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M.2 vs SATA vs PCIe

I'm a little confused about SSDs! So as far as I can grasp, both regular 2.5" SSDs and M.2 SSDs are really fast, however they are significantly bottlenecked by the SATA connection, with real-world read and write speeds of about 500-600 MB/s (correct me if I'm wrong)... My question is, why would I opt for an M.2 SSD over a 2.5" if this is the case? Also from what I gather PCIe SSDs are the best as they connect directly to the motherboard, cutting out the middleman altogether, so can PCIe adapters allow you to connect a regular M.2 SSD to the PCIe slot? And before someone suggests, yes I've already Googled the answer! Thanks in advance!
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  1. Best answer
    SATA and NVMe are the interface protocols, so think of it more like the language the drives communicate in. NVMe is developed specifically for SSDs and leverages PCIe specs to allow for higher throughput than SATA.

    The physical form factor of the connectors and drives are different for the different interfaces. Like 2.5", M.2 is a form factor. It was also called "gum stick" for a while since it's only the size of a stick of gum. The smaller size makes it easier to fit in different machines and more mobile applications. SATA also has a M.2 form factor but the connector is slightly different.

    Most NVMe drives that people use come in the M.2 form factor. However there are actually NVMe drives that come in a PCIe card form factor that are meant to directly plug into a PCIe slot, as well as something called a U.2 form factor which is similar to a 2.5" SATA.
  2. m.2 is the form factor.

    M.2 drives can be either SATA or PCI-e (NVMe).
    Obviously, the PCI-e is faster. It requires a motherboard that can use it.

    An m.2 SATA drive will run at the same speed as a 2.5" SATA drive.
    An m.2 NVMe, connected to the motherboard port or a PCI-e slot will run at that much faster speed.
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