Are M.2 Drives Worth It?

by Paul | Last Updated: July 14, 2021

The Importance of using this Form factor. Application or software have no use in our hands if they are not installed into a device, they need a platform to provide the user with some value. Internal hard drives also cannot just be placed on the motherboard, they need to interact with something i.e., an interface or form factor and m.2 drive is in this category.

Are m.2 drives worth it?

Yes, M.2 Drives are worth it. M.2 drives are used by solid-state drives, they are very fast and provide an overall better experience. They also come in different sizes and they can be single-sided or double-sided, the size determines how many cards you want to install. The current maximum capacity of the m.2 drive is 2TB.

What is the m.2?

It is different from the 2.5-inch SSDs as it is faster and more extensive. The 2.5-inch SSD use SATA, which is famous for HDDs. Now, it is possible for an m.2 SSD to use SATA, PCIe and have NVMe support, this is common with new laptop models. It is also possible to have just two out of those features i.e., excluding NVMe support.

What does this all mean? What value does NVMe add? Well, it can improve the bandwidth of the drive-by up to five times more and this improvement will be evident in all activities. Let’s talk about size, there are five popular sizes for the m.2 all measured in millimetres. The longer it is, there will be more space for NAND chips.

Reasons Why the M.2 Drive is Worth it?

Performance

There are various activities carried out on a system and for these activities to run smoothly, there must be ample space and above all the storage type must be efficient. SSDs offer a better performance than HDDs because they use flash memory, a feature made possible by the NAND technology.

M.2 drive is good for improving your PC’s performance without a doubt, but the change will only be significant if you have a task that requires it. These drives cost money so purchasing them should be for a specific purpose. If you are currently using the 2.5-inch SSD and all you use your PC for is documents and emails, an upgrade to m.2 drive is not necessary as you cannot see the value it brings.

However, if you play heavy duty games, you edit 4k videos or you are a designer (Adobe Illustrator etc.), this upgrade is for you as you will experience the smooth use of your apps and all these will be done without consuming so much power that it will generate so much heat which damages the drive in the long run.

There is also the issue of battery, the higher the power, the more battery it drains. Does this mean that gaming with an SSD storage does not really drain your battery? No, but it will last longer than if you were using it with HDD. Please note that for the m.2 SSD to be compatible with your PC, your motherboard must have m.2 slots.

Security

The design of the m.2 drive makes it a better choice for the preservation of data because shocks, magnetic fields and other common issues do not easily affect it so there is a chance of your data being secured. This makes it durable and reliable.

More on the M.2

It was formerly known as the Next Generation Form Factor, it is a perfect fit for people who build their PC from scratch, it is also good for people who want to upgrade their systems. Asides storage, m.2 can integrate with WI-FI Bluetooth, NFC and WWAN.

Unlike SATA, when you are connecting the m.2 to the motherboard, there is no need for cables, you just plug it into the compatible m.2 slot. Remember we mentioned the single and double sided m.2 drives? Well the single sided can be found in computer systems that are looking to minimise size or weight like the Ultrabook i.e., ultra-thin laptops.

In comparison to SATA, m.2 takes up less space, writes and reads at a faster speed, and is more flexibles as you have options. As exciting as this sounds, the m.2 drives are more suitable for PCs models that are new, trying to insert a m.2 drive into your old system is not a good idea.

Is the m.2 drive for you?

Considering this hardware is not cheap, you must be sure if you should get it.

Compatibility

Your PC must be compatible with the drive, it must have one or two plugs for m.2, there should be a physical interface. Your operating system should have the Advanced Host Controller Interface drivers as it is needed for the installation of your m.2 card.

PC Use

What do you use your PC for? If you currently use your PC for simple tasks, then an upgrade is unnecessary. Also, if you play games and you currently use M.2 SATA SSD, it is not necessary to upgrade to NVMe except you play a lot of heavy games. The same is applicable for design and any task.

Drawbacks of the M.2 SSD?

Lifespan

Although the minimum lifespan of an SSD is 5 years, these might not be feasible if it is used for data transfer often. The technology used to design the m.2 drives requires the erasure of data before a new one is written; it is referred to as the P/E cycle. The number of cycles are finite and once it has been exhausted it has to be replaced. Constant use means it might reach its speculated lifespan.

Cost

The SSD is more expensive than the HDD, some people do not see the need to upgrade as they believe they both serve the same purpose. For those who understand the difference, not all are willing to purchase at the given price tag.

Capacity

SSDs that are commercially available do not have the same size capacity as HDD. Where you have 16TB in the market easily, the highest SSD in the market that is easily accessible is 2TB.

M.2 drives are worth it because they improve compatible PCs, but they might now be worth it for you. Go through this article, see what we have pointed out and decided.