M.2: Explained

Up till now, known as NGFF or Next Generation Form Factor, it is a specification of internally mounted computer expansion cards and associated connectors. It was designed to replace the age old mSATA standard.

M.2 Transfer Protocol

M.2 brings a multitude of improvements over mSATA, some of them are in the speed department and the others are in the usability department. What makes M.2 special is the ability to use PCI Express 3.0 lanes to transfer faster. Gone are the days when mainstream SSDs were bottle-necked by the SATA protocol.

In the usability department, at first look, it is not such an improvement. It really shines when you start thinking about portable devices like notebooks or Ultrabooks as it bring variable height and width. This is a valuable feature, as it will be able to tailor to the usage-scenario needs.

What is really important about this standard is that it opens a lot of new ways we can look to storage devices. From now on, we will see speeds of 1.2GB/s, which are way over the double of any SATA-powered drive. All of these in completely smaller package that can be hidden away under your graphics card or wherever the slot is located.

In conclusion, M.2 is a new standard in the storage department that will bring faster speeds and better usability. Above all of this, what is really important is that it opens new ways to look into the storage department. Hopefully it will breathe at least a little bit of life into this department as it was kind of dead in the recent past. When I say dead, I don`t mean it wasn`t working. What I say is that there was not a significant innovation since 2009, which considering now it is 2015, it`s quite a while.

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