Can Use M.2, SSD and HDD on one Computer at the Same Time? - LotsPC (2023)

The evolution of computing is an enthralling journey, with data storage at its very core. Over time, storage technology has seen significant advancements, from the large and expensive magnetic tapes of the past to the small and affordable Solid-State Drives (SSDs) and Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) of today. Recently, the advent of M.2 drives has further elevated the possibilities in terms of speed, performance, and form factor.

By bringing together M.2, SSD, and HDD in a single machine, we are investigating an intriguing possibility – a consolidated storage solution that leverages the unique strengths of these technologies. This pursuit could potentially revolutionize our understanding of storage dynamics, and redefine the limits of computing efficiency and performance.

Table of Contents

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M.2, SSD, and HDD: Distinguishing Features

Different storage technologies have been developed over time, each bringing unique advantages to the table.

M.2 Drives: Speed and Performance

M.2 drives are the newest entrant in the storage technology landscape. They are primarily known for their superior speed and performance.

  • Speed: M.2 drives, especially those using NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) interface, have exceptionally high data transfer rates. NVMe drives can have read and write speeds up to 3500 MB/s and 3000 MB/s respectively, significantly faster than traditional SSDs and HDDs.
  • Form Factor: M.2 drives are also appreciated for their compact form factor. They connect directly to the motherboard via an M.2 slot, eliminating the need for data and power cables. This streamlined design saves space, allowing for slimmer and lighter devices.

SSDs: Rapid Data Access

Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are characterized by their ability to provide rapid data access.

  • Speed: While not as fast as M.2 NVMe drives, SSDs still offer a significant speed advantage over HDDs. They are capable of read and write speeds up to 550 MB/s and 520 MB/s respectively.
  • Durability: SSDs do not have any moving parts, reducing the risk of failure due to physical damage. This makes them a durable option for mobile computing where devices are subjected to motion and impacts.

HDDs: Large Capacity and Cost-Effectiveness

Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) have been a staple in computer storage for many years. They offer significant benefits in terms of storage capacity and cost-effectiveness.

  • Storage Capacity: HDDs are available in large capacities, up to 16TB or more. This makes them ideal for storing large files or serving as a backup device.
  • Cost per GB: While not as fast as SSDs or M.2 drives, HDDs are more cost-effective when it comes to price per GB. This makes them a practical choice for storing large amounts of non-critical data.

The Merits of Simultaneously Using M.2, SSD, and HDD

While each storage technology carries its individual strengths, leveraging the benefits of M.2 drives, SSDs, and HDDs collectively in one system can open up new opportunities.

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Comprehensive Storage Solution

A diversified storage approach can lead to a comprehensive solution that capitalizes on the strengths of each storage type.

  • Performance and Capacity: Utilize the speed of M.2 and SSD for running the operating system and key applications, while the large storage space of the HDD can be used for archiving less frequently accessed data.
  • Efficiency: Align the use of each storage type with its strengths. For instance, high-speed drives (M.2 and SSD) can be used for tasks that require fast data retrieval and writing, such as video editing or gaming.

Data Safety Strategies

Implementing multiple storage devices can also enhance data security.

  • Data Duplication: Important data can be duplicated across SSD and HDD. In case one device fails, you still have a backup available on the other device.
  • System Stability: Utilizing different drives for different purposes can prevent system-wide crashes or data loss. For example, if your system runs primarily on the SSD or M.2 drive, a failure in the HDD won’t affect the system’s operation.

In-depth Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Despite the higher speed of M.2 and SSD, their cost per GB is usually higher than that of an HDD. Thus, a combination of these drives can provide an optimal balance of performance and cost.

  • Performance Cost: Using an M.2 or SSD for critical applications ensures high performance without needing to invest in large, expensive high-speed storage.
  • Storage Cost: Utilizing HDDs for high-capacity, non-critical storage allows you to save costs without compromising the storage space.

Motherboard Support for M.2, SSD, and HDD

The motherboard is a crucial factor that can influence the operation of storage devices. How motherboards can support M.2, SSD, and HDD, and the impact they may have on the performance of these storage solutions.

Motherboards Supporting M.2, SSD, and HDD

There is a range of motherboards in the market that can support M.2, SSD, and HDD simultaneously. However, the exact number of ports for each type of drive and the specific technologies they support (e.g., SATA or NVMe for M.2 and SSD) will vary.

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For instance, the ASUS PRIME Z390-A Motherboard supports both M.2 and SATA devices, including SSDs and HDDs, with multiple ports for each. It supports up to two M.2 drives and six SATA drives, allowing a diverse array of storage configurations.

Motherboard Impact on Storage Device Performance

The performance of your storage devices can be affected by the motherboard in several ways:

  • Interface Support: The motherboard must support the interface used by your storage devices (e.g., SATA, NVMe). For instance, an M.2 SSD with NVMe interface will not reach its top speeds if the motherboard only supports SATA.
  • Data Transfer Rate: The motherboard’s chipset can affect the data transfer rates of your storage devices. For instance, a chipset with higher support for SATA III can enable faster data transfer speeds for SSDs and HDDs.

How Motherboards Influence Performance and Compatibility

The motherboard’s architecture, BIOS settings, and supported technologies can influence both the performance and compatibility of your storage devices:

  • BIOS Settings: Certain BIOS settings, such as AHCI mode for SATA drives or enabling NVMe for M.2 drives, can influence device performance.
  • Hardware Compatibility: The motherboard must be compatible with the storage technology. For example, an older motherboard might not support M.2 NVMe SSDs, limiting your options for high-speed storage.

Factors to Consider when Using Multiple Storage Devices

Using M.2, SSD, and HDD simultaneously may seem ideal for achieving both speed and storage capacity. However, it’s crucial to consider various factors that can impact the viability of such an approach, including heat management, bandwidth sharing, space in your PC case, and power supply connections.

Heat Management Challenges

Higher performing storage devices like M.2 and SSDs tend to generate more heat compared to traditional HDDs. Excessive heat can lead to throttling, affecting the performance and lifespan of these drives. Hence, when planning to use multiple storage devices, consider:

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  • The cooling capabilities of your PC case.
  • The location of the drives in the case and their proximity to other heat-generating components.

Bandwidth Sharing and System Performance Impact

The simultaneous operation of multiple storage devices can lead to bandwidth sharing issues, potentially impacting the overall system performance. This is particularly true if the devices share the same controller.

To mitigate this, ensure that:

  • Your motherboard has sufficient separate controllers or ports for each device.
  • The devices are well distributed across the available ports to avoid any single point of congestion.

PC Case Space Constraints

The physical space within your PC case is another significant factor. To accommodate multiple storage devices:

  • Ensure your case has sufficient drive bays or mounting points for all the drives.
  • Check that there is enough space to route and manage the cables without obstructing airflow.

Power Supply Connections

Lastly, consider your power supply unit (PSU). Each storage device requires a power connection, so:

  • Confirm your PSU has enough connectors for all your drives.
  • Consider the total power consumption of your system to ensure the PSU can supply adequate power.


Can Use M.2, SSD and HDD on one Computer at the Same Time? - LotsPC? ›

The answer is absolutely yes. It is an excellent idea to use SSD and HDD at the same time. An SSD boasts many distinctive merits such as fast loading speed, low power consumption, and etc. So, lots of people want to install an SSD with an existing HDD.

Can you use M 2 SSD and HDD together? ›

Yes, having both SSD and HDD at the same time is absolutely a good-to-go option. An SSD comes up with many benefits that involve low power consumption and fast loading speed. Due to this reason, many users want to install an SDD with an existing HDD.

Can I use M 2 and SATA HDD together? ›

No. An M. 2 SSD will support either SATA or PCIe, but not both at the same time. In addition, system board sockets will be designated by manufacturers to support either SATA, PCIe, or in some cases, both.

Can I have 2 SSD and 1 HDD in my PC? ›

Yes. You can have any combination of SSD & HDD in PC.

Can you use NVMe and HDD together? ›

Yes. Assuming your motherboard has the sufficient (non-shared) and proper ports/connections then using NVMe, SATA SSD and SATA HDD all at the same time is possible.

Can you use NVMe and SATA at the same time? ›

Prioritize Storage – You can use an NVMe SSD in combination with another SATA SSD. This is an affordable option without having to break the bank.

Can I put HDD in M 2 slot? ›

2 slot, you can use a single NVMe or SATA M. 2 SSD, and at least four SATA 2.5 SSDs or HDDs.

Does using M 2 slot disable SATA? ›

Some M. 2 ports use the same physical pathways as SATA ports on your motherboard. This causes the motherboard to disable certain SATA ports if it detects a device in the corresponding M. 2 slot.

Can I use M 2 SSD in SATA slot? ›

Depending on its type and functionality, an M. 2 drive can make use of either the standard SATA interface or the faster PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) interface, but in both cases it plugs directly into the motherboard.

What is the difference between M 2 and NVMe? ›

2 and NVMe aren't the same, but they work in conjunction with each other. M. 2 is the SSD form factor, while NVMe is the interface that connects it to the motherboard. Combine them and you have a lightning-fast drive.

How many hard disk can be connected to a system? ›

The majority of motherboards come with 4 or 6 SATA slots. It means that you can install 4-6 hard drives to your computer. Tips: SATA, short for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, refers to the port that connects a hard drive to the motherboard.

Can SSD read and write at the same time? ›

Do solid state drives write sequentially? They can write sequentially. They typically will write that way however they're also able to write to all parts at the same time, and they can read from all parts at the same time. Since there is no “Head” to read, this is the reason that defragmenting does not help a SSD.

What should I store on my SSD and HDD? ›

Plan what goes where

Your SSD should hold your Windows system files, installed programs, and any games you're currently playing. If you have a mechanical hard drive playing wingman in your PC, it should store your large media files, productivity files, and any files you access infrequently.

How much faster is NVMe M 2 than HDD? ›

Protocol: NVMe uses solid-state storage and utilizes multi-core CPUs and gigabytes of memory, streamlining command sets to parse data efficiently. It is 100 times faster than average HDDs.

Can an M 2 slot support both SATA and NVMe? ›

2 Supports SATA and NVMe (But NVMe Won't Fit SATA Slots!) M. 2 storage drives offer the best performance out of any of today's PC storage options.

How many SSD and HDD can I have? ›

People have been asking if they can put more than one SSD in their computer and the answer is yes! You can put as many SSDs in your computer as you want, but you will need to make sure that your motherboard supports it. You will also need to make sure that you have enough room in your case to fit all of the SSDs.

How many m 2 slots can a motherboard have? ›

To utilize this particular format (and harness its many splendors), you'll need to have a motherboard with an M. 2 slot on it. Nowadays, most motherboards come with at least one or two such slots, and the highest-end ones go up to a whopping four. And you can add even more M.

Which is faster PCIe or NVMe? ›

Not only does NVMe deliver better performance, but it is also highly compatible. There is now only one software interface standard for manufacturers to adhere to, so they don't have to write their own.

Does NVMe use less power than SATA? ›

NVMe drives are more power-efficient and eco-friendly than SATA drives. NVMe SSDs use semiconductor modules to store and access data, thus significantly reducing power consumption. The average power consumed by a standby NVMe SSD is 0.0032 W, while that of an active NVMe is 0.08 W.

Does it matter which slot I put my M 2 SSD in? ›

If you're using M. 2 NVMe drives, you'll want to prioritize using slots that enable those NVMe speeds. With M. 2 SATA drives, your choice of slot doesn't really matter as long as you're aware of any potential SATA Connectors being disabled by their use.

How long does m 2 SSD last compared to HDD? ›

The lifespan of an SSD is significantly longer than that of an HDD. While HDDs tend to last around 3-5 years, SSDs can last up to 10 years or more. This is because SSDs have no moving parts, whereas HDDs have spinning disks that can wear down over time.

Is m 2 SATA faster than HDD? ›

SATA Solid-State Drives (SSD) are faster than HDD, but they aren't as fast as NVMe SSDs. SATA SSDs are slower than M. 2 SSDs because they're limited by SATA technology. What is a M.

Is M 2 worth it over SATA SSD for gaming? ›

The answer is a resounding yes. NVMe drives offer significantly faster read and write speeds compared to SATA SSDs, meaning games will load quicker, and you will experience less lag. They also provide faster data transfer rates, allowing for smoother gameplay. NVMe drives are also more durable than SATA SSDs.

Is M 2 in SATA or PCIe faster? ›

2 SSDs have theoretical transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps, which is already faster than SATA M. 2 SSDs with 6Gbps. PCIe buses can support 1x, 4x, 8x and 16x lanes. PCIe 3.0 has an effective transfer speed of up to 985 MB/s per lane, which means there is a potential transfer speed of up to 16GB/s.

What SATA mode should I use with an M 2 SSD? ›

If you are using a SATA SSD drive, AHCI may be more suitable than RAID. If you are using multiple hard drives, RAID is a better choice than AHCI. If you want to use an SSD plus extra HHDs under RAID mode, it's recommended that you continue using RAID mode.

Do I need a heatsink for my M 2 SSD? ›

Some game users always ask, "Does the PS5 M. 2 SSD need a heatsink?" The answer is still yes. You need a heatsink for M. 2 SSD, especially when your SSD is installed on a PS5 or other gaming device.

What are the disadvantages of M 2 NVMe? ›

Drawbacks or disadvantages of NVMe SSD

2 format which limits selection of drive compare to other available solutions. ➨Older systems do not support legacy NVMe. This makes it difficult to upgrade storage system. ➨NVMe based SSDs are not cost effective to store large volume of data.

How do I know if my m2 is SATA or NVMe? ›

Expand the Disk drives section, right-click the disk listed there and choose Properties. In the Details tab, select Hardware Ids from the Property tab, and see what you find in the Value box below. If you see the word NVMe there, you are using the fastest type of SSD drive on the market.

Do multiple hard drives slow down a computer? ›

The simple answer is NO. You can add as many drives as your motherboard supports. Each hard drive will run out of its own SATA port and will not affect the performance of your computer in any manner. If you have, say 4 SATA ports on your motherboard and need to add more hard drives, then fee...

How many external drives can Windows 10 handle? ›

The official limit for USB devices is 127 per controller... In theory, you should be able to plug hubs into hubs into hubs (they will each need their own power source) until you have 127 devices total.

Can you connect hard drive to multiple computers? ›

Any external drive can backup as many computers as there is space on the external drive, through any number of ways. See Document ID: 206419 for information on how to store data on hard drives without the use of special software.

How many times can you read and write to an SSD? ›

An SSD that stores a single data bit per cell, known as single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash, can typically support up to 100,000 write cycles.

Do SSD write faster than HDD? ›

Solid State Drives (SSDs), including embedded flash drives, have become more and more popular. With no moving parts, they can read, write, and access data faster than HDDs.

How long does SSD last without writing? ›

Since SSDs don't have moving parts, they're very reliable. In fact, most SSDs can last over five years, while the most durable units exceed ten years. However, how long your SSD will last depends on how often you write data into it, and you could use that to estimate the lifespan.

What to avoid with SSD? ›

That being said, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most out of an SSD.
  1. Avoid Extreme Temperatures. SSDs are more resistant than HDDs when it comes to hot and cold. ...
  2. Avoid Power Outages. ...
  3. Don't Completely Fill Your SSD With Data. ...
  4. Protect Your SSD for Optimal Performance.

Is a 256GB SSD better than a 1TB hard drive? ›

A 256GB SSD will serve you better than a 1TB HDD if you want faster write and read speeds. However, the storage space would be minimal. If you are a pro gamer or a video editor, you can go with a 260GB SSD. The 1TB HDD storage option only has one advantage: its 1TB storage space.

What are two disadvantages of SSD over HDD? ›

Drawbacks. SSDs are newer technology, and as such, are more expensive than HDDs. Although they are catching up, it can be harder to find large-capacity solid state drives. HDDs can be as much as 2.5 times larger.

Does m 2 disable SATA ports? ›

It's true that M. 2 NVMe drives disable SATA ports, but how they disable these ports is pretty interesting. Some M. 2 ports use the same physical pathways as SATA ports on your motherboard.

Do you need a HDD if you have an M 2 SSD? ›

If you have an SSD drive then you have a hard drive. You just have one that stores the data in a series of Solid State memory chips instead of storing the data on spinning platters like an HDD drive. If you have an SSD drive you do not have to also have an HDD drive.

Can you have 2 different M 2 drives? ›

It's perfectly okay to mix two different M. 2 NVMe brands together. In fact, there really isn't any problem you can come up with when you mix different M. 2 NVMe brands on the same motherboard.

How much faster is m 2 SSD than HDD? ›

A typical 7200 RPM HDD will deliver a read/write speed of 80-160MB/s. On the other hand, a standard SATA SSD will provide a read/write speed of between 200 MB/s to 550 MB/s. At the same time, an NVMe m. 2 SSD can offer speeds exceeding 5000 MB/s.

How do I transfer data from HDD to m 2 SSD? ›

Steps to clone HDD to M. 2 SSD
  1. To start copying/cloning an entire disk to another, choose this disk as the source disk under "Disk Mode" and click "Next".
  2. Choose the other disk as the destination disk. ...
  3. Check the disk layout of the two disks. ...
  4. Click "Proceed" to officially execute the task.
Feb 9, 2023

How do I use my m 2 SSD as a boot drive? ›

How to Make an M. 2 SSD a Boot Drive
  1. Enter BIOS to ensure the M. 2 SSD is being recognized by the motherboard. ...
  2. Set the Storage Boot Option Control to “UEFI” Newer motherboards will automatically default to UEFI, but in some cases you'll need to manually switch from “Legacy” to “UEFI.”
  3. Save your settings and exit.
Mar 7, 2022

Are M 2 drives faster than SATA? ›

2 SATA SSDs have a similar level of performance to mSATA cards, but M. 2 PCIe cards are notably faster. In addition, SATA SSDs have a maximum speed of 600 MB per second, while M. 2 PCIe cards can hit 4 GB per second.

Is M 2 worth it over SATA SSD? ›

If an M. 2 SSD only supports AHCI protocol, its read-write performance is same as that of SATA SSD. If an M. 2 SSD uses NVMe protocol, its performance will be much better than that of SATA SSD.

What is the disadvantage of M2 SSD? ›

However, the main disadvantages of M. 2 SSDs are that they are expensive and lack universality. Currently, the price of a 1 TB SATA SSD is about $ 100 or less; but the price of an M. 2 SSD of the same capacity is about twice and half the cost of a SATA drive.

How long does M2 SSD last compared to HDD? ›

The lifespan of an SSD is significantly longer than that of an HDD. While HDDs tend to last around 3-5 years, SSDs can last up to 10 years or more. This is because SSDs have no moving parts, whereas HDDs have spinning disks that can wear down over time.

Does m 2 last longer than HDD? ›

The first thing you should know about NVMe or M. 2 SSDs; they have significantly better lifetimes than HDD and will last longer than the conventional HDDs. I have a Seagate 160GB HDD which I have been using since 2007, it is still working.


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