If you’ve been keeping an eye on the rapidly changing world of storage mediums you might have heard whisper of PCIe M.2 drives. For the uninitiated these are basically SSD storage drives that plug straight into the PCI express ports on your motherboard, rather than the traditional SATA 6Gbps which most of use.
The first few of these aforementioned PCIe M.2 drives have already hit the market, from the likes of Samsung and Plextor. On the standard Samsung 840 EVO SATA SSD available right now, you can expect Read and Write speeds of 540MB/s and 520MB/s respectively. This seems fairly impressive on the surface, but these new M.2 drives are already capable of 1,170MB/s Read speeds and 930MB/s Write speeds, blowing away the hottest SSDs on the market.
In previous years you might have seen M.2 crop up under the name Next Generation Form Factor, or NGFF. It came along and replaced the mSATA standard in mobile devices and notebooks, primarally because it's thinner at just 22mm, but also stretch up to 110mm in length, similar in size to a stick of RAM.
In terms of size they’re unparalleled, but it comes at the cost of some of your PCIe lanes. On many older motherboards this can result in slower speeds, but on the newer X99 chipsets you can expect blazing fast performance.
Extremely low power consumption coupled with a high degree of reliability make these an enticing prospect for system builders who want to push the boat out. For many this makes them an ideal prospect for laptop builds, but it seems that there is a demand out there from desktop users. There’s no denying that these are going to offer some incredible loading speeds, but your wallet isn’t going to be too thankful.
As it stands M.2 drives are faster than anything else out there, but this comes at a significant cost. A 128GB XP941 Samsung M.2 SSD currently sets you back around £190, £35 more than the Samsung 840 Evo 500GB with double the storage space.
Do you think the M.2 drives are a worthwhile expenditure? Or do traditional SSDs provide more than enough speed for your needs? Let us know what you think!