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M2 SATA to PCIe

It's been a few years since I've played around with computers so I've completely missed the whole SSD show. Soon, from swapping an SDD on my wife's Dell, I'll have a 32Gb M2 SATA SSD just laying around. I was thinking of using it as a temp and pagefile drive on my main machine.

I've found PCIe cards that have 2x SATA inputs - effectively adding 2 SATA ports to my machine through the PCIe interface - and I've also found cards that convert an M2 SATA SSD to a standard SATA slot - and most of them are also PCIe cards (I gather they use power from the PCIe slot). Both of these cards are relatively cheap and speed isn't an issue since almost any SSD solution will be faster than a (SATA2) WD black HDD. So ...

... what I can't figure out - or simply can't find - is the PCIe card that will take the M2 SATA SSD and take it straight to the PCIe slot without having to use two different cards. I just can't imagine that such cards don't exist but so far I haven't found any.

Am I missing something here or is buying two cards my only solution?!?
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. the simplest way to connect M.2 SATA drive to your system is to put it in M.2 slot.
    if there is no M.2 slot in your computer:
    1. use M.2 to SATA adapter like https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-2-5-Inch-Adapter-Protective-SAT2M2NGFF25/dp/B00PY11SYM but there are much cheaper options. I got mine from ebay for ~10$ including shipping.
    2. use M.2 to PCIe card like https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-M-2-Adapter-PCIe-Express/dp/B017IM54GM?th=1 again, there are cheaper options
    in case of PCIe adapter, be sure to check it supports your disk (key and protocol)
  2. n0ns3ns3 said:
    the simplest way to connect M.2 SATA drive to your system is to put it in M.2 slot.
    Nope


    n0ns3ns3 said:
    if there is no M.2 slot in your computer:
    1. use M.2 to SATA adapter like https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-2-5-Inch-Adapter-Protective-SAT2M2NGFF25/dp/B00PY11SYM but there are much cheaper options. I got mine from ebay for ~10$ including shipping.
    As stated above, all my SATA slots will be used by existing drives.

    n0ns3ns3 said:
    2. use M.2 to PCIe card like https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-M-2-Adapter-PCIe-Express/dp/B017IM54GM?th=1 again, there are cheaper options
    in case of PCIe adapter, be sure to check it supports your disk (key and protocol)
    I did find this card but couldn't believe I'd have to get into the $50 range for a SATA to PCIe converter. :-(

    What had me completely confused here were cards like these: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA2RP3S20037

    After pouring through more articles and tech specs on several cards you can kinda' sorta' figure out that these card sellers use "B-key" as an interchangeable description for "SATA based" and "M-key" for "PCIe based" SSDs even though there are many SSDs that don't hold to that convention. For example, the M.2 SSD that I'd be using is B+M keyed (so it would fit the M-key slot) but it's SATA based so I'm pretty sure at this point that even though it would physically fit it wouldn't work because it's using the wrong protocol.


    I think my best choice is a SATA 3 enclosure to USB 3.1. It's a lot cheaper and is just as fast since the SATA SSD is limited to 6Gb/s anyway. Not quite as clean and neat but workable and more affordable.


    Thanks for trying to help ...
  3. If you look at the difference, between M and B slots, it's the side with the notch.
    the M+B have them both and can be used with "pure" M or "pure" B or both disks.
    On the card you posted, the upper slot is B which is exactly what you need.
    read more here:
    http://electronicdesign.com/blog/what-s-difference-between-m2-modules
  4. n0ns3ns3 said:
    If you look at the difference, between M and B slots, it's the side with the notch.
    the M+B have them both and can be used with "pure" M or "pure" B or both disks.
    On the card you posted, the upper slot is B which is exactly what you need.
    If I'm reading the card information correctly it isn't what I need since the B-key option seems to require a SATA slot on my motherboard (MB). Please note: I do not have any more MB SATA slots available on this build. It will already be full of SATA HDDs plus a new Samsung 850 Evo for the boot drive. However, I do have plenty of PCIe slots available including a PCIe x4 that I'd like to take advantage of.


    n0ns3ns3 said:
    OK. So, after reading that article it seems you're saying the B+M key SSD (Dell upgrade leftover) can be plugged into a cheap M.2 M-key slot card and will connect to my motherboard through the PCIe bus (without using a SATA slot) ---- even though it's currently running SATA on the Dell?!?

    PS: For example
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA86V4U72862&cm_re=PCIe_ssd_card-_-9SIA86V4U72862-_-Product


    Are all (or at least most) M.2 B+M keyed SSDs capable of using both SATA and PCIe interfaces?!? (though not at the same time, of course) I got the impression an SSD was either PCIe or SATA - but not both?!?
  5. no, this card will not work.
    i'll try to elaborate.
    M.2 disks can be:
    1. NVMe protocol
    2. SATA protocol
    So your's is the later. In order to connect it to a PCIe card, the card has to be able to translate SATA to PCIe.
    the first card you posted (the red one) can do that.
    the second card (black) does not - it simply rewires the NVMe SSD to PCIe.
  6. n0ns3ns3 said:
    no, this card will not work.
    i'll try to elaborate.
    M.2 disks can be:
    1. NVMe protocol
    2. SATA protocol
    So your's is the later.
    OK, at least that much is straightened out, now. I kept seeing SATA-based and PCIe-based when reading through the articles but your previously linked article seemed to say all SATA-based were B-key and all PCIe-based were M-key. Didn't make sense to me, either, but that's the impression one gets reading it.


    n0ns3ns3 said:
    In order to connect it to a PCIe card, the card has to be able to translate SATA to PCIe.
    the first card you posted (the red one) can do that.
    the second card (black) does not - it simply rewires the NVMe SSD to PCIe.
    If the first card can do that then why does it have a female SATA out to connect to the MB? I guess what I'm trying to figure out is how you know the red card can do this. Here's part of what I see to conclude it needs a SATA connection to the MB:

    "Input pcie x4 or Sata3.0" (can translate/adapt M.2 SSD PCIe protocol or M.2 SSD SATA protocol)
    "Output expand two port female NGFF(M.2) solt Key M & Key B" (can use either M.2 SSD configuration)
    But ...
    "transfer speed 6Gbps" (implies SATA 3 only - it doesn't list PCIe 3 x4 speeds anywhere)

    From which I interpret: it can use either PCIe-based or SATA-based SSDs but it still ends up needing a SATA cable going to the MB.


    I'm not trying to be difficult here, I'm just trying to understand. I'd rather not need to ask for help if something like this comes up again in the future. Right now I'm still floundering around trying to make sense of it all.


    Except for missing all the SSD stuff of the last few years I'm actually pretty fair with computer hardware** including OCing and water cooling before it was cheap and easy to do both. (I still prefer a pair of D5's over a single MCP35x :-) I've been doing Homebrew since 1991 - the wife's Dell was our first off-the-shelf computer since 1989 - but my last build was 2008, so I'm in very dire need of an upgrade.
  7. I know, off topic ;->
    n0ns3ns3 said:
    Full hardline custom loop
    PS --- I love your WC setup. Hardlines are a PITA, though. I tried it once using copper, didn't work out so good.

    I still use copper connectors and pipe where I can with quality PVC and solid (automotive grade) SS&brass screw clamps everywhere else. I'm hoping I can make the old Fuzion block work on the new machine even if I have to fab a couple of mounting pieces. I've given up radical OCing so almost any block should be plenty as long as it's a snug fit.
  8. Best answer
    you are correct about that red card. it has to be connected to a MB SATA port.
    for some reason the M.2 SATA to PCIe cards are around 50$ which makes it pointless.
    you can do:
    get SATA expansion card like this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/WBTUO-LT107-2-SATA-3-0-2-ESATA-3-0-2-Ports-PCI-E-Express-Card/32615953944.html?spm=2114.01010208.3.139.LsLaPa&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_1_10065_10068_433_434_10136_10137_10138_10060_10062_10141_10056_10055_10054_10059_123_10531_10099_10530_10103_10102_10096_10052_10144_10053_10050_10107_10142_10051_10106_10143_10526_10529_10084_10083_10119_10080_10082_10081_10110_10111_10112_10113_10114_10078_10079_10073_10070_10122_10123_10120_10124-10052_10531_10120,searchweb201603_7,afswitch_1_afChannel,ppcSwitch_5,single_sort_0_price_asc&btsid=aa1c7c92-a4b2-49fc-8021-6a4e964ab96b&algo_expid=d0f98133-a241-4d3e-a9d8-1bb3e370ae39-16&algo_pvid=d0f98133-a241-4d3e-a9d8-1bb3e370ae39
    and the m.2 to 2.5" sata enclosure - that will be around 12-15$ total.

    the off topic topic:
    it's more than just PITA, it's glass tubing project :) aligning components is the whole "fun"
    I did a "mistake" with front rad - ordered the HWLabs blackice nemesis GTS 240 XFlow. And only than found the alphacool ST30 XFlow which conveniently has ports on both sides. I had to rout tubing behind the pump :(
    now I have to do one of the following:
    1. get second ST30 and have no use for nemesis - shame, i like the finish much more
    2. Switch between top and front rad, but then I'll have no beautiful and simple line from top rad down to GPU.
    3. Leave it as is, and treat my OCD not to be annoyed by it :)
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