered because of the protocol difference.
80mm seems to be the most common of M.2.
The m.2 form factors just seem to be a waste of money right now. While the promise of kick-butt speeds seems alluring, in practice it just seems to be an empty promise of wasted potential. Plus, they're really expensive for a top-notch one right now. Also, you're limited by the size of SSD available. Expect to pay around 0.75-0.80 cents per gig. SATA SSD's, on the other hand, are closer to 0.50 cents per gig. Note - this is all US pricing. I have been eyeing the Samsung 950 pro m.2 disk 512GiB version, but > $300 USD is a pretty hard pill to swallow, especially when the 850 Pro SATA 1 terrabyte one costs maybe $50 USD more (around $400 or so). I dunno, double the capacity for 20% more cost? Sounds like "no brainer" to me.
There is nothing wrong with sticking with a SATA SSD. I have had amazing success with Crucial MX drives, fast, includes a licence for some really decent ghosting software and the thing drive reviews never really get into... Micron product is reliable. Your drive can fly but if the controller or firmware is buggy you have nothing.
The interface difference may show up for longer operations like installing something like photoshop or a game which will be seconds here and there but your day to day workload should not feel sluggish on any decent performing SATA SSD. I would not sweat the adapter.