back to article WD slims down SSD to squeeze into little Black drive range

WD has added an SSD card to its previously all-disk Black range. The Black PCIe SSD comes in 256GB asnd 512GB capacities and features an M.2 2280 format with an NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 host connection. It is WD's third flash product using branding previously reserved for disk drives, joining the Blue and Green 2.5-inch SARA SSDs. …

  1. batfastad

    Installation complexity!

    > The word "building" indicates the level of installation complexity.

    > You need to get inside your PC or notebook to install it and may well need a somewhat specialised allen key-type screwdriver to fasten the locking nut that holds the end of the card once it is plugged into its socket.

    I'd say it's almost identically complex as installing a 2.5" drive, perhaps even less so. Often you'll have multiple screws, buffers, caddies, proprietary-clip-on-SATA-right-angle-mungers etc.

    When working in IT it's easy to forget how difficult things can be for the typical punter but I don't think the installation of an M2 drive deserves the ranking of "complex".

    £189 for 512GB NVMe M2 drive... now that is tempting!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Installation complexity!

      "When working in IT it's easy to forget how difficult things can be for the typical punter but I don't think the installation of an M2 drive deserves the ranking of "complex"."

      I don't think they are calling it "complex" so much as "not a lift-the-cover-and-pop-it-in job". If you're familiar with the innards of your computer, you've probably got the skills, but if your idea of adding a hard drive involves going to the computer shop, perhaps you should do that instead. To use a car metaphor, this is somewhere along the skill level of changing your own oil or replacing the air filter.

      1. batfastad

        Re: Installation complexity!

        This is an IT site. Any reader will be aware that a hardware upgrade will involve a bit of rummaging in the giblets of a machine. Installing this WD NVMe M2 SSD is no more complex than any other laptop hardware upgrade. I was just surprised it was even mentioned in reference to this specific product.

  2. Graham Cobb

    What sort of motherboard slot?

    I will admit to knowing nothing about NVMe or M2! Is this a card that plugs into a PCI slot? Or does it plug into an M2 slot (presumably a different type of slot on a motherboard)? Or something else?

    I am wondering what sort of motherboard features I will need to look out for on my next upgrade so that I can use these sorts of drives. As I tend to keep a motherboard for about 5 years, but add disk capacity steadily, I am particularly interested in what I will need to be able to use large versions (multi-TB) when they become available for the consumer market.

    1. tekgun

      Re: What sort of motherboard slot?

      M2 slots can be found on some of the newer motherboards, the PCI bit means it uses PCI lanes (faster) opposed to sata lanes (slower), as you can also get m2 sata ssd's.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What sort of motherboard slot?

      M.2 and NVMe are two aspects of a newer drive standard designed for solid-state and portable (as in laptop) applications. NVMe is the slot spec, M.2 is the physical device spec. Since you mention a five-year cycle, you probably don't have a capable motherboard, and that's no big shakes since the standard's only been around a few years now.

      To summarize, solid state drives don't need big honking housings (M.2 drives as you can see are comparatively tiny, the numbers used in the spec describe sizes) nor do they need interfaces designed for slow spinning rust (good NVMe drives hook direct to the PCI Express bus, addressing them more as memory than as drives). End result, a highly efficient drive bus you can still squeeze into a laptop.

      But who's to say laptops have to have all the fun? Servers caught on to the idea first because space is also a premium to them; smaller drives mean you can cram in more of them or give the case more room to breathe (being solid-state with higher reliability helps, too), and with two legs of the computer triangle already down, endpoint PC makers realized the future is PCIe-attached SSDs: likely followed by SSDs as RAM (this is probably waiting on post-DRAM tech: a while longer right now). Since the wiring is PCIe-compatible, it doesn't take much work to shift some lanes into an NVMe slot or two. If you have a spare 4x PCIe slot, you can fit a bridge card that lets you take an NVMe drive as a stopgap, but future computers will already have the slots on board the way SATA ports were included in the past.

  3. N13L5

    Re: skill level of changing your own oil or replacing the air filter.

    Give me a break! Changing your car's oil is a massive and messy undertaking compared to this.

    Its a single little screw!

    Ok, If you don't know how to open the case of your device, fine, let your 14 year old do it for you.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: skill level of changing your own oil or replacing the air filter.

      And if you don't HAVE a 14-year-old in your immediate area (say it's an elderly community and the younger generations are medico-trained instead of tech-trained)?

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