Need help understanding ports M.2., U.2., PCIe x16, PCIe x1 slots- what board offers the most ports for storage?

Hey there

I have several builds with Asus, but considering other boards such as Gigabyte. I am confused with all the ports. I would like to have the most available ports for storage. My current system (Ivy Bridge) is maxed on SATA ports and the only reason I am rebuilding is because I need more SSD ports.

Link to Asus http://www.tomshardware.com/news/asus-z270-motherboards-lineup-rgb,33323.html
Asus Formula https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/ROG-MAXIMUS-IX-FORMULA/specifications/
Link to Gigabyte http://www.tomshardware.com/news/gigabyte-200-series-aorus-gaming-motherboards,33307.html

I was going to buy Asus, but there is no Deluxe or Pro version. I am not a gamer- I am building a music workstation. I need SSDs to store samples and sound effects libraries.

I would like my OS on M.2. I need 2TB M.2. drive but I can not afford it yet.

Asus motherboard offers 2x M.2., no U.2., and 6 SATA ports (only offers 8 ports on Maximus IX Extreme which is for water cooling and over $400). Then I am reading about Western Digital that it released WD Black SSD which will be PCIe 3.0 x4. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/western-digital-black-pcie-ssd,33328.html

Asus formula:
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)*2
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)*3
6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)

So can I use both M.2 ports for 3 different drives and then PCIe X4 for another drive, or will they share some lines and not work all together?

The Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 9 offers:

-8 x SATA-III
-3 x SATA Express
-2 x M.2 Key M
-2 x U.2
What's the SATA express for? Do they use some of SATA 3 ports? can we say that I would actually get 8 SATA ports AND 3 SATA Express and 2x M.2. and 2x U.2 or is it advertisement plot to confuse us? And if I can get all these ports with Gigabyte, then why Asus is so behind? Should we still expect Asus come up with Deluxe and pro model for their Prime line? It says Prime Line, but only offers "A" model, so what's the line?

Thank you in advance.
7 answers Last reply
More about understanding ports pcie x16 pcie slots board offers ports storage
  1. http://www.geek.com/chips/new-asrock-motherboard-has-18-sata-ports-so-you-can-become-a-storage-god-1606552/
    New ASRock motherboard has 18 SATA ports so you can become a storage god
  2. Thank you for the post. That is X99 board. "Of the 18 SATA ports, 10 are SATA 3 6Gb/s, while the remaining eight are SAS-3 12GB/s.". I want M.2. and trying to figure out how the lines go and what it shares and what will not work together.

    You are an Asus expect. Do you think they will have Prime LINE, more than one "A" board? I cant believe they will not have Pro and Deluxe. But when? Not that I have to do it tomorrow...
  3. Astralv said:
    My current system (Ivy Bridge) is maxed on SATA ports and the only reason I am rebuilding is because I need more SSD ports.

    If you just need additional sata ports, you can get them without rebuilding your system.
    Get PCIE (or PCI) sata controller card.
    https://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/HDD-Controllers/SATA-Cards/4-Port-PCI-Express-SATA-6Gbps-RAID-Controller-Card~PEXSAT34RH
  4. Yeah, I did. There is more to it. I am out of ports on the power supply, so I did buy those splitters but I already have 3 items on each run, so I would have to split them farther. And my C drive will run out of space in about 6 months. It is already clone from 250 Gb SSD to 500 GB, so I would have to clone again... Plus- it is great feeling to build new computer. It is so exciting (minus all the work to put it together and troubleshooting). I want huge SSD for C drive this time, and Samsung 960 Pro 2TB cost $1700- I can not afford that. So I may be waiting another few months, but I am not sure. It has to be right this time. My system is 4 years old. So I am hoping to get may be 5 years out of new system. Depends on its behavior.
  5. Just bought 7700K. Now I need to decide on Motherboard. What you recommend? Thank you.
  6. It appears that there isn’t much that's new in the Z270 chipset design either. In fact, the headline change — four additional PCIe 3.0 lanes — were rumored to have been hidden in the Z170 before the elder silicon launched. Although we’re still leaning on a four-lane DMI 3.0 PCH-to-CPU interconnect, the popularity of four-lane NVMe drives keeps manufacturers searching for ways to avoid sacrificing other device connections in favor of storage. Each PCIe lane consumes an HSIO resource, so the Z270 expands this to 30 connections.
  7. Finally I was able to compare the Asus boards. Looks like prime A is a winner compared to Stix because of Thunderbolt option. It has DVI port not available on Hero. What else do I miss? I can not figure out why it is almost $40 less than Strix? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?CompareItemList=%2D1%7C13%2D132%2D928%5E13%2D132%2D928%2C13%2D132%2D925%5E13%2D132%2D925%2C13%2D132%2D927%5E13%2D132%2D927%2C13%2D132%2D936%5E13%2D132%2D936

    This is Asus compare all boards- looks like Hero has no WiFi?

    https://www.asus.com/microsite/best-200-series-motherboards/compare/index.html
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