One of the typical questions that people ask is, does my motherboard support NVMe SSD? Have you ever considered upgrading to an NVMe SSD but decided against it because you weren’t sure if your motherboard supported the modern technology?
If you are a hardware enthusiast and are looking for a new motherboard to play with, then the chances you will be buying one that supports NVMe SSD is pretty high. You see, NVMe is the new hotness and the future is almost here.
In fact, if you have an Intel Core i7 from the last couple of generations, then you should upgrade your boot drive to SSD to take advantage.
Today we are going to talk about something that might be a little less popular than the average blog post, but I think it could be really helpful for figuring out whether or not your motherboard supports NVMe SSD.
Does My Motherboard Support NVMe SSD – How To Check
A lot of people interested in upgrading to NVMe have made their choice already, but there isa vast group of people who have not decided yet. For now, let us try to figure out if your motherboard supports NVMe or not.
If you have ever bought a motherboard in the last 5 years, it likely supports NVMe. All you will have to do is check for PCIe and M.2 support on your board using the motherboard’s spec sheet and you will more than likely be able to know if your motherboard supports NVMe SSD.
If the spec sheet says the motherboard supports PCIe then it supports NMVe. If you want to confirm if the M.2 slots supports SATA or NVMe, you should look at the motherboard itself.
No one likes to buy a new motherboard because they are expensive. But that can save you a lot of money in the long run if your motherboard supports NVMe and you can replace your old SATA SSDs with NVMe SSDs.
This is especially important these days because of the growing demand for SSDs (especially among gamers) and the continuing price increase you see every year. It is more cost-effective to upgrade by buying faster drives than it is to buy a new motherboard every time you need an upgrade.
Related: What Does Sata Cable Look Like
Knowing PCIe and SATA Interfaces
Understanding what PCIe and SATA interface will improve your understanding of spec sheet. Basically, hard drive s use two interfaces which are known as PCIe and SATA.
SATA is slower than PCIe as its latest iteration (SATA 3) offers the max speed of 750 MB/s or 6 Gbps. SATA interface is used by SATA SSDs and spinning hard disk drives.
On the other hand, PCIe is faster as the PCIe gen 3 NVMe SSDs speed is up to 3500MB/seconds while the latest PCIe gen 4 NVMe SSDs speed is up to 5500MB/seconds.
So, it means that PCIe NVMe SSDs and SATA SSDs are not the same. When checking the spec sheet, you also need to know the meaning of some jargons that can cause confusion.
- SATA III, SATA 6Gbps and SATA 6b/s are all the same
- NVMe SSD is the same as PCIe SSD
So, if the spec sheet of your motherboard reads, “supports PCIe SSD,” it means it supports NVMe SSD.
Note: A motherboard can support both SATA SSD and NVMe SSD but not all motherboards support this.
Can You Add NVMe Support To Your Motherboard?
Yes, that is possible. You can enjoy the benefits that NVMe drive offers if your motherboard is not equipped with an M.2 slot. Get a PCI expansion NVMe card from a computer store or tech websites and install it.
Be sure that you purchase the right one for your motherboard and plug it into your PCI lane the way you do your graphics card.
How Do NVMe Drive Works?
A NVMe drive can come with PCIe or M.2 connection that explains how it attaches to the motherboard and transmits information. Technically, this refers to as a form factor.
You must check the type of connection supported by your motherboard before purchasing NVMe drive. Some NVMe drives fit perfectly into the PCIe slot on themotherboard but some high-end PCIe NVMe SSDsdo not because they are not meant for small computers.
So, when you are on the market for PCIe NVMe SSD, you might want to choose a lower-end PCIe connection or an M.2 connection.
What Generation Of NVMe SSD Does My Motherboard Supports?
The generation of NVMe SSD supported by your motherboard depends on the CPU and the chipset.
Gen 3 and Gen 4 NVMe SSDs have significant differences.The Gen 3 NVMe SSDs like the Samsung 970 procorrespond to PCIe 3.0 communication protocolwhile the Gen 4 NVMe SSDs like the Samsung 980 pro correspond to PCIe 4.0 communications protocol.
While a Gen 3 NVMe SSDs can get to 3500 MB/s Speeds, the Gen 4 NVMe SSDs can get to 5500 MB/s speed. However, just a few motherboards support Gen 4 SSD.
Few of the AMD chipsets that support Gen NVMe SSDs are:
- AMD B550
- AMD X570
Few of the Intel chipsets that support Gen 4 NVMe SSD are:
- Intel B560
- Intel H570
- Intel Z590
Currently, the most superior chipset remains AMD X570 because the CPU and chipset connect M.2 slots and support Gen 4 NVMe SSDs.
What Is The Size Of The NVMe SSDs Support?
If you check the spec sheet, you should see the size that the SSDs supported by each M.2 slot. Take 2242/2260/2280/22110 spec for instance, the first two digits shows the SSD’s width in millimeters while the last 2 to 3 digits shows the SSD’s length the slot supports in millimeters.
Therefore, it means that 2242 indicates that the SSD supports is 22 mm width by 42 mm length.
Do Motherboards Support Both NVMe And SATA Drives?
All older motherboards support SATA drives but the latest motherboards generally support NVMe SSDs. However, it is possible for a motherboard to have slots for both SATA and NVMe drives.
If your motherboard with an M.2 slot supports NVMe, it may also support SATA drives connected via SATA cables.
DO All M.2 Slots Support NVMe?
M.2 drives can come in either SATA or NVMe versions, so M.2 drives are not just NVMe drives. The M.2 part only defines how your drive attaches to your motherboard, not the drive itself.
Motherboard can come with SATA-only M.2 or NVMe-only M.2 slots. Some motherboards come with M.2 slots that supports both, letting you choose the one that suits you best.
Can M.2 NVMe Slots Be Clocked To Half Performance?
Ideally, M.2 slots use 4 PCIe lanes, which means for the NVMe SSD to perform at its peak, it needs 4 PCIe lanes. But on some motherboards, the M.2 slot may be connected to only 2 PCIe lanes.
So, when the question “does my motherboard support NVMe SSD” comes up in your mind, the correct answer is to refer to the technical spec sheet. Reading these details is important so that you can make an informed decision before purchasing an SSD.