How-To

How to Install an NVMe M.2 SSD Hard Drive and Why You Should

how-to-install-nvme-m2-ssd-samsung

Installing a new NVMe M.2 SSD Hard Drive will not only increase your system performance, it will also greatly extend the life of the device. Here’s how to install one with step-by-step instructions and screenshots.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade the performance of your PC or extend the life of an older system, the most important component to replace first is your hard drive. Suprised I didn’t say your processor, memory, or video card? That’s where many people would start and unfortunately, it would be a wrong move.

Yes, the faster the hard drive, the faster data can be read and written thus speeding up all aspects of your computer experience. In fact, test results from Samsung have shown that performance benefits are even greater when combined with other high-end components including CPUs and GPU graphics cards.

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With this in mind, today I’m going to demonstrate with screenshots how to install the next generation hard drive, which leverages the new Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol, connected to your computer using an M.2 PCIe slot. That’s right, no messy cables required for these new hard drives!

Photos below were taken while building my latest Windows rig in 2018. The motherboard is the ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-E and the hard drive is the Samsung 960 Pro NVMe M.2. If your motherboard doesn’t have an M.2 PCIe slot, don’t panic. You can grab an M.2 PCIe Adapter on Amazon for under $20. A great option for older systems.

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A quick reminder before getting started: you should never open your computer and start touching components without an anti-static wristband on — I use the Vastar ESD which is inexpensive but works great.

Start off by opening your system and locating the M.2 PCIe slot.

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On my ASUS ROG Motherboard (which I absolutely LOVE), the M.2 interface was hidden under a plate used to keep the drive cool.

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It can be quite shocking the first time you find the M.2 port. It’s small and compact.

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Install the motherboard standoff screw based on the length of your M.2 SSD drive. Most drives these days, including mine, use the M.2 2280 form factor.

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With the standoff screw in place, now’s the time to gently slide in the drive into the M.2 slot. Start at a 30-degree angle. It’s slightly notched as shown below.

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Push from the back, using just medium pressure. Do not force it.

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After installation, it will sit in a raised position. This is normal.

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Push down so the SSD is flush with the motherboard and sitting on the standoff mount screw.

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Screw down the SSD drive to the motherboard standoff mount. Tighten until it’s snug. No need to torque it down.

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Here’s what it looks like installed.

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With the introduction of the new NVMe SSD drives, there is no better time than now to upgrade the overall performance and reliability of your computer. The Samsung NVMe M.2 drives finally unleash the full potential of the latest memory chips out there, blowing through the 600 MB/s limitation of SATA.


6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Trey Tudor  

    Awesome tutorial! Clear, concise, and informative. The photos are extremely helpful as well. Thank you!

    • Awesome. Thanks for the feedback Trey. Glad it was helpful to you.

  2. Paul Fullmer  

    Can this device be installed in a Lenovo (non-Samsung) laptop? Thanks!

    • Yeah you bet, this is a new STANDARD so it’s not just isolated to Samsung equipment. Unlike a Desktop PC however, you can’t install a PCIe card to get the M.2 slot if your motherboard doesn’t have it. So, on your laptop, check with your manufacturer via your manual or Google to see if you have an M.2 slot on your Laptop motherboard. From there you can look into installing an NVME drive that fits it.

      But, in the future, 100% be sure to verify you buy a Laptop with an NVME SSD Hard Drive vs. the legacy, outdated SATA SSD.

  3. Troy  

    Is this the future for hard drives? Honestly, this new tech looks like a memory stick. I love the fact that there are no cables and the speed is just incredible… Unfortunately, I don’t have a motherboard with m.2 slots.

    But what happens if I want to have two of them? Seems like I’m losing something if I want to have multiple hard drives / storage.

    • Yes – this is the future of Hard Drives in computers. The NVMe protocol gives you disk IO performance never before possible with SATA.

      As mentioned in the article, if you don’t have M.2 slots on your desktop PC, check to see if you have any open PCIe slots. You can then buy an M.2 PCIe Adapter card — https://amzn.to/2r6SUyc and go from there.

      Regarding multiple NVMe hard drives – my motherboard actually does have two M.2 slots so I’m golden. No need to burn a PCIe slot. For now, however, I just installed a single drive as 1TB is good enough. In the future, however, as prices drop I’ll probably grab a 2TB or 4TB to get the extra space in a year or two. Again, right now the 2TB is available but way too expensive – $1346.00 USD as of May 2018 https://amzn.to/2K51Nz4. Will be waiting for prices to come down.

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