What Is SSD M. 2? (2280, 2260 or 2242)


If you have a notebook ultra-thin (ultrabook), bought a motherboard for a desktop or researched for an SSD recently, you may have come across the word M. 2. This name indicates that the equipment is compatible with SSDs of this type.

But what is a SSD M. 2? What types of M. 2 there are? And what are the advantages of this pattern? The answers to these and other questions, you can check in the next lines. We’re going there?

– What is M. 2?
– Sizes of M. 2
– M. 2 22110
– M. 2 2280
– M. 2 2260, M. 2 2242 and M. 2 2230
– Keys (keys) of the M. 2
– M. 2 B key (B key)
– M. 2 key M (M key)
– M. 2 key B+M (B+M key)
– And what is NVMe?

What is M. 2?

The SSDs are storage devices data much faster than traditional hard disks (HDs) in the recording and reading of information. But this is not the only advantage: being based on chips of the memories NAND Flash, they can be physically much more compact than HDs.

Although not exclusively, at the beginning, the industry gave preference to SSDs with connections SATA, which even today are very much common in the market. This is the same format that is used in the HDs conventional.

The great advantage here is the wide compatibility: a load of motherboards for PCs, laptops and servers have SATA ports. In addition, devices based on this standard are often cheap.

But the interfaces SATA have there own limitations: they have as the basis of communication standards already somewhat out-of-date. The hindrance is most important is that connections SATA may be compact for a desktop or notebook conventional, but they are grandalhonas for ultrabooks or tablets, for example.

It is here that the M. 2 appears: once called Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), this standard — a set of formats of cards, in fact it allows the SSD is very compact. Units of the type that are basically plates with chips and a small connector.

SSDs M. 2 are so compact that they can be connected in ultrabooks, tablets, notebooks and hybrids. Only that this pattern is also viable for desktops and servers. This is because, in addition to the dimensions miniature, formats M. 2 enable the SSD to use patterns of communication more rapid, as the most recent versions of the PCI Express bus.

Sizes of M. 2

Before you buy a SSD, M. 2, you need to check if the motherboard of your desktop or laptop is compatible with this format. Refer to the manual of the equipment or the manufacturer’s technical support if you do not have this information.

Is it compatible with? Great. But it does not end there: devices M. 2 can have various sizes, therefore, it is necessary to check which of them can be installed on your computer or mobile device.

Do not worry. Below is the list of the more common formats. Note that the sizes are classified with a number. Seems confusing, but there it is: the number refers to the width of the plate M. 2, and to the length of this.

M. 2 22110

Modules M. 2 22110 this designation because they have 22 mm width by 110 mm length (22 x 110 mm). This format is not very common and is usually mainly used in SSDs for enterprise applications.

M. 2 2280

The M. 2 2280 is, by far, the most used format in the industry. It is possible to find SSDs of following this pattern in both corporate guidelines and options for home users. Notebooks, ultra-thin, for example, tend to come from the factory with SSDs M. 2 2280.

You might have already guessed, but you may want to explain: the ‘2280’ in the name indicates that this format M. 2 22 mm x 80 mm.

M. 2 2260, M. 2 2242 and M. 2 2230

Laptops hybrids or computers very compact, for example, may need storage units to data with even more dimensions are reduced. It is here that formats such as M. 2 2260, M. 2 2242 and M. 2 2230 appear: they are also not very common in the market, but there are to suit certain types of devices.

At this point you should already have noticed, but it never hurts to highlight: the width of the plates M. 2 is always the same (22mm); what changes is the length. Note:

  • M. 2 2260: 22 x 60 mm
  • M. 2 2242: 22 x 42 mm
  • M. 2 2230: 22 x 30 mm

Keys (keys) of the M. 2

Up to now, we speak of the physical dimensions of the plates M. 2. But there is another feature that needs to be considered: the types of keys (keys) — or, in a more accurate translation, the types of fittings.

There are three patterns: key B, key M and key B+m: And why so much variety? Basically, to allow the M. 2 can meet the performance standards of different types of devices.

Contrary to what many people think, the format M. 2 is not only applied in SSDs. It is also possible to find adapters Wi-Fi or Bluetooth format M. 2, to give just one example.

Some of these devices will need more speed in the transmission of data; others, less. As a rule, boards M. 2 key B support the standard PCI Express x2, while the key M support PCI Express x4 (faster). This is why SSDs focused on high performance tend to have key M.

Let’s better understand these such keys:

M. 2 B key (B key)

In this pattern, the device connector M. 2 has a small slot positioned to the left (or right, if you flip the card). If you count the pins (the metal strips of the connector), you’ll notice that, in the modules M. 2 key B, there are always six of them on the left of the slot.

M. 2 key M (M key)

Modules M. 2 key M to have the slot aligned to the right of the connector with five pins getting on the same side.

Note that connectors M. 2 key B are not compatible with connections to key M and vice-versa.

M. 2 key B+M (B+M key)

This pattern is self-explanatory: as a general rule, connectors, M. 2 B+M are compatible with both devices key B and key M. But there is a caveat here: a device to M. 2 B+M will work with the PCI Express x2, but not with the x4.

And what is NVMe?

You will easily find models M. 2 SSD compatible with NVMe. But what is it? Acronym for Non Volatile Memory Express, NVMe consists, basically, in a protocol that provides a set of functions and commands to the SSDs based on PCI Express.

The goal here is to enhance the performance of the unit. A SSD M. 2 with NVMe can have more data transfer speed (in comparison with a SATA SSD) on account of the connection of that protocol with the PCI Express, the most current technology and fast.

Let’s take an example: the SSD below is the 970 Pro, Samsung. It has the format M. 2 2280, and compatibility with NVMe. Thanks, in part, to this characteristic, this SSD can work with a speed of up to 3,500 MB/s (megabytes per second) in reading and 2,700 MB/s write data. On the other hand, an SSD with SATA does not usually go beyond the 600 MB/s in these operations.

It is worth saying that not all SSD M. 2 is NVMe. It is also possible to find units M. 2 based on the SATA standard.


Now that you already know what is M. 2, it becomes easier to choose the best SSD for your needs. You just need to make sure that your laptop or the motherboard of your desktop is compatible with this pattern to take advantage of its benefits.

But the matter does not end here. If you want to know more, the AbbreviationFinder has an article with everything about SSD, in addition to a text that explains the differences between memory SLC, MLC, TLC and QLC (types of memories used in SSDs).

What Is SSD M. 2 (2280, 2260 or 2242) 1

What Is SSD M. 2? (2280, 2260 or 2242)
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