How did we get here?
Imagine my surprise when I opened an older laptop and found an SSD. In fact it was an SSD in an M.2 slot. Now imagine how I felt when I realized it was a SATA drive. Yes, the same protocol that is on standard 2.5 inch drives, drove this one. Still, how bad could it be? I decided to test it and find out.
The first thing I had to do was actually find where I could test it. Almost all of my m.2 slots were taken on various rigs. I tried the PCI adapter, but you can see where that is going by my telling you it was a PCI adapter. You see, SATA means the serial instructions from the CPU. The PCI bus is Parallel. As I mentioned in the video, linked here, Serial means the data will transfer a single bit at a time, like loading a plane. Parallel will load several items at once, think roller coaster at the theme park that has a separate queue for each car. The Roller Coaster loads much faster, and will every time.
Still, all was not lost, Danny DD to the rescue. With an empty M.2 slot, I tucked it in, checked the BIOS, off we were. Sort of. Read and write speeds weren’t great. I ran Crystal Disk Mark and got about what I expected. 2.5 inch SSD type speeds. That doesn’t mean it’s horrible, or even unusable. You just have to have the right use for it. It’s still faster than an HDD, and a budget build is perfect for it.
Good SSD or Bad
That has to do with your frame of reference. The reason I mention these at all is that they are still common. They are available in various sizes and usually at or below the much faster NVMe drives that fit in the same slot. NVMe drives, also work with a PCI adapter if you don’t have a free slot on your motherboard. It’s not a bad choice, but there are much better ones. It’s best to read the description to make sure you get the right one.
SO, what’s next for the SATA m.2 drive. I’ll have to find an inexpensive motherboard and make an extreme budget build. It’s still faster than a spinning hard disk and perfect for a boot drive. It will fit perfectly in a low cost gaming PC. Paired with a larger 2.5 inch SSD, it will have a lot of life left. Now I need to go shopping.