Which SSD M.2 is right for me?

M.2 SSD for me

The SSD M.2 format has replaced the usual SSD and has become particularly popular in laptops because of its size. However, its purchase has become a real headache for ordinary users. It should be noted that this difficulty is not in the installation — everything is just simple there (and we will talk about it later). The problem is in the selection and purchase of SSD M.2 of the necessary type. Suffice it to say that there are two types of M.2: SATA and PCIe. And these SSDs are often incompatible with each other.

To make your life a little easier, I have been making up a large compatibility table for laptops and motherboards for several years, which shows in a clear way which SSD is right for you. Find your model, and then see what model you need to buy.

A bit of theory

The M.2 format was conceived as a change of some old interfaces (mSata, mini PCI Express) and even was called NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor) at one time. Its main task is to solve the speed problem. So the previous SATA-3 «rests” on the hardware limit of 6 Gbit/s, and M.2 PCIe can speed up to 32 Gbit/s (5 times faster!). But the devil is in the details.

What’s the problem: M.2 was created as a universal standard. This means that M.2 can also support the old SATA interface, only in the form of a new socket. Do you understand the problem, right? You can have a laptop that has the M.2 socket, however it works under the SATA-3 standard. The purchased SSD M.2 of the PCIe standard doesn’t work in it. Absolutely.

OK, let’s say you have a new M.2 socket that works with PCIe. But even PCIe is divided into several types. Its speed may differ in times depending on how many PCI Express lines are connected to the socket by laptop or motherboard producer. So if you have two lines of PCIe 2.0 format, it is 8 Gbit/s, if 4 PCIe 2.0 — 16 Gbit/s, if 4 PCIe 3.0 — then these are 32 Gbit/s. By the way, AMD Ryzen systems is still more funny — the number of lines depends directly on the processor there. That is, with one processor, you will have a speed of 16 Gbit/s, and with the other — 32 Gbit/s.

An attentive reader will say — but since this is all called M.2 and the standards may be incompatible with each other, then it is probably done somehow so that the SSD of one type can not be connected to the socket of another. The correct answer is: not exactly.

keys for M.2

Keys were invented (the type of socket on the board) to solve the problem. As a rule, a computer with an M.2 socket uses the “B key” for PCIe x2. This does not allow to connect a card with PCIe x4 (“M key”).

But the next problem is that SSD of the M.2 format with the SATA interface also has “B key”, so it can be safely connected to the board, but it will not work. Cool, right [sarcasm]?

How difficult is it, and what to do?

As you can see, it is quite easy to get confused in all this variety. Therefore, we decided to make a small cheat sheet (based on open sources), where you can see by the equipment brand which format is suitable for you. The information is updated as knowledge is accumulated. Important: the project is not commercial. You can support it by donate a possible amount to the creators.

As for SSD models, in most cases the optimal choice is:

  • For SATA-3 2280: Samsung Evo 860 (minimum 250 Gb)
  • For PCIe (NVME) 2280: the classic is Samsung Evo 960 or Evo 970. Important point: some ASUS laptops do not like Samsung SSD. ASUS in general regularly has problems that do not allow to make a loader SSD and put the system on it. Therefore, in the case of ASUS, you should carefully read the forums and choose another model. For example, Kingston KC1000.

Depending on the size, M.2 SATA is divided into three subtypes: 2242, 2260 and 2280 (the most common). The first two numbers are the width, the second two are the length. That is, if you buy SSD with a length of 80 mm, it will not fit into the socket designed for size 2242. Look carefully at the sizes.

If you have a question about a specific device that is not listed, please write in the comments – we will try to fill in the information.

M.2 Compatibility table

Important: the information below is for reference only and is not official! We are not responsible for the fact that the purchased equipment may be incompatible. Please check the information before purchasing it.

Manufacturer / SeriesModelSATA-3 M.2PCIe M.2
ACER22422260228022602280
Aspire E15E5-575G
Aspire E5E5-774G
Acer Aspire F15F5-573G
Acer Aspire R13
Acer Aspire S13E5-575G
Acer Aspire V3V3-372
Acer Aspire V15VN7-591G, VN7-592G
Acer Aspire V15VN7-593G
Acer Aspire V17VN7-791, VN7-792
Acer Aspire V17VN7-793
Acer Aspire VX 15
Acer Aspire А71771G
Acer Swift 5
Acer Swift 7S7-371
Acer TravelMateP658
Acer TravelMateP259 G2
Acer TravelMateX349
Acer Predator Helios 300 G3-571
Acer Predator Helios 300PH317 •
Acer Predator 17G5-793
Acer Predator 21XG9-791
Acer Predator G9G9-592
ChromebookC720
ChromebookC720 Core i3 (C720-3871)
ASUS22422260228022602280
ChromeboxM004U
Aspire A51751G-57H9
ROGG750JH
ROGG750JX
ROGGL552JX
ROGGL552VX
ROGGL552VW
ROGFX502VM
ROGGL752VW
ROGGL753VE
N751JK
X756UA
FX753VD
ZenbookNX500JK-DR018H
ZenbookUX301LA
ZenbookUX301LAA
Zenbook TouchUX31LA
Vivobook 15X542UQ
Vivobook ProN580VD-DM069
Vivobook ProN580VD-DB74T
VivoBook ProN552VX
Dell22422260228022602280
Inspiron 15i7559-2512BLK
Inspiron 15i7559-5012gry
Inspiron 157567
Inspiron 177773
Venue 11 Pro7000
Venue 11 Pro7130
Venue 11 Pro7139
Vostro 155568
XPS13 (9343)
GIGABYTE22422260228022602280
AORUSX7
HP22422260228022602280
Chromebook14
EliteBook820 G1
EliteBook840 G1
EliteBook850 G1
EliteBook850 G2
EliteBook Revolve810 G2
Folio1040 G1
Omen 15
Omen 1717-w109ur
Pavilion 15t-an000 Star Wars Special Edition
ProBook430 G1
ProBook430 G2
ProBook430 G3
ProBook430 G4
ProBook440 G3
ProBook440 G4
ProBook450 G2
ProBook450 G3
ProBook450 G4
ProBook470 G1
ProBook470 G3
ProBook470 G4
ProBook640 G1
ProBook650 G1
SpectreCTO 13t-3000
SpectreX360
ZBook14
ZBook15u G2
Lenovo22422260228022602280
LegionY520
LegionY720
G SeriesG410
G SeriesG510
G SeriesG710
V SeriesV4400u
B SeriesB5400
M SeriesM5400
Flex14
Flex14D
Flex15
Flex15D
IdeaPadL440
IdeaPadL540
IdeaPadU330
IdeaPadU430
IdeaPadU530
IdeaPadU530p
IdeaPadY410p
IdeaPadY510p*
IdeaPadY700
LaVieZ
LaVieZ 360
ThinkPadS431
ThinkPadS440
ThinkPadS531
ThinkPadS540
ThinkPadT431s
ThinkPadT440
ThinkPadT440p
ThinkPadT440s
ThinkPadT450
ThinkPadT450s
ThinkPadT540
ThinkPadT540p
ThinkPadT550
ThinkPadW540
ThinkPadX240
ThinkPadX240
ThinkPadX240s
ThinkPadX250
ThinkPad EdgeE431
ThinkPad EdgeE440
ThinkPad EdgeE531
ThinkPad EdgeE540
ThinkPad Yoga12
ThinkPad Yoga14
ThinkPad Yoga 213
Razer22422260228022602280
Blade14 (2014)
Blade14 (2015)
Samsung22422260228022602280
ATIVBook 9 Plus
Sony22422260228022602280
VAIODuo 13
VAIOPro 13 Series**
VAIOPro 13 (bootable)

Примечания:

* Model IdeaPad Y510p exists in a modification with or without M.2.
** There are VAIO Pro 13 models with both SATA and PCIe on board. You must carefully read the instructions, or see what kind of SSD model is already installed in the laptop

Manufacturer / SeriesModelSATA-3 M.2PCIe M.2
MSI22422260228022602280
GT80S 6QF

 

 

GT80S 6QE
GT80S 6QD
GT72S 6QF
GT72S 6QE
GT72S 6QD
GT72 6QE
GT72 6QD
GS72 6QE
GS72 6QD
GS72 6QC
GS70 6QE
GS60 6QE
GS70 6QD
GS60 6QD
GS70 6QC
GS60 6QC
GS40 6QE
GE72 6QE
GE62 6QE
GE72 6QD
GE62 6QD
GE62 6QC
GE72 6QC
GE72 6QL
GE62 6QL
GE72 6QF
GE62 6QF
GP72 6QF
GP62 6QF
GP72 6QE
GP62 6QE
GL72 6QF
GL62 6QF
GL72 6QE
GL62 6QE
GL72 6QD
GL62 6QD
GL72 6QC
GL62 6QC
GT80 2QE
GT80 2QD
GT80 2QC
GT72 2QE
GT72 2QD
GS60 2QE
GS60 2QD
GS60 2QC
GE72 2QF
GE62 2QF
GE72 2QE
GE62 2QE
GE72 2QD
GE62 2QD
GE72 2QC
GE62 2QC
GE72 2QL
GE62 2QL
GP72 2QE
GP62 2QE
GP72 2QD
GP62 2QD
GT72 2PE
GT72 2PC
GS60 2PE
GS60 2PC
GS60 2PL
GS60 2PM
GS30 2M
Vortex G65 6QF
Vortex G65 6QD
PX60 6QE
PX60 6QD
PE70 6QE
PE60 6QE
PE60 6QD
PE70 6QD

MiniPC, HTPC and Motherboards

Manufacturer / SeriesModelSATA-3 M.2PCIe M.2
Dell22422260228022602280
InspironMicro 3050
HP22422260228022602280
EliteBook820 G2
Pavilion Mini300-020
Stream Mini200-010
Intel22422260228022602280
NUC kitNUC5i3MYHE
NUC kitNUC5i3RYH
NUC kitNUC5i3RYK
NUC kitNUC5i5MYHE
NUC kitNUC5i5RYH
NUC kitNUC5i5RYK
NUC BoardNUC5i3MYBE
NUC BoardNUC5i5MYBE
MSI22422260228022602280
Cubi2 Plus
Cubi2 Plus vPro

 

Manufacturer / СhipsetModelM.2 TypeM.2 size
ASRock224222602280
AM2+A88M-G/3.1PCIe Gen2 x4
AM3+AMD Fatal1ty 990FXSATA3
Intel H97Fatal1ty H97 KillerPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel X99Fatal1ty X99M KillerPCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel X99X99 Extreme3PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel X99X99 Extreme4PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel X99X99 Extreme6PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel X99X99 Extreme11SATA3
Intel X99X99M Extreme4PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel X99X99 OC FormulaPCIe Gen2 x4 & SATA3
Intel X99X99 WSPCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel X99X99 WS-E/10GPCIe Gen2 x4 & SATA3
Intel X99X99E-ITX/acPCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel Z97Fatal1ty Z97 KillerPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Fatal1ty Z97 ProfessionalPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Fatal1ty Z97 KillerPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA
Intel Z97Fatal1ty Z97 Killer/3.1PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA
Intel Z97Fatal1ty Z97 Killer/3.1PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA
Intel Z97Fatal1ty Z97M KillerPCIeGen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Fatal1ty Z97X Killer/3.1PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 Extreme4PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 Extreme4PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 Extreme6PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 Extreme6/acPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 Extreme6/3.1PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 Extreme9PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 OC FormulaPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97M OC FormulaPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA
Intel Z97Z97 Pro4PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97E-ITX/acPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97M OC FormulaPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Z270TAICHIPCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
ASUS224222602280
Intel H97H97I-PLUSSATA и PCIE
Intel Z97Z97M-PLUSPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel H97H97-PLUSPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel H97H97M-PLUSSATA & PCIE
Intel H97H97M-E/CSMPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel H97MAXIMUS VI EXTREMEPCIe Gen2 x1 & SATA3
Intel H97MAXIMUS VI FORMULAPCIe Gen2 x1 & SATA3
Intel H97MAXIMUS VI GENEPCIe Gen2 x1 & SATA3
Intel H97MAXIMUS VI IMPACTPCIe Gen2 x1 & SATA3
Intel HM175Sata3
Intel X99RAMPAGE V EXTREMEPCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel Z97MAXIMUS VII FORMULAPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97MAXIMUS VII FORMULA/WATCH DOGSPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97MAXIMUS VII GENEPCIe Gen2 x4
Intel Z97MAXIMUS VII HEROPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97MAXIMUS VII IMPACTPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-APCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-CPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC)PCIe & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-DELUXE/USB 3.1PCIe & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-EPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97I-PLUSSATA & PCIE
Intel Z97Z97-K/CSMPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-PPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-PROPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-PRO(Wi-Fi ac)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97M-PLUSPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-WSPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97I-PLUSPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
B250Prime B250 ProДва M.2: PCIe/Sata и только PCIe
X299PRIME X299-AДва M.2: PCIe/Sata и только PCIe
x370Prime x370 ProЗависит от процессора. C младшими только SATA3, с Ryzen появляется поддержка PCIe
X370ROG Strix z370-E GamingДва M.2: PCIe/Sata и только PCIe
GIGABYTE224222602280
GA-970-Gaming (rev. 1.0)PCIe x4/x2/x1 & SATA3
GA-990FX-Gaming (rev. 1.0)PCIe x2/x1 & SATA3
GA-H97-D3HPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-H97-Gaming 3PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-H97M-D3HPPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFISATA3
GA-X99-Gaming 5PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-Gaming 5P (rev. 1.0)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99M-Gaming 5PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-GAMING 7SATA3
GA-X99-SOC Champion (rev. 1.0)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-UD3PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-UD3P (rev. 1.0)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-UD4 (rev. 1.0)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-UD4 (rev. 1.1)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-UD4P (rev. 1.0)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-UD5 WIFIPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-X99-UD7 WIFIPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97-D3H(rev. 1.0)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97-D3H(rev. 1.1)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-Gaming 3SATA3
GA-Z97MX-Gaming 5PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-Gaming 5PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-Gaming 7PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-SLIPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-UD3HPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK (rev. 1.0)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK (rev. 1.1)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-UD5HPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK (rev. 1.0)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
GA-Z97X-UD5H-BK (rev. 1.1)PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
MSI224222602280
H97 GAMING3PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
H97 GUARD-PROPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
H97M-G43PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
X99A GODLIKE GAMINGPCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
X99A MPOWER ACPCIe & SATA3
X99A RAIDERSATA3
X99A XPOWER ACPCIe & SATA3
X99S MPOWERPCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
X99S XPOWER ACPCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 GAMING 3SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 GAMING 5PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 GAMING 7PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 GAMING 9 ACPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
 Intel Z97Z97 GAMING 9 ACKPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 GUARD-PROPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 MPOWERPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 MPOWER MAX ACPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 U3 PLUSPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97 XPOWER ACPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97-G55 SLIPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97M-G43PCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Intel Z97Z97M GAMINGPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Z97S GUARD-PROPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Z97S SLI PLUSPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
Z97S SLI Krait EditionPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
X99S GAMING 7SATA3
X99S GAMING 9 ACSATA3
H270H270 Gaming Pro CarbonBouth: Gen3 x4 & SATA3
970A970A Gaming Pro CarbonPCIe Gen2 x2 & SATA3
B350B350 TOMAHAWKPCIe x4

How do I install an SSD in my PC

In most cases, this is easy. The algorithm is as follows:

  1. Open YouTube
  2. Enter the «laptop / motherboard model» + M.2 installation
  3. Repeat seen on video 🙂

How do I transfer Windows to new SSD for free

Аfter you’ve installed the M.2 SSD is making sure that your computer recognizes it as a new storage device. Some motherboards will do it , but when that doesn’t happen, you’ll need to manually tell BIOS that an M.2 device is connected.

The final step is clone yor operating system to a new SSD. There are a huge number of paid software products that allow to clone the system partition of a hard disk on a new SSD M.2. Many of them cost around $50 and do not always solve well their task.
We prefer the time-tested partly free product Aomei Partition Assistant from Chinese developers. In versions before 7.5.1, the SSD cloning function was available in the free version, but starting from version 8.xx, it has become available only in the paid package.

How to transfer Windows to a new SSD

This would be a problem if developers did not periodically present keys for any one version of their system. Now you can download version 8.7 and use the key: AOPR-K7X4P-Z126E-XZZUX Great offer for a one-time operation!
The migration process is described in detail on this page.

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