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M.2 Controller Comparison

So as I am starting to create pricing sheets for PCs I sell and starting to include 8th gen Intel CPUs and I started to look at the different options for the motherboards. One of the major options is the M.2 slots. Looking at the various ASUS MBs with M.2 there are a different versions of the controllers speeds. This is also compared to the M.2 SSD drive versions. I looked for a chart that compared this but have not found one. The drives all specify MB/s. The controller like to specify Gbps or just architecture. So for me and others I have created a chart that explains the differences.

In my chart I compare speed of the Gbps, M.2 controller, controller name, Max MB/s and example of ASUS MBs. The basis is to prevent you spend a large amount of money on a high end NVMe drive and install it in a low price MB that has a limited M.2 controller.

There are other controllers and different speeds (m.1, U.2 etc) but these are the most common now. I have included SATA drives and controllers to give a comparison of the old SATA vs SSD.

Gbps Max MB/s Drive Example Drive Max Speed Controller Name ASUS Ex MB Models
3 Gbps 375 MB/s WD Blue 500GB SATA 108 MB/s SATA II 3 All
6 Gbps 750 MB/s WD Black 4TB SATA 175 MB/s SATA III 6 All new
10 Gbps 1250 MB/s WD Blue M.2 560 MB/s M.2 PCIe x2 (socket 2) H310M-C
20 Gbps 2500 MB/s WD Black PCIe M.2 2050 MB/s M.2 PCIe x4 (socket 3) B250M-C   B360M-C
32 Gbps 4000 MB/s WD Black NVMe M.2 3400 MB/s M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 H370M-PLUS

I included Western Digital Drives because they are common with all different configurations. There are also Samsung drives and others that would be similar. Some have faster speeds than the WD but it gives you an idea with max MB/s options. If you look the SATA 3 and 6 are rated at faster speeds than the drives but the limit of spinning drives vs SSDs you can see why the future will be all SSDs. Once the price is better. It takes time. I remember the first SSD was like $1000 for say 20GB now you can get 128GB for under $100. Also you can  see that SATA III can handle SSDs speeds. Thats some of the lower SSDs say M.2 SATA. Also why all the SATA SSDs have a max of 5XX MB/s even though theoretically its 750MB/s with all the overhead etc it won’t get there.

I feel this is just an intermediate. The norm will be M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 and the next faster SSDs will be beyond these. We will see what the future holds.

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