Where are the sales on M.2/PCIe SSD drives?

DaRuSsIaMaN

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So I vaguely check Anandtech from time to time. It seems that they've been talking about the new SSD drives that are in non-SATA format for a while now, and I guess the M.2 format/interface solidified as the future standard (correct me if I'm wrong?). Soo... where are the sales on these things? How come I still have not seen a single one of these in any promo email from Newegg, for instance? Aren't these new-format drives out there in the market now?
 

wirk

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M.2/PCIe/NVME interface is new and so SSDs for it are even newer. There is chicken&egg problem here, unless there are enough mobos with this interface there is no incentive to produce the SSDs and unless there are no SSDs there is no incentive to make mobos with this interface. But things are beginning to change though this is still very little.

M.2 supports up to PCIe 3.0 x4 and in addition to it there is new much more efficient NVME protocol, together their can provide bandwidth in the range of 3 GB/s. The few currently available SSDs are only PCIe 2.0x2 and no NVME. Upgrading requires new chips for SSD controllers and such chips are in development. Samsung is currently sampling to the OEM manufacturers SM951 M.2 SSD which fully implements the new protocols, but it is not known if this will be available in retail. One should expect the new SSDs will become available at some point in 2015.

By the way, Intel makes SSDs in the PCIe card format which are 3.0 x4 and NVME but being so new they carry enterprise price stickers. This means Intel has all the technology ready, they just have to produce such SSDs in the M.2 card format which should be happening in 2015.
 

Trimlock

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You don't see cutting edge stuff like this usually go on deals. They affect such a small portion of the users it won't really attract many extra lookers. The idea behind these deals is to place stuff that a majority of the shoppers can use and these exotic forms of storage are very niche.
 

wirk

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You don't see cutting edge stuff like this usually go on deals. They affect such a small portion of the users it won't really attract many extra lookers. The idea behind these deals is to place stuff that a majority of the shoppers can use and these exotic forms of storage are very niche.

They are exotic only during transition period, become the norm after some time. There is nothing now but in 1 year every SSD manufacturer should have 'high-end' PCIe 3.0x4 NVME SSDs in their lineup, carrying premium price of course.
 

Trimlock

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They are exotic only during transition period, become the norm after some time. There is nothing now but in 1 year every SSD manufacturer should have 'high-end' PCIe 3.0x4 NVME SSDs in their lineup, carrying premium price of course.

I don't disagree with this but that's not the topic at hand.
 

DaRuSsIaMaN

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M.2/PCIe/NVME interface is new and so SSDs for it are even newer. There is chicken&egg problem here, unless there are enough mobos with this interface there is no incentive to produce the SSDs and unless there are no SSDs there is no incentive to make mobos with this interface.

Wait, I'm confused. I thought part of the appeal of this whole movement is that it takes advantage of an already existing interface/protocol -- PCIe -- that is faster than SATA 3? I get that M.2 is a new type of port, but I thought it was just a new type of physical plug, rather than a whole new way of pumping data back and forth. Anyway, every motherboard already has PCIe, so what other support is necessary? Can't you just design SSDs that sit on a card that plugs into a PCIe port?
 

wirk

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Wait, I'm confused. I thought part of the appeal of this whole movement is that it takes advantage of an already existing interface/protocol -- PCIe -- that is faster than SATA 3? I get that M.2 is a new type of port, but I thought it was just a new type of physical plug, rather than a whole new way of pumping data back and forth. Anyway, every motherboard already has PCIe, so what other support is necessary? Can't you just design SSDs that sit on a card that plugs into a PCIe port?

Both M.2 and PCIe are not new /though PCIe 3.0 is quite new/ but their combination is. On top of them there is new NVME protocol for data transfer which is much faster than the old one. There are PCIe cards which accommodate SSDs but for SATA SSDs. Really modern approach is either M.2/PCIe3.0x4/NVME of which there is no product yet or PCIe3.0x4/NVME of which there are Intel cards available.

Waiting for the 128GB Samsung SM951.

This is first really modern M.2 SSD, note though that it is not ultimate since its speed is 1.8GB/s while the interface allows up to 3.2 GB/s which should be achievable with advanced SSD controllers and architecture. It is not known if and when this SSD will be available in retail.
 

mw8t

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This is first really modern M.2 SSD, note though that it is not ultimate since its speed is 1.8GB/s while the interface allows up to 3.2 GB/s which should be achievable with advanced SSD controllers and architecture. It is not known if and when this SSD will be available in retail.

RamCity have confirmed they will be selling it.
 

omniscence

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This is first really modern M.2 SSD, note though that it is not ultimate since its speed is 1.8GB/s while the interface allows up to 3.2 GB/s which should be achievable with advanced SSD controllers and architecture. It is not known if and when this SSD will be available in retail.

For the average consumer a PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD cannot really be maxed out anyway. The widespread socket 1155/1150 platform just has 16 fast lanes and I'm not conviced that it is worth it to only use 8 of that for the GPU just to get 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes to an SSD. On the PCH they will be limited to 2 GB/s, shared with every other controller. While it may be possible with the controllers, there is no need to outfit the SSDs with many parallel channel to max out the bandwidth most users cannot utilize.

So while the prices will come down, I do not expect a level that we have with current SATA3 SSDs. There will be SSDs for enthusiasts, but they will not come for free.
 

wirk

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For the average consumer a PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD cannot really be maxed out anyway. The widespread socket 1155/1150 platform just has 16 fast lanes and I'm not conviced that it is worth it to only use 8 of that for the GPU just to get 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes to an SSD. On the PCH they will be limited to 2 GB/s, shared with every other controller. While it may be possible with the controllers, there is no need to outfit the SSDs with many parallel channel to max out the bandwidth most users cannot utilize.
So while the prices will come down, I do not expect a level that we have with current SATA3 SSDs. There will be SSDs for enthusiasts, but they will not come for free.

You are right now but in longer perspective things will happen even if they are not painfully needed. SSDs speed is throttled by SATA. The only way forward is PCIe/NVME. M2 has been mostly targeted for laptops but is now adopted for mobos since it is very handy. Note that there is SATA Express which is PCIe but limited to 2 PCIe lines. SATA Express storage is also coming, even to traditional hard drives. Gradually we can expect shift to PCIe, the number of PCIe lines will be increasing or they will be multiplexed. What we may even see in the future is M.2/PCIe/NVME SSD becoming main storage place for typical users for whose storage up to 1TB is sufficient.

There is every reason to expect that all manufacturers of SSDs will be have PCIe/NVME models in their lineups one year from now.
 

OldSchool

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I was so, so close to buying a 256GB XP941 from newegg yesterday for my new X99 build, it just seemed that it may be a bit too early to adopt it as my primary system drive. I ended up going with a Samsung EVO 840 - which seemed to be close enough to the XP941 in real world benchmarks. My board has a 4x M.2 slot so I may get one in the future when they are a little cheaper or more common...
 

CrazyRob

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I'm not sure if this is breaking any thread rules, but it seems relevant given the direction of this discussion.

My buddy has run into a similar but opposite problem, In that he won an m.2 PCI-E ssd, but is unable to use it. (although his board has an m.2 PCI-E slot, there physically isn't enough room to fit the ssd, as it's blocked by the Maximus VII Formula's vrm cooler/waterblock). As it is an early generation m.2 pci-e SSD, it uses ahci isntead of nvme.

If you're still interested in a deal on an m.2 PCI-E ssd, he's put it up on e-bay after not finding any interest on the fs/ft forums here.
Ebay link.

*edit* I kept saying sata when I meant pci-e lol.
 
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MrGuvernment

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I'm not sure if this is breaking any thread rules, but it seems relevant given the direction of this discussion.

My buddy has run into a similar but opposite problem, In that he won an m.2 PCI-E ssd, but is unable to use it. (although his board has an m.2 sata slot, there physically isn't enough room to fit the ssd, as it's blocked by the Maximus VII Formula's vrm cooler/waterblock). As it is an early generation m.2 pci-e SSD, it uses ahci isntead of nvme.

If you're still interested in a deal on an m.2 PCI-E ssd, he's put it up on e-bay after not finding any interest on the fs/ft forums here.
Ebay link.

Stinks, pain for m.2 since it has 3 standard the 2220 /40/80 sizes i think they are...

I hate when they come with new standards with multiple options, just keep it to 1 universal interface!
 

wirk

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This illustrates status of those things: Plextor M.2 SSD is PCIe but 2.0 x2 while the standard is PCIe 3.0 x4. This will not hamper operation of the Plextor as PCIe 3.0 is downward compatible but it shows the connector speed is greatly underutilized /by the factor of 4/. In 2015 there should be coming real PCIe 3.0x4/NVME SSDs as the chips are being readied.
 
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