Are M.2 SSDs all the same size? Do they vary in speed or quality much? My new computer is coming with a 512GB one and I think I’d like to upgrade it right off the bat to a 2TB one, but I’m not sure what type or brand I’m supposed to order (?)


I was going to type something up :frog: but these two are pretty good summaries:

A 2019 edition:

So really it is about if you see SATA vs PCIe vs NVMe / Optane as something worth the extra money and future-proofing. I’m think most modern M.2 form factor drives you get would be fine. 1TB seems to be the price sweet spot at the moment, and I wouldn’t get smaller than that, even if it means the difference between ultra-ultra-fast and ultra-fast. :slight_smile:

Having said that, if your motherboard has a vacant NVMe M.2 slot then use it.


I got the Samsung EVO 970, 2TB.


Mine is PCIe NVME…so I would imagine I would go with that type. Going to read your links now @fearlessfrog


Just remember that no matter how much capacity it has, you’ll be sure to fill it with orthophoto scenery :smile:


M.2 socket SSD’s can be run in PCIe or SATA mode, depending on the motherboard and it’s limitations from the chipset and/or PCI Express lanes. Motherboard manual is the answer.

Next, they have different form factor - you will need the manual for this too. Basically, the width is the same but the length varies which can change what will fit. The manual will state what form factors it has the ability to fit and secure in place. These are numbers in the 2200 range, one of the larger ones is 5 digit - I think 22810.


I need hot-swappable SSDs for some of my installs…

I’ve definitely got a problem though…my current X-Plane install is 2.37TB…


An M2 SSD is probably not where you want to go for that, then. Too pricey and I’m not sure I’ve even seen one over 2TB.

That said, for a lot of use cases you’ll not see a significant performance difference between NVMe and SATA, so you could get a 4TB SATA SSD. I don’t have experience with X-Plane to know if it is or isn’t one of those.

Also, while SATA can hot swap I don’t think NVMe can. Especially as they are often on spots on the mobo underneath where the video card or other component blocks it in, making it impossible to remove without shutting down first.

I have a 970 1TB NVMe, and an 850 Evo 512 GB SATA, and a WD Blue 1TB SATA. I boot off the 970 and have DCS there, but Il-2 is on the WD along with a lot of other things. I don’t really see much difference most of the time between the 970 and the WD, even though benchmarks show there clearly is one.


Your M2 or PCIe drive should be for stuff you’re always keeping around. My M2 was a bit expensive since it was still newish and I wish it was bigger. But it’s reserved mostly for the system.

I have a separate ssd for games. I didn’t jump on the Ortho thing and have kinda stopped flying so it hasn’t been an issue. But ya… M2 is not for switching.


If you are buying from CyberPower, maybe they can put one in there for you when they build it. Worth asking?


It’s MSI and I don’t think they build it per se - its more like “this is the model with these specs…here you go…” So while it is funny to be swapping parts out of it right off the bat, I’d rather start with something I want rather than upgrade it over time. From the spec sheet, it ships with a 512GB PCI-E NVME m.2 SSD + 2TB 5400RPM drive. So my thought is to replace the NVME right away with a 2TB size, and maybe the 2TB 5400 drive with an SSD. There is a spot for a third drive. I know I won’t get great performance with a regular 5400 RPM drive, but I wonder if I should make that third bay a normal drive with a very large capacity (more bang for the buck there).


Another probably stupid question. Assuming I swap out the operating system drive (the M.2), how do I go about transferring the OS files to the new M.2 drive? Can I copy the files to the 5400 drive, replace the M.2, make the 5400 bootable, then move the files to the new M.2 and then reenable the M.2 slot as bootable? :thinking:


That 5400RPM is gonna hurt. I’d probably trade it out for a 4TB 7200RPM first chance I get because the prices on those are very nice right now.

If you have an additional M.2 slot, then just clone the existing M.2 drive onto the new one. I used a free EaseUS utility last year but I’m sure there are others/better ones out there.


I don’t think it does - what does “1 x PCI-E 16X” imply - is that the bay for the addition (3rd) drive? Looking at a picture of that on Google it looks like you could mount an M.2 PCI-E type card there…


If my visual math is right…the M.2 is down on the motherboard side, and on this side is the 5400RPM and then the circled area would be where you could put a third drive…am I reading (seeing) that right? And the specs say another PCI-E slot open I assume down on the motherboard side as well…


Do they give the motherboard specifications? A lot are coming with two M.2 slots nowadays. You could still purchase an M.2 expansion card.

Checked and motherboard has a single M.2 slot, so you’d have to get an adapter or expansion card. You can find them for USB and SATA.


That’s a pretty limited motherboard, but I guess the form factor dictates that.


This is your motherboard from here right?

I think that shows 2 x M.2 and 4 x SATA 6 Gpbs?


Well, if it is this one, you get a M.2_1 and another one on the back:

This is getting a tiny bit ironic though, as you’re sort of doing Bob the Builder stuff now. :building_construction:


Yeah…I think it is this one:

Yeah, but your already familiar how I can muck up software…you should see me with a screwdriver in my hands :smile: I can do hard drives, but I’m terrible at cabling, and being patient…so while I’m sure I could build my own (I have in the past), I’m glad I don’t have to mess with CPUs, thermal solutions, and all that stuff. It just isn’t my forte…


Shoot, you’re good to go then. Get your new NVME drive and plug it into the spare, then you’re off to the races.


I guess I should probably put the rig through its paces the first couple of weeks though before I turn any screws in case I want to send it back. I think Amazon offers a 30-day return without penalty IF the return is for something faulty. I’m sure changing things out would void that return possibility. So maybe I’ll test drive it with some basics, then make the upgrade in 2-4 weeks.