7 Differences Between NVMe and M.2

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What are the differences between NVME and M.2? The NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express. It is typically an interface protocol.

These interfaces were introduced in 2013. In order to establish a connection with the motherboard of a computer usually a Peripheral Component Interconnect Express or PCIe slot is used.

It does not use SATA bandwidth and normally delivers a sustained read and write speed.

An M.2, on the other hand, refers to the small form factor of an SSD or Solid State Drive.

Technically, it is the specification of the related connectors and the computer expansion cards that are internally mounted.

Usually M.2 is considered to be the replacements of the mSATA or Mini Serial ATA standard which typically uses the Mini physical card layout and connectors of PCI Express.

A lot of people typically mix up the two and think that an NVMe and an M.2 are the same thing with two different names.

However, these are two significantly different things. Here are some of the major differences between the two compiled for you and your better knowledge. Read on to take a quick look at them.

The 7 Differences Between NVMe and M.2

Differences Between NVME and M.2

1. Types

The NVMe is basically an interface protocol, but, in comparison, the M.2 refers to the latest form factor of the Solid State Drives.

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You will find both SATA M.2 SSDs and NVMe M.2 SSDs in the market.

2. Ports Usage

The NVMe interface typically uses a PCI Express slot to be connected to the motherboard of the computer.

On the other hand, the M.2 drives are usually connected with a logical Serial Advanced Technology Attachment or SATA 3.0 port.

3. The Cost Factor

The high speed benefit offered by the NVMe protocol comes at a cost.

These are usually more expensive in comparison to M.2, irrespective of the size. On the other hand, the M.2 is usually less costly with respect to the NVMe.

4. Speed

The NVMe, in terms of speed, is faster than the M.2. The M.2 that uses SATA in particular is slower than the NVMe.

5. Form Factors

The NVMe may come in different form factors such as U.2, M.2, and PCIe cards, though it is not commonly found.

However, in comparison, the M.2 itself is a form factor of the Solid State Drives, as said earlier.

6. Interface Types

As for the NVMe, it is an interface type itself. However, in comparison, the M.2 can come in both an NVMe and a SATA interface.

7. Advantages

The NVMe can provide lightning speed when you pair a high-end drive with an equally advanced motherboard.

On the other hand, the significant advantage of the M.2 is its small form factor due to which it takes very little real estate of the computer.

Which is Better – NVMe and M.2?

Generally speaking, if you want a quick and simple answer, there actually cannot be a precise comparison between an M.2 and an NVMe.

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Both these are quite a common option and it all depends on the user as to determine which is better for them.

Ideally, all M.2 drives are not NVMe because the slots do not support NVMe.

A few of them support only NVMe while a few others support only SATA. There are also a few specific ones that support either.

This means that, when you are out shopping, you should double check whether or not the M. 2 slots in the device supports an NVMe drive.

However, you may find the M.2 to be a bit better since this physical specification offers more flexibility since it allows different module lengths and widths along with some more sophisticated interfacing features.

Typically the M.2 is more apposite as compared to mSATA in terms of solid state storage applications.

This is especially useful in the smaller devices such as tablets and ultrabooks.

As said earlier, the M.2 is an SSD form factor while the NVMe is an interface.

And, surprising as it may sound, when these two are combined, you will basically have a storage option that will be lightning fast.

There will be more or less no footprint visible and it is also very easy to install. Therefore, you will be in a win-win situation in that way.

That is the most significant reason that today you may usually find both the NVMe interface as well as the M.2 in most of the high-end and a few mid-range prebuilt desktop computers and laptops.

However, always keep in mind while making a choice between an NVMe and an M.2 that, no matter what, an M.2 is still a SATA SSD.

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Here lies the main difference between them which affects their respective performance due to the interface technology.

The performance of the SATA based M.2 SSD does not seem to improve in speed as well as its level as compared to an NVMe simply because it still uses a SATA-based interface technology.

Now the choice is yours.


So, now it is certainly clear to you that there is a lot of difference between an NVMe and an M.2.

With this knowledge, now you can surely compare the read and write speeds along with other aspects of the two and choose the one that is more suitable for your computing needs.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers. He loves to cook when he is not busy with writing, computer testing and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin