Technology

PCIe SSD: Pros and Cons of this Type of Storage Units

The M.2 SSD storage format has become a very popular solution among video game fans. These units offer us great performance, but at the same time they present some problems. We will look at the strengths and weaknesses of M.2 PCIe SSDs. Or we should go to recover them if they made any issues from the ssd data recovery experts.

What is an SSD

They are a type of storage units based on persistent memory chips, thus eliminating moving parts. SSDs offer us more efficiency, better performance and greater durability than conventional HDD storage units. Although SSDs offer less capacity than HDDs, there are more technical advantages that solid-state storage drives offer.

SSD drives came in 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factor with SATA interface. These drives have evolved and are now based on the M.2 format and the PCIe interface in its different versions. But its popularity has grown as its capacity has increased and prices have dropped considerably over time.

What is a PCIe SSD

We can find two types of SSD units that make use of the PCIe interface. We have on the one hand the M.2 SSDs with a PCIe interface and on the other hand the card-type PCIe SSDs. Although both share the same type of communication bus with the processor, their format and installation is different. M.2 PCIe SSDs are mounted on the motherboard using a dedicated connector. On the other hand, card-type PCIe SSDs are installed in the expansion PCIe ports and are anchored to the chassis.

Let’s take a look at these formats and their main characteristics:

M.2 Format

It is a standardized format for storage drives, wireless network cards, and other items. Actually the M.2 format is known for its use for solid state storage drives. The M.2 port can make use of the PCIe interface, greatly increasing the performance of the storage units. Additionally, M.2-format storage drives occupy up to four times less physical space than 2.5-inch SSD drives.

M.2 format also has the characteristic of not requiring power and data transfer cables. Power and data transfer is done through the M.2 connector on the motherboard itself. At the same time, they reduce the number of cables that we will have in the system, thus facilitating the management of the rest of the wiring.

We must be careful, because not all M.2 format SSDs make use of the PCIe interface. Some drives are based on the SATA 6Gbps standard, which can be seen by the connector design. There are also no unique dimensions, although they are standardized.

M.2 Format Dimensions

The M.2 format is standardized, but there are different sizes within this format. On the one hand we have standard widths and on the other hand we have standard lengths. These are:

Note: The most common width of the M.2 format, especially in M.2 SSD units, is 22 mm, which is the width of the motherboard. The M.2 format supports a width of 12 mm, 16 mm, 22 mm, and 30 mm.

Standard length: Additionally, the M.2 format establishes the lengths of 16 mm, 26 mm, 30 mm, 38 mm, 42 mm, 60 mm, 80 mm and 110 mm. For M.2 SSD storage drives, the sizes supported by gaming motherboards are typically 60 mm, 80 mm, and 110 mm.

M.2 format units will always specify the width and length of the unit. It is usually identified as: type 2280; 2280 formats. The first two figures indicate the width of the unit and the rest of the figures indicate the length.

Pro and Cons of M.2 PCIe SSDs

Let’s see now what are the strengths and main weaknesses of PCIe SSDs, focusing on the M.2 format. We are going to focus on these units, since they are the most purchased by video game fans.

Pros of M.2 PCIe SSDs

  • Performance: They offer 6-12 times faster read and write speeds than an SSD and 25-65 times faster read and write speeds than an HDD. The speed difference in these cases depends on whether we use an SSD with a PCIe 3.0 interface and a PCIe 4.0 interface.
  • Offer: Currently we can find many solutions in the market, with a wide variety of capacities and prices.
  • Mounting: One interesting aspect of M.2 PCIe SSDs is that they eliminate the need for additional cables. The assembly is on the motherboard itself, which makes the assembly much faster and cleaner.
  • Time: By offering higher speeds than other types of storage units, software and game load times are reduced.
  • Format: One of its strengths is precisely being a very compact format, something that can help reduce the thickness of laptops.

Against M.2 PCIe SSDs

  • Price: SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 interface are extremely expensive for the performance improvement they offer over the PCIe 3.0 interface. We are talking about double the price for the same capacity to get double the read and write speeds. Technically speaking, it would be more interesting to install two SSDs with a PCIe 3.0 interface in RAID 0, getting more or less the same performance for the same or even less money.
  • Temperature: Regardless of the type of PCIe interface, M.2 format SSDs has the big problem of temperature. These units get very hot and due to this rise in temperature, they are protected by reducing the performance in order to control the temperature. To correct this problem a passive heatsink is required, something that most motherboards already offer. Although we run into the problem of the drive label, which is usually on top of the memories and the controller, making it difficult to transfer heat from the M.2 SSD to the heatsink.

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