Aside from its naming I am pretty stoked about M2 as I have checked out what it can do and immediately got excited. I think M2 will be wider adopted than SATA Express this year because it is easy, handy, transferable to any M2 ready PC and it doesn't need complex RAID setups. M2 PCIe SSDs are merely small form factor SSDs that communicate over your PCI Express lanes, giving it 10 Gbps of bandwidth, eliminating SATA3 bottlenecks. So most Z97 and newer motherboards will likely all have that cute and tiny M2 PCIe interface. That brings small form factors add-in SSDs to our PC platform. There is an abbreviation for that, NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor). It is not just that though, SATA3 has not been amongst us for that long, but the SSDs evolved in a very fast manner, making SATA3 already a bottleneck for current generation SSDs as SATA3 SSDs end at roughly 570 MB/sec in terms of read/write performance.
Above an M.2. SSD installed into the ASUS Z97 Deluxe
M2 PCIe links directly to your PCIe lanes and as such, it is an interface with much more available bandwidth. At a cool 10 Gbps PCI-Express based M2 has roughly 67% more bandwidth available. So that will definitely kick off a new SSD race in the upcoming months. You can expect performance in the 700 MB/sec range with these products. We ran some tests with a Plextor M6 M2 SSD unit. This specific product can handle a maximum sustained data read speed is of 770 MB/s and the top write speed is of 580 MB/s. Meanwhile, the random 4K performance is hovering at 100,000 IOPS (inputs/outputs per second).
As you can see in AS SSD we very quickly reach 700+ MB/sec on read performance. So that's a little lower as advertised for this M2 SSD, but still .. a hell-uv-a-lot faster compared to any traditional SATA3 SSD. Considering these M2 SSDs are LESS complex and expensive to build over a regular SSD we expect the prices to match current generation SSDs, making this a mighty interesting option.
The M6e combines the latest generation Marvell 88SS9183 dual-core server-grade controller and carefully selected synchronous Toshiba Toggle NAND flash. Fantastic performance.
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