Entry Level - M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives
M.2 NVMe Solid State Drive Classifications
When it comes to a PC’s system “responsiveness”, storage is one of the most crucial hardware components. The faster the drive, the faster the system boots, the faster apps launch, and the faster files save. When choosing what M.2 NVMe SSD is best for your needs, there are a couple things to consider. First is the form factor (mainly the length of the drive). While most M.2 drives are 22mm wide and 80mm long, there are some that are shorter or longer. You can tell by the four or five digit number in their names, with the first two digits representing width and the others showing length. The most common size is labeled M.2 2280. Some laptops will only support a M.2 2230 or M.2 2242 drives, but most laptops and desktops support M.2 2280 drives. Second is what type of usage is the drive for. Generally, QLC NAND SSDs are purchased when larger capacities are desired at a less expensive price and TLC NAND SSDs are purchased for consistency and reliability. Another major consideration when selecting a M.2 SSD is what controller it has. There are different controllers – four or eight channel, one or more cores, etc. Lastly is the endurance (TBW) and (DWPD) rating for the drive's reliability and lifespan. Note: M.2 NVMe Generation 4.0 drives are backwards compatible and can be installed in PCs that support Generation 3.0, but they will run at Generation 3.0 speeds due to the system board limitations.
Entry Level M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives
Entry-Level M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives are SATA replacement drives that are suitable for light OS use, general data storage and are a good option for laptops, ultrabooks and SFF desktops. These drives tend to have weaker, four-channel controllers with less or no DRAM. Most QLC drives fall into the entry level category because they require more flash to hit peak performance due to denser flash and the parallel nature of SSD design.
Mid Level M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives
Mid-Level M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives are the best consumer drives with high performance in Laptops, Ultrabooks and SFF Desktops. Generally these SSDs have powerful eight-channel controllers, sufficient DRAM, higher quality NAND flash and have a decent endurance (TBW) and (DWPD) rating. Drives in this category will give you the best user experience while being more affordable than pro level drives. These are an option if budget is important, but you don't want to go with a lower performance entry level drive.
Pro Level M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives
Pro-Level M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives are the very best SSDs on the market. They are extremely fast and have the most powerful eight-channel controllers, use the highest quality NAND flash and have the highest endurance (TBW) and (DWPD) rating of any SSDs on the market. Pro level drives are suitable for any type of usage and are commonly found in the following devices and environments - gaming devices, laptops and desktops, heavy-duty workstation devices that process loads of data through the system in short periods of time, and to create/edit photos and videos. Pro level NVMe SSDs used in conjunction with top-rated high-end CPUs and GPUs deliver the greatest performance benefits.