What is an M.2 add-in card?

What is an M.2 add-in card?

Table of Contents:

  1. What is an M.2 card?
  2. Targeted Applications

Article Summary: This article describes what the M.2 card is and some of the intended supported applications. Formerly known as Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF).

What is an M.2 card?

M.2 cards are internally mounted expansion cards that can provide multiple add-in functions and connectors. It replaces the mSATA standard, which uses the PCI Express Mini Card physical layout. M.2 is more flexible physical specification that allows different module widths and lengths, together with more advanced features.

The dimensions of the card make it ideal for smaller devices such as Netbooks, Ultrabooks and Tablets.

The board can come in various lengths and widths as well as connectorized or soldered-down. It is therefore important to check that you select the right size and connector to match your system. M.2 cards will be labeled with a naming standard that will denote the width, length - height - and keying (connector) format.

The M.2 provides a small-form-factor implementation of the SATA express interface providing support for PCI express 3.0, SATA 3.0 and internal USB3.0 interface support.


  • Increased throughput capability for smaller form factor devices.
  • Increasing speeds past 6.0 Gbps SATA limits.
  • 2 or 4 lane transfer speed capability.
  • Equivalent of 900MB/s (read) and 800MB/s (write) for 1st Gen SSD (increased in future Gen).
  • Greater flexibility than mSATA in physical dimensions.
  • Wide product offering to meet design needs.
  • Smaller footprint.
  • Reduced connector height.
  • Single or double sided module options.

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Targeted Applications

The M.2 cards are intended to support many functions as an add-in card/module some examples below:

  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • WWAN (2G, 3G and 4G)
  • Solid-State Storage Devices (SSD)
  • Other and Future Solutions (e.g. Hybrid Digital Radio (HDR))

The card will also be able to cover multiple interface solutions including:

  • PCIe, PCIe LP
  • USB
  • SATA
  • Display Port
  • And future variants of the above

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Article ID: SLN294764

Last Date Modified: 11/18/2014 08:32 AM

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