Question Which desktop of any size (tower, mini-tower, small form-factor, etc) have M.2 slots built in?

koesherbacon

Novice Member
Hello there, I'm hoping some of you can help me out here. My laptop has finally 'given up the ghost' so to speak. For a very long time now, this laptop has functioned exactly as a desktop would:
  • Connected to a much larger monitor
  • Lid closed and screen turned off
  • External mouse and keyboard
  • And so on
I know there are inexpensive kits out there that'll convert a 2.5" laptop SSD into a 3.5" desktop SSD for me, so my good ol' fashion laptop-size SSD shouldn't be any problem whatsoever in terms of transfering from my non-working laptop into a desktop. That said, I am quite worried that I might find what looks to be a great deal but lacks an internal M.2 slot for either my older but still reliable 1TiB NVMe or a newly purchased 1TiB SATA SSD . I kind of regret buying the new SATA model since my laptop seems to have bitten the dust only about a month after purchasing and installing it.

I use Linux exclusively so disk partitioning is important to me. Whichever type of my M.2 SSDs that's installed on desktop does not make much a difference to me because I'll just pop the other on into a USB-C external enclosure. Whichever one ends up inside the new computer will end up being partitioned so the first partition will house my /, /boot. /root, /usr, /etc, and other essential root-filesystem directories. That first partition is followed by a much larger partition housing my /home. And, finally a 3rd partition that's my Swap. The other 2.5" SATA SSD installed will continue to function as extra storage in addition to my /home directory. I use this partition scheme so that if something causes my Linux Distro to have a major problem while continuing to learn about Linux as a whole, I don't lose any of my most important files. A Linux Distro can be removed, reinstalled, or tossed away in order to install a new one while the /home directory remains the same.

So anyway, I just really don't want order a new computer without making absolutely certain that I will be able to utilize both an internal SATA SSD as well as an internal M.2 SATA/NVMe SSD at the same time.

I also want to make sure that whatever ends up being suggested won't be too expensive. I don't play any games, so I don't need a gaming rig, all I need is a reliable desktop that I can use to continuing to learn about coding as well as Linux. I'm just looking for a computer that isn't too expensive and will be able to perform exactly as I'm hoping.

So, can anybody recommend some desktops for me that will fit the criteria above?

I hope you and your families are all staying healthy during this COVID-19 epidemic! This is obviously a very difficult time for everybody, so thanks so much for taking a look at my questions and providing me with any advice you can give!
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
3.5" SSDs have never existed, the form factor was only used for hard drives. All recent SATA SSDs either use 2.5" or M.2 form factors.

Also, drive manufacturers give capacities are in terabytes, not tibibytes (or tebibytes or whatever it was supposed to be).

M.2 drives use either the SATA or PCI-E interface so adaptors are inexpensive, the only desktops it might be impossible to connect them too are the very smallest ones that only have a single storage connection and no expansion slots.

In short, the majority of desktops will meet your criteria.
 

aybracers

Standard Member
If you want an M2 socket on the motherboard you will need quite a modern one. Also, some motherboard sockets support both SATA and NVMe interface, so you need to choose wisely. Alternatively Startech make a PCIe add on card that can hold a M2 drive - not sure if you can boot from it though
 

tickedon

Well-known Member
So anyway, I just really don't want order a new computer without making absolutely certain that I will be able to utilize both an internal SATA SSD as well as an internal M.2 SATA/NVMe SSD at the same time.

I also want to make sure that whatever ends up being suggested won't be too expensive. I don't play any games, so I don't need a gaming rig, all I need is a reliable desktop that I can use to continuing to learn about coding as well as Linux. I'm just looking for a computer that isn't too expensive and will be able to perform exactly as I'm hoping.

So, can anybody recommend some desktops for me that will fit the criteria above?

You will probably need to either go to one of the UK companies that will custom-build a desktop PC for you - and so you can specify a motherboard that has an M.2 slot - or for the standard boxes that Currys, Dell, HP etc. sell I'm afraid you'll probably need to start digging through the various technical specifications documents (which are often hard to find!) and checking to see what is included.

I can't think of an easier way to check, sorry!
 

aybracers

Standard Member
I don't think you will be able to buy a system from one of the major OEM's that will suit you. That rules out HP,Lenovo,Fujitsu,Dell or Acer. If a new OEM system has a M2 socket it probably restricts the normal SATA side - they are all made to BOM net cost. I would try some of the smaller UK companies, like Chillblast or Overclockers. If you want an Intel based system this ASUS motherboard is a good starting point - PRIME Z390M-PLUS | Motherboards | ASUS Global
It's got two M2 sockets (And more importantly, not one on top of another), it's micro ATX so you dont need a massive case. As long as you choose something like i5-9400 you won't need a discrete graphics card as you said you don't play 3D games. Add a Coolermaster Hyper 212 air cooler black edition to keep the system cool and you have a potentially very quiet fast machine.
 

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