Closer Look: MyDigitalSSD m.2 SSD
The only reason that most SSDs you’ll see today look like 2.5″ hard drives is so they can more easily fit into existing computers. The 2.5″ form factor and SATA power and interface cables are much smaller than the 3.5″ SATA drives that still dominate the consumer storage market, but are still quite large when compared with the actual circuitry comprising a modern SSD.
MyDigitalSSD is a division of My Digital Discount, and they offer a wide variety of SSDs in PATA, SATA, half-SATA, micro SATA, mSATA, and m.2 form factors…so whatever your system needs, they’ve got it. (The PATA products are handy for collectors to modernize older computers.) The m.2 form factor is displacing “intermediate” form factors like mSATA, providing a more universal standard with the potential, in its PCI-E variants, of much higher performance.
An m.2 drive is a stick of circuitry with a connector on one end. While all m.2 drives are 22mm wide, the m.2 standard defines four lengths: 30, 42, 60, and 80mm. Depending on your motherboard, your m.2 slot may not offer enough room for the larger 60 and 80mm variants, so check this before you buy an m.2 drive. The MyDigitalSSD’s MDM242-SB-256, at 42mm long, is the second variant. m.2 also supports direct connection to PCI-E lanes for much faster performance than SATA, but the MyDigitalSSD we’re reviewing today uses the legacy SATA interface.
A “2242” m.2 drive is tiny. Here’s the MyDigitalSSD drive on top of the ADATA 256GB SSD in the standard 2.5″ form factor that I reviewed recently. Note that both drives have roughly the same capacity.
With no case to put labels or stickers on, vendors are forced to simply place a label directly on top of the electronics.
The opposite side of the MyDigitalSSD m.2 drive has a single chip covered by another sticker. Is it the controller? Cache RAM? Who knows? What is interesting is that the sticker on one side says it’s a 240GB drive, while the sticker on the other side labels it a 256GB drive. Since a simple Windows volume created on this drive has under 230GB of space, I’ll refer to it as a “240GB drive”.
Since our SSD test rig doesn’t have an m.2 slot, I used a StarTech SAT32M225 M.2 NGFF SSD to 2.5in SATA adapter ($22.99 at Newegg). Since this is a SATA m.2 drive rather than a PCI-E m.2 drive, the use of the adapter will not affect performance.
The Super Boot Drive comes unformatted, and includes no backup or other utility software. Let’s start running this drive through our benchmark suite in the next section.