M.2, the future SATA replacement

Currently the main method of accessing SSD drives are through the SATA Express connectors. Due to recent development of speed for premium SSD drives, the maximum speed possible have been reached, about 6Gb/s. So what did the industry invent to be the next generation of data access devices? The M.2 specification, using a combination of PCI Express lanes and one SATA port.

The first place to look for a M.2 enabled motherboard are the H97 and Z97 chipsets (what’s the difference !?) from Intel, no check on AMD (sorry); if you need M.2 performance, you likely also need the latest Intel CPU:s…

If you plan to expand with more SSD enabled devices or PCI Express card, there is a caveat; as  M.2 uses these two other ”older” connectors for it’s own use, you need to be sure that ”enough is left” on the motherboard…

Next year, 2015, the DDR4 memory will have made a big impact and the DDR3 will starting to become the minor player relative DDR4. But already the DDR3 specification allows such an abundance of memory (often 32Gb on many budget motherboards!), and is also quite affordable in large quantities. And the DDR4 will cost a premium the first year(s), so will the M.2 devices.

My tip ? In 2014/2015: Invest in a solid DDR3/SSD Sata Express combination with a newer mid level CPU of the latest generation. The performance difference vs DDR4/M.2 will likely be almost indiscernible, so why ruin your economy to make a subtle performance improvement?

Just make sure that the motherboard have a M.2 connection and enough expandability for SATA devices and memory. It doesn’t hurt to be able to overclock the CPU slightly if it starting to ”lag” around 2017…

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