What Is an M.2 SSD?
Solid state drives, or SSDs, have changed the way that designers and engineers think about embedded storage drives. While hard disk drives, or HDDs, once ruled, SSDs have since become the gold standard thanks to their ability to provide greater reliability, speed, and data security. However, standard SSDs are often too large for many of today’s small devices. The need for smaller SSDs led to the creation of the M.2 SSD. M.2 SSDs are smaller than even the popular mSATA SSD format, and they are increasingly in demand as applications grow smaller and smaller. Since being introduced in 2013, M.2 has become a popular choice for designers who need a small drive, but don’t want to sacrifice power and performance.
Officially, M.2 is called the Next Generation Form Factor, or NGFF, but most people simply refer to it as M.2 (pronounced m-dot-two). M.2 drives are rectangular drives that come in multiple lengths and capacities. Generally, the longer the drive, the more capacity it has, since longer drives can fit more flash chips on them for storage.
When you shop for M.2 drives, you will see them identified by a four-digit number. The first two digits refer to the width of the card in millimeters, while the second two refer to the length of the card in millimeters. M.2s work with the SATA 3 interface. They are usually found in small, thin devices, such as ultrabooks and tablet computers.
Comparing M.2 and mSATA SSDs
Most designers who are considering M.2 SSDs are also considering mSATA drives. The right choice depends on several different factors. M.2 drives support SATA 3, PCIe 3.0, and USB 3.0 interfaces. This means that they can be faster than mSATA drives, which can only work with SATA interfaces. When used with a PCIe interface, M.2 drives can also use the NVMe protocol, which reduces latency. However, mSATA is a better fit for some devices, and it is still the dominant choice for replacing drives in older applications that are unlikely to have the appropriate connectors for M.2 drives.
If you’re looking for a small drive that delivers big power and reliability, Delkin is here to help. Contact us today for more information about our selection of embedded storage solutions.