Over the past while, there seems to be an increased interest in our M.2 SSD testing, whether it be with respect to our thoughts on M.2 placement in the industry, ideas on how it best be introduced, or just plain “Where can I get a M.2 SSD?” concerns. Unfortunately, we cannot elaborate on purchase ‘just yet’ but we thought we might be able to display a bit of the hardware that we use behind the scenes for our own testing.
We seem to have become a hub with manufacturers for M.2 SSD ideas and we are extremely grateful to each, as, just when we run into an issue, someone sends us along the next fix. This first started with our initial difficulty in testing the Samsung XP941 M.2 SSD as there was yet to be a PCIe X4 M.2 adapter made, and carries right on to our latest ideas to enable a M.2 to boot on a PC or Mac system. As easy as that sounds, it really isn’t as the task at hand is to have a separate BIOS boot for the adapter, prior to the system BIOS…and all the while, remain plug and play. Be ready for some excellent news in the very near future, but for now, let’s see what we are using to test behind the scenes.
JWE M.2 ENABLER PCIe X4 M.2 SSD ADAPTER
This is the M.2 Enabler and is the brainchild of JW Electronics of Taiwan. This item cannot be found for sale and is a PCIe 3.0 X4 M.2 SSD Adapter, fully compatible with all previous PCIe interface generations. Considering that PCIe 3.0 has a, 8GT/s bit rate and delivers up to 985MB/s per lane, this little baby is capable of up to 3.9GB/s throughput down the road when we see PCIe 3.0 stream into SSD controllers.
This adapter is the first that we know of that will accept both X4 M keyed and X2 M and B keyed M.2 SSDs. In addition, it has LEDs to identify whether throughput is X2 or X4, as well as any errors in data transmission.
SOLITON PCIE 3.0 X16 M.2 SSD ADAPTER
Soliton Technologies of China were the first to help us along when we confirmed receipt of our Samsung XP941 M.2 PCIe SSD and manufactured a PCIe 3.0 X16 M.2 Test Adapter for our use. Saying that they went all out is just a drop in the bucket, considering this adapter can handle up to 15.7GB/s of throughput which I don’t really believe we will ever see from a single (or even dual) M.2 SSD design. Kudo’s for the overkill though! Sorry folks…once again not a retail item.
BPLUS M2P4S M.2 TO PCIE x4 ADAPTER
The BPlus M2P4S is a M.2 to PCIe x4 solution as works for M.2 PCIe X4 SSDs such as the Samsung XP941 only. It is a retail item and can be found at RAMCity.
BPLUS M2PS M.2 NGFF TO DUAL SATA ADAPTER
The BPlus M2PS is a M.2 SATA only adapter and can be used for dual cards. Throughput is not accomplished through the PCIe lanes, but rather, through 2 typical data cables that attach to the end of the card. This item is also availble through RAMCity.
MFACTORS SATA M.2 SSD TO SATA ADAPTER
Last but not least, we have the MFactors SATA M.2 to SATA adapter which, according to MFactors will accept SSDs of both connectors, however, will only work for SATA M.2 SSDs. It is also available for purchase.
THE FUTURE OF M.2 NGFF SSDS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
All in all, the future looks pretty much set for M.2 SSDs and, from a personal standpoint, I think that PCIe M.2 SSDs will end up overpowering that of SATA M.2 much quicker than anyone expects. When push comes to shove, the consumer wants lightning fast performance, regardless if they will ever use it or not. As for us….stay tuned! Not only do we have a bunch of brand spanking new M.2 SSDs on hand for solo and more RAID testing, but also, we now have an adapter in our hands that enables both PC and Mac booting from M.2 SSDs. Just consider the doors that will open from this alone…
If you look real close at our feature shot on the first page, you just might see one of those new, and as of yet, unreleased M.2 PCIe SSDs. Have a good one!