m.2 connector types explained

M2 Connectivity Information

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M.2 Connector Types Explained.

M.2 Connector types are found in a number of computer applications but are more commonly referred to in the context of S.S.D  flash storage expansion cards. M.2  comes in a variety of physical sizes and key shaped connectors. The keys are notches in the card preventing you from plugging the wrong kind of device in an incorrect slot. With several different lengths and many keys, it comes in dozens of different variations.

How does M.2 keying work ?

The key layout uses the PCIe, USB, Display, Audio, I2C or SATA busses on the motherboard. There are 4 common types of keys in usage today, each being assigned a letter for identification. The table below shows how each of those keys varies:

It is hoped the keying layout will produce faster, flexible storage and expansion than previous solutions. As an example, take SSDs. Typically a PCIe 4.0 based M.2 SSD drive can transfer data at up to 10x the speed of a traditional SSD. These same improvements are true for other expansion devices as well.

As form factors associated with laptops and tablets continue to shrink, and hard drive capacities climb, M.2 is establishing itself as a standard, particularly for SSDs installed on Intel and AMD-based NUC form factor systems.

M.2 wireless cards are providing WiFi, 4G, and Bluetooth in combination on a single card. Builders are also tapping into the M.2 slot to create additional I/O options, including COM, LAN, USB ports and more.

The incredible speed of data transfer, diminutive size, and flexibility of the M.2 expansion slot makes it a perfect match for newest series of  laptops.

Provided interfaces
A 8–15 2x PCIe ×1, USB 2.0, I2C and DP ×4
B 12–19 PCIe ×2, SATA, USB 2.0 and 3.0, audio, UIM, HSIC, SSIC, I2C and SMBus
C 16–23 Reserved for future use
D 20–27
E 24–31 2x PCIe ×1, USB 2.0, I2C, SDIO, UART and PCM
F 28–35 Future Memory Interface (FMI)
G 39–46 Reserved for custom use (unused in the M.2 specification)
H 43–50 Reserved for future use
J 47–54
K 51–58
L 55–62
M 59–66 PCIe ×4, SATA and SMBus

M2  SSD Lengths and Widths

M2 SSD Lengths and Widths

M2  Typical SSD

M2 Typical Connectors

The table lays out the keys in common use today—there are others, mostly placeholders to be called into service as newer buses and interfaces are introduced.

The four – or five-digit numbers paired with each slot are the physical dimensions of each card; the first two digits specify the width in milli-meters and the second two or three digits specify the length. Typically a Wi-Fi module is 16mm wide and 30mm long, or 1630.

All current keys can give cards access to two PCI Express lanes, but otherwise interface compatibility is all over the place—so far, it’s been pretty easy to guess what kind of peripheral you’re dealing with based on the key it uses. Wi-Fi and W WAN cards tend to use keys A and/or E, since they only need the PCI Express or USB 2.0 buses and only need 30mm in length to fit all their key components. SATA SSDs and SSDs that use two PCI Express lanes tend to use keys B and M to maximize compatibility, since both connectors can deliver both SATA III and two PCIe lanes. The very fastest SSDs tend to be M-keyed since it’s the only one that delivers four PCIe lanes.

More information regarding SSD  technology and recovering data from faulty devices  is found here

M2 Connector Layouts

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