How To Check M.2 Slot On The Laptop?


Many users confuse M.2 with SATA and NVMe and think of it as a protocol. But in reality, M.2 drive is a physical form factor, unlike SATA and NVMe, which are protocols. An M.2 slot in a laptop enables the installation of M.2 solid-state drives that can store and transfer data more efficiently than hard drives. M.2 SSDs are thin and compact, so they find great use in laptops and notebooks. Before checking M.2 slots on the laptop, we will first detail what an M.2 is.   

What Is An M.2 Slot?

The M.2 format replaced the mSATA standard and was initially known as Next Generation Form Factor. M.2 has replaced mSATA hard drives and SSDs in smaller laptops like that Apple’s. They are fixed in the bodies of the laptops and cannot be upgraded.

Though M.2 is actually a form factor, it is more than just that. It has replaced the SATA format, and the M.2 slot can interface with PCI Express 3.0, SATA 3.0, and USB 3.0. This makes it possible to mount any storage drive, GPU, or other low-power gadgets on a card plugged into the M.2 slot.

M.2 devices can use the PCI bus in place of the SATA bus to get a transfer speed that is 50% to 650% higher than standard SATA, depending on the M.2 card and the motherboard. If an M.2 SSD is mounted on a motherboard that supports PCI generation 3, it can offer greater speed than a regular SATA drive.

How Does An M.2 SSD Work?

M.2 modules can work with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, wireless wide area networks etc. But you might have mostly heard about M.2 form factors associated with solid-state drives. There is an M.2 connector slot in the motherboard into which the M.2 drives can be plugged in. This eliminates the need for a cable to make the connection.

Generally, an M.2 SSD is used with PCIe and SATA protocols. PCIe is a serial expansion bus standard that links a computer to other peripheral devices. SATA is a standard that connects and transfers data from hard drives to the computer.

M.2 SSDs can also work with PCIe-based NVMe drives, improving the data transfer speed between SSDs and client systems over a PCIe bus. The presence of NVMe makes possible enhanced parallel processing for read/write requests. The specially designed NVMe offers up to five times more bandwidth than SATA M.2 SSDs and makes file transfers quick and easy. 

A typical M.2 SSD is 22 millimeters wide, but its length can vary. The card size comes with a four or five-digit number. The first two digits represent the width, and the last two digits represent the length. For example, a card size of 2260 says that its width is 22mm and length is 60mm. M.2 SSDs that are longer have more NAND chips to offer extra capacity.

The other card sizes available are 2230, 2242, 2280, and 22110. Desktops and laptops can accommodate M.2 SSDs that are 22mm wide.  

Checking M.2 Slot

If you have a fairly recent laptop, the chances are that it has an M.2 slot. Remember that you cannot just plug in a card and use it easily. There are two compatibility variables with M.2 cards: length and key. The first one says that the laptop must have enough physical space to house the length of the card you wish to use. The second one is about how the card is keyed, meaning the card connector must match the slot it is plugged into.

To find the M.2 slot on your laptop, check for your model on the manufacturer’s website, where the specifications are given. You will get repair/maintenance manuals that describe the options for upgrades or replacements.

M.2 is a form factor, and once you find out if your laptop has a slot, you can further understand whether it is SATA III or NVMe. SATA III hard drive bus is used by SATA III M.2 cards for communication and may be slower than NVMe cards or capable slots. But the good thing is that any SSD will run faster than a hard drive. NVMe M.2 cards use the PCIe bus, and they can run quicker than a SATA III M.2 card. But this works only with an NVMe capable slot.

How do I install an M2 SSD in my laptop?

How to install an M.2 SSD in your laptop | NVMe SSD install guide

Advantages of M.2 SSDs

  • Performance: An M.2 SSD that runs on NVMe protocol can perform operations like read and write at much faster rates when compared to SAS and SATA SSDs.
  • Size and capacity: When you install an M.2 SSD in your laptop, you will notice that it occupies less space and uses less power than an SSD that runs on SATA or SAS. But if you need to store a large amount of data like an organization, it will be wise to use other form factors.
  • Flexible interface: If you own a laptop with an M.2 slot, you have many configurations to choose from for peripheral devices. Additionally, M.2 supports SATA, PCIe, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB 3.0.

Disadvantages of M.2 SSDs

  • Limited capacity: Mobile applications mostly require 1TB or 2TB which can be offered by M.2 SSDs. But it may not be appropriate for larger systems that need huge storage.
  • Cost: M.2 SSDs are priced higher when compared to a SATA SSD. Especially when the Prices of 2.5-inch SATA SSDs came down, users have started switching to those.
  • Evolving technology: M.2 SSDs are recent additions, and the technology is still evolving. It will take time to develop the technology so as to produce cheaper M.2 SSDs. 

Q&A

How do I know if my laptop has an M2 slot?

Go to the manufacturer’s website and search for the user manual of your machine. If it has an M2 slot, it will be described there.

How do I know if I have an M2 slot?

If you look at your M2 interface on your Motherboard and you see a single notch ONLY for the M Key, then it will support both NVME and SATA M2 drives. Otherwise, If you see a notch for BOTH the M + B Key then it is a SATA SSD storage Only slot.

How do I know if my laptop supports M2 SSD?

How to find out if your laptop can take an SSD

How do I check my SSD slots?

How Do I Know How Many SSD Slots my Laptop Has?

  1. Step One: Check the User Manual. The first place to check is in the user manual that came with your laptop.
  2. Step Two: Check Online Specs.
  3. Step Three: Contact the Manufacturer.
  4. Step Four: Watch a YouTube Video.
  5. Step Five: Check with an Expert.
  6. Step Six: Check Other Options.

Where is the M2 slot on my motherboard?

Every manufacturer places the M2 connection in a slightly different area, so look carefully in the middle and lower right section of the motherboard. If you don’t see a connection like this, it means your motherboard does not support the M. 2 form-factor, and you should stick with 2.5-inch SSDs.

What is the M2 slot in the laptop?

M. 2 is a form factor for SSDs (solid-state drives) that’s shaped like a stick of gum. These SSDs are generally faster but more expensive than traditional, 2.5-inch SSDs. Thin gaming laptops are increasingly using M. 2 SSDs because they take up less room than 2.5-inch SSDs or hard drives.

Are all M2 slots the same?

While the M. 2 standard uses the same 22 millimeter-wide slot for all cards, it’s not necessarily the exact same slot. Since M. 2 is designed to be used with so many different kinds of devices, it has some frustratingly similar-looking ports.

How can I tell if my Lenovo laptop has an M2 slot?

I found out about the slots on your laptop by looking up the Lenovo parts lookup page, entering your machine code, and checking the image of the built-in motherboard to find out that you do not have an M. 2 slot.

How do I know if my M2 is SATA or NVMe?

2 drive is SATA or NVMe is by looking at where the drive connects to the motherboard. For SATA M. 2 SSDs, there are two divots in the strip of connectors at the card’s base. For NVMe SSDs, there is only one divot on the side where the drive is plugged into the motherboard.

What is the M2 slot on the motherboard?

An M. 2 SSD is a small form factor solid-state drive (SSD) that is used in internally mounted storage expansion cards. M. 2 SSDs conform to a computer industry specification and are designed to enable high-performance storage in thin, power-constrained devices, such as ultrabook laptops and tablet computers.

Can NVMe be used in the M2 slot?

Both physically and electrically, any M. 2 PCIe NVMe SSD will not be compatible with your M. 2 SATA port. Basically, different protocols and interfaces are used in both these connections.

Is there an SSD slot on my laptop?

Yes, almost all of them have (except for those which have flash storage or SSD soldered in motherboard). You might be wondering how? Because you can install SSD in the 2.5″ SATA slot where the hard disk is installed.

How do I know if my motherboard supports M2 SSD?

The easiest way to know if your motherboard supports NVMe SSD or not is to check the motherboard’s manufacturer’s specsheet. What is this? You must check the storage or hard drive section of the specsheet to figure out what kind of drives it supports.

What is NVMe M2?

NVMe is the interface, and M. 2 is the latest form factor for SSDs. Combine the two, and you have a lightning-fast drive with almost no visible footprint, and it is super-easy to install.

How do I know if my laptop has a PCI Express slot?

System Profiler

Download and install CPU-Z. Once installed, open it and head to the ‘Mainboard’ tab. Under the “Graphic Interface” tab, you’ll see what type of PCIe connection you have, along with its link width. Look for ‘x16’ in ‘Link Width’ and ‘PCI-Express 3.0’ under ‘Version’.

Does the HP laptop have an SSD slot?

HP offered an M. 2 SATA SSD as an option but only on models with no more than 8 gigs of RAM and yours has 16. To make it even more difficult, on this model the M. 2 slot (not to mention the memory slots) is on the backside of the motherboard so if you wanted to install an M

Do all motherboards have an M2 slot?

Most modern motherboards support not only one, but sometimes 2 or even 3 M. 2 Slots on them. Lack of M. 2 Slots is a problem that you might run into if your motherboard is fairly old or if it is a bit on the budget side.

How do you mount an M2?

Installation Tutorial with Samsung 960 Pro M2 SSD Drive

Do all M2 slots support SATA?

2 slots are the most common options. However, not all M. 2 slots support NVMe (some only support SATA, some only NVMe, and some either), so even if you have an M. 2 slot you’ll need to double-check that yours will allow for an NVMe drive.

Is M2 a SATA?

SATA M. 2 SSDs use the SATA interface with a maximum data transfer rate of 6Gbps which is slow compared to newer interfaces (more on that below). SATA-based SSDs are the lowest grade of SSDs in terms of performance and use the same interface as hard drives.

Are NVMe and M2 the same?

And though these remain the most common form factors and connection options, M. 2 and NVMe drives are becoming more popular in modern PC builds. Now, to be clear, M. 2 and NVMe aren’t interchangeable terms, but they are closely linked.

Do you need M2 SSD for gaming?

If you’re building a fairly compact PC, or have SATA port limitations or something similar, then m. 2 is a good way to add storage, otherwise, 2.5 SSDs will do the job just fine for gaming. They generally make the game load faster but do not necessarily produce more frames.

Can I use M2 and SATA SSD together?

But if your motherboard supports the drives, you can use both M. 2 and SATA SSD together. The advantage of using SATA SSD for storage is that it allows you to store a significant amount of data. Besides, you can replace it with a bigger SSD at any time.

Can I use any M2 slot?

If you’re using an M. 2 NVMe SSD, you’ll want to use a matching NVMe-compatible M. 2 slot before anything else. This will allow your NVMe SSD to perform at its fullest (within the limits of your motherboard- a 4.0 SSD will be limited on a 3.0 motherboard, for instance).

Does the NVMe slot support SATA?

An NVMe only slot will never work with a SATA-based drive. A SATA-only slot will never work with an NVMe drive. Some m. 2 slots are ambidextrous and can take either.

Are SSD SATA?

There are two main types of SATA-enabled hard drives: hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD). Overall, SATA HDDs and SSDs are the same in function. But they use drastically different technology to store data.

What is M and B key?

A ‘B’ keying (pins 12-19) gives PCI Express SSDs up to 2x lanes of bandwidth, while a ‘M’ keying (pins 59-66) provides PCI Express SSDs with up to 4x lanes of bandwidth.

Is M2 faster than PCIe?

Are M. 2 PCIe SSDs faster than M. 2 SATA? The PCIe interface is faster, as the SATA 3.0 spec is limited to ~600MB/s maximum speed, while PCIe Gen 2 x2 lanes is capable of up to 1000MB/s, Gen 2 x4 lanes is capable of up to 2000MB/s, and Gen 3 x4 lanes of up to 4000MB/s.

When did M2 slots come out?

M. 2 is a specification for internal expansion cards on PC mainboards and notebook computers. M. 2 was conceived as a successor of the mSATA interface and for the first time introduced by Intel in 2012 under the label Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF).

Can M2 SATA work on the PCIe slot?

According to Wikipedia M keyed means “PCIe ×4, SATA and SMBus”. So an M-keyed M. 2 port can do both PCIe/NVMe and SATA.

Is M2 NVMe faster than SSD?

NVMe drives can usually deliver a sustained read-write speed of 3.5 GB/s in contrast with SATA SSDs that limit at 600 MB/s. Since NVMe SSDs can reach higher speeds than SATA SSDs such as M. 2 drives, it makes them ideal for gaming or high-resolution video editing.

Which M2 SSD is best for laptops?

List Of The Best M. 2 SSD

  • Sabrent Rocket Q 1TB NVMe PCIe M.
  • Crucial P2 2TB 3D NAND NVMe PCIe M.
  • SK Hynix Gold P31 PCIe NVMe Gen3 M.
  • Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.
  • XPG SX8200 Pro 256GB 3D NAND NVMe Gen3x4 PCIe M.
  • WD Black 500GB SN750 NVMe Internal Gaming SSD.
  • Inland Platinum 2TB SSD NVMe PCIe Gen 3.0×4 M.

Which laptops have NVMe slots?

Acer

Laptop seriesM.2 slots
Acer Predator 17 X (GX-791)1x 2280 NVMe (M) + 1x 2280 NVMe (B) + 1x 22110 NVMe (B)
Acer Predator 17 X (GX-792)1x 2280 PCIe NVMe (M key) + 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe (B key) + 1x 22110 PCIe NVMe (B key)
Acer Predator 21 X (GX21-71)4x 2280 PCIe NVMe (M key)

Are all M2 SSD compatible?

The M. 2 form factor is a much smaller SSD that’s about the size of a stick of gum and designed to deliver the near-instant performance of an SSD in space-constrained tablets and ultrabooks. However, it’s not compatible with every system. In addition, there are two interfaces available in the M.

How do I know what PCI slot I have?

This slot can be identified by its three segments, with the shortest segment found in the center. LaCie makes several expansion cards that use this connector. The difference between the normal 32 bit PCI slot and PCI X is the medium-length slot on the left side. Only PCI-X has this final segment.

When did PCI Express 4.0 come out?

PCI-SIG announced the development of PCIe 4.0 in 2011 and officially released PCIe 4.0, Version 1.0, in 2017.

How do I test a PCI Express slot?

What you do is:

  1. Take the card that you know for sure works from the suspected faulty PCIe slot.
  2. Insert it into another PCIe slot.
  3. If the problem persists, then the issue lies with the card.
  4. If the problem resolves and the card is operating fine, then the issue lies with the PCIe slot.

How do I know if my HP laptop has SSD?

In the Device Manager window, double-click the Disk drives entry to expand the list of drives. This displays the model and manufacturer of the SSD. Right-click the SSD and select Properties.

Does HP Envy x360 have an extra SSD slot?

The HP Envy x360 laptop (15m-ed1023dx) does not have an extra slot to expand the internal storage. The internal SSD and ram are upgradable.

Does HP laptop 15 da0xxx have an SSD slot?

Yes, your notebook has an M.2 slot that supports both SATA and NVMe SSD”s.

As the form factor of M.2 SSDs is different from the mSATA SSD, these are not compatible with older computers. Newer models of laptops and notebooks come with M.2 slots, much to the relief of users. In fact, it is better suited to mobile devices hence making it not very apt for enterprise storage systems.  

Andy Avery

I really enjoy helping people with their tech problems to make life easier, ​and that’s what I’ve been doing professionally for the past decade.

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