Best M.2 SSDs What You Can Buy For Your Gaming Desktop & Laptop

Report Data Collected On: 28/Aug/2017

M.2. Such a tiny, humble name for a piece of tech so beautiful it doesn’t do the item justice. If you’ve never heard of it and don’t know what it is, don’t blame yourself, for this little pretty thing has slipped past the radars of even the most tech-savvy people and is only beginning to make waves.

Originally known by the much more fitting name Next-Gen Form Factor, M.2 takes the phrase “bleeding-edge” and owns it, like a boss.

This is the kind of thing that you want on your system not just because it is both practical and awesome at the same time (it is), but also because it gives you peerless bragging rights about how the best of the best resides in your rig, and there’s no questioning about that.

Once upon a time…

When SSDs showed up on the market to target consumers, they targeted for both desktop PCs and the bigger laptop that at the time were popular;

And for this reason, they were designed in the 2.5-inch form factor for best compatibility with existing interfaces.

This means SSDs were of the same size as laptop hard drives;

Which could also comfortably sit inside a desktop without fuss by using a 3.5-inch bay to keep them set inside the bay. And here comes the kicker: during the development phase, SSDs were intentionally made bigger, from a smaller size, so as to fit into the existing bays and laptops.

They actually didn’t need to be that big;

This makes it one of the very few (if not only) cases in which new technology that was supposed to fit inside our computers was made physically bigger on purpose.

Of course, from an engineering standpoint, this was counter-productive, and it was clear from the get-go that solid-state tech could produce storage in much smaller dimensions without significant problems.

This meant, obviously, that a new interface had to be developed for the smaller versions.

Now for the real kicker – considering its potential, the drive was still too big. And too slow. Think on that for a moment. The undefeated king of the market when it comes to fast data transfer speeds was actually not being manufactured to its potential speed.

This is because even mSATA and 2.5 inch drives were dependent on the SATA interface, which put a cap in their abilities. That meant the new interface had to be developed, which in turn meant throwing compatibility out of the window and building the entire thing specifically for SSD technology, which would finally bring it to its full potential.

And that’s how the NVMe was born;

It stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express, which pairs with the Next-Gen PCI-e Express x4 interface, and when this thing fits a solid state drive, it can deliver speeds up to 4 GBps. No, that wasn’t a typo. 4GBps. We wouldn’t kid around about that stuff.

What makes this all the more awesome is the size – the new M.2 (pronounced “em-dot-two”) form factor which strips the drive into its very, very basic bare bones, making it about the size of a stick of gum;

And in some cases even smaller.

Compatibility is certainly an issue, since there are already three different sizes of drives available in the form factor, and something that fits one may not fit another size.

Yup. This already happened.

So, welcome to the cutting-edge of the cutting-edge. The kind of thing most people out there don’t even know exists yet. Let’s help you make a decision in buying the things by listing the top 4 that we could find in the market.

So, Let’s See How Many Best M.2 SSDs Are Available In The Market, In This Currently Month:

Top 4th Crucial MX300

  • Form Factor: M.2 Full Size 2280
  • Interface: SATA 3.0 Gen 3rd 6GB/s
  • Max Sequential Read/Write Speed: 530 MB Per Second / 510 MB Per Second
  • Max Random Read/Write Speed: 92,000 IOPS / 83,000 IOPS
  • Warranty/Support: 3 Years

Short Review: The only product on this list that still uses the SATA interface and not the new NVMe, the Crucial MX300 is actually the slowest of the lot. It accomplishes this by giving a read/write speed of 530MBps/510MBps. Yes, what a slowpoke.

It’s like reading and writing data at a snail’s pace. Meh. Since the slower speed is the SATA interface, this makes it more compatible with most existing systems – and it’s a good start if you’re just dipping your toe into the vast pool of SSD goodness.

A big selling point is a durability – the MX300 is built to handle an endurance of 220TB in total, which is years of reliable super-fast performance thanks to the single-level-cell flash memory which gives the drive its long life.

Energy efficient, powerful, reliable and compatible.

Top 3rd Plextor M8PE

  • Form Factor: M.2 Full Size 2280
  • Interface: M.2 M-Key Gen 3 x4 Ultra-High Speed SSD with NVMe
  • Max Sequential Read/Write Speed: 2500 MB Per Second / 1400 MB Per Second
  • Max Random Read/Write Speed: 280,000 IOPS / 240,000 IOPS
  • Warranty/support: 5 Years

Short Review:  Shake off the dust of the old-school and embrace the new. Here we move on to the new NVMe protocol PCIe Gen3 x4, and you can immediately see the difference: the drive has a Read/Write speed of 2.5 GBps/1.4 GBps – speed is no longer measured in megabytes because that has, all of a sudden, become inconvenient.

Plextor is a company that delivers highly specialized products, and the M8Pe is built for intense operations, especially gaming. “Play hard, Play, now!” is their tagline for the product, and this can be immediately seen in the design: the bare-bones version SSD is covered in a beautiful black-and-red external shell that makes it look like the best of modern technology that it is.

This isn’t just cosmetic, though: the shell contains its own heat sink and cooling fins, which help regulate the temperature for even the most graphics-heavy gaming sessions and not compromise performance. This also extends the life of the drive.

The model has been tested and specced to the strongest of requirements at zero-error goals and offers an MTBF of 2.4 million hours. Available from capacities of 128 GB to 1 TB, it comes with Plextor’s TrueProtect-integrated firmware, which uses the same error correcting feature of ECC RAM (we discussed that not too long ago, remember?) to keep your data error-free.

Top 2nd Samsung 960 EVO

  • Form Factor: M.2 Full Size 2280
  • Interface: M.2 M-Key Gen 3 x4 Ultra-High Speed SSD with NVMe
  • Max Sequential Read/Write Speed: 3200 MB Per Second / 1900 MB Per Second
  • Max Random Read/Write Speed: 380,000 IOPS / 360,000 IOPS
  • Warranty/support: 3 Years

Short Review: Samsung’s EVO series has made our list before, and when it comes to consumer SSDs they have an impressive record. The 960 is Samsung reaching out to dominate another SSD-tech generation and they deliver with impeccable reliability.

The 960 is also more affordable than its counterparts and costs almost the same as an mSATA drive. This is an above-mid-tier product at a mid-tier price, and everybody loves a bargain.

It has a read speed of an incredible 3.2 GBpsthe write speed can vary a bit with the model, from 1.5 GBps for the 256 model to 1.9 GBps for the 1TB version.

The drive supports full-disk encryption, and also comes with the Samsung TurboWrite technology (remember that one, also from our previous review?) which acts as a buffer for your workload.

Once again Samsung is not joking around when it comes to their faith in the product, and offer a three-year warranty and promises endurances of 100TB (for the 1256 GB version) to 400 TB (for the 1TB version).

Top 1stSamsung 960 PRO

  • Form Factor: M.2 Full Size 2280
  • Interface: M.2 M-Key Gen 3 x4 Ultra-High Speed SSD with NVMe
  • Max Sequential Read/Write Speed: 3500 MB Per Second / 2100 MB Per Second
  • Max Random Read/Write Speed: 440,000 IOPS / 360,000 IOPS
  • Warranty/support: 5 Years

Short Review: Taking things to the next level, Samsung swings it out of the park again with their 960 Pro model. As of this writing, it is the only M.2 SSD available in capacities up to 2TB.

With the incredible read/write speeds of up to 3.5 GBps/2.1 GBps and a 48-layer V-NAND-based architecture, this is one fast and furious SSD and Samsung knows it.

They’ve backed it up with auto-updating firmware, a whopping 1.2 Petabytes workload, a Dynamic Thermal Guard that monitors and automatically regulates the temperature of the SSD for optimal performance and life, and, of course, a 5-year warranty behind that 1.2 Petabyte promise.

Samsung isn’t afraid to put their money where their mouth is. Designed to be the best of the best for the best, which is ultimate in modern tech and the dream of all who want to build a high-end system in this 2017.

And that’s our top picks among the M.2 SSDs available in the market – So, what will you pick, if you wanted one for yourself? Let me know in the comments below:

Happy Shopping!!!

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