It is a mobile solid-state drive.
Actually,m.2 SSD is the new generation of small size SSD and it’s based on PCIe interface and NVMe protocol so its operating speed can go up to 3 times faster than standard SATA3 SSD.
‘Realtek rtl8231’is the earliest model of m.2″ which was equipped with original intel I220V controller that supported PCI Express Specification Gen 2 (5 GT/s)×1 lane/Gen 1 (SATA 6 Gbps)/Gen 2 (PCIe Gen 2×2 lanes).it used x4 lanes in most models and x2 lanes in few models with the maximum bandwidth of 5 Gbit/s.
Though the speed of x4 lanes(3200MB/s) was much slower than other successor versions,it was the first generation of m.2 SSD to become popular due to its low price and easy compatibility with standard PC system. It could be installed in any slot that meets the physical dimensions of half-length PCI Express Mini Card layout (22×50mm).
There are two models for Realtek rtl8231:128GB and 256GB.the 128GB model uses one piece or 2 pieces of NAND flash chips by SK Hynix each package capacity is 16GB while the 256 GB version used 4 pieces or 8 pieces NAND flash chip package which capacity is 32GB in total. But, there are some fakes of this model that uses the same label design,so it’s hard to tell the difference between original and fake.
it’s easy to see why people fall for this scam.2 pieces out 8 pieces capacity is almost half the capacity of real product, and you will get much cheaper price if you choose a knock-off version.
if you want to know how to avoid or not be cheated by them, you can read our article here: how to avoid fake m.2 SSD.
The other models are much faster because they used a more powerful controller with a maximum bandwidth up to 2 times faster than the first-generation model(10 Gbit/s) and also use x4 lanes,so we would recommend those who need fast and cheap m.2 SSD to choose them instead of the first-generation model.
In the past,the most expensive models(WD 600p) cost nearly $160 and the cheapest one was only $50,but now you don’t need to spend that much because there are many affordable models such as `Kingston`s ‘HyperX Predator PCIe Gen3x4 NVMe’which is only $70 on amazon.
Remember that quality is always the first consideration, despite of m.2 ssd price or appearance is the best looking among similar products, so quality is always the most important factor in purchasing an m.2 SSD.
What is the difference between m.2 and nvme SSD?
Generally speaking,m.2 and nvme SSD are devices of different size and it’s based on PCIe interface and NVMe protocol, so they have similar operating speed but the main difference is m.2 SSD usually use PCI express interface as its host controller while nvme SSD uses an embedded chip which is called non-volatile memory express(NVM Express) as host controller. and most of the time payment to data transmission rate or specifically burst transfer rate can be used to distinguish between them:
0–300 MB/s:m.2 SSD 3–2000 MB/s:NVMe SSD
As we see, the peak data throughput rate of NVMe is lower than m.2 ssd ,but the difference is not big so you can’t tell them the different only by the peak data throughput rate.
The main point is nvme ssd usually has lower latency than m.2 ssd,so it’s easier to get good performance in any scenario compared with m.2 SSD having higher latency.and if you’re looking for cheap nvme ssd,we’d recommend this list of best 6 affordable nvme ssd which are all under $150(in fact,the cheapest one is about $80).
Which SSD is best for gaming? nvme or m.2?
To be honest,m.2 SSD is not slower than nvme SSD, and its price is a little bit higher than some models of nvme SSD with same capacity and speed, so the only reason that you want to choose it must be your priority of its smaller size .you can find more details about this here: the best m.2 SSD on the market.
But if you’re looking for the fastest or rather most reliable storage device as possible as you can, we’d recommend NVMe over m.2 SSD because it doesn’t have a power/performance limitation problem which might affect the performance of many m.2 SSD’s when they need to save energy. (and some high-end motherboards only support NVMe SSD).on the other hand, NVMe might not be faster than m.2 in some specific scenarios, and it’s the price is much higher than m.2 SSD when they have the same capacity and speed.
so when you want to get the best performance for your money,we would recommend you choose NVMe over m.2 SSD which can provide much better performance in any scenario including games if their prices are close to each other(which is not a common case).
How to put an NVME SSD into the laptop?
Actually, it’s easy because there are many different sizes of M.2 SSD available on market nowadays, and not all laptops support only one type of M.2 SSD(when it comes to size), so if you are looking for the best nvme SSD for a gaming laptop, you must know the exact socket type of your laptop which support nvme SSD before making any decision in this regard.