I know that answering the question of how many NVMe slots you have is not that easy, and while the answer varies depending on your motherboard and CPU, most modern motherboards generally have at least two NVMe slots.
If you want to learn exactly how many NVMe slots you have, keep reading because, in this article, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about NVMe slots.
What Is an NVMe Slot?
NVMe stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express, a storage interface designed specifically for solid-state drives (SSDs). NVMe slots use the PCI Express (PCIe) bus, the same bus your graphics card uses, which is why they’re sometimes also referred to as M.2 PCI Express slots.
NVMe slots are so important because they offer much higher bandwidth than traditional SATA III ports. To understand the difference, let’s take a look at some numbers.
A SATA III port has a maximum bandwidth of 600MB/s, while an NVMe PCIe 3.0 slot has a maximum bandwidth of 3,938 MB/s, an NVMe PCIe 4.0 slot has a maximum bandwidth of 7,877 MB/s, and an NVMe PCIe 5.0 has a maximum bandwidth of 13,000 MB/s.
As you can understand, the speed difference between a SATA SSD and an NVMe SSD is significant, and this is why I recommend getting an NVMe SSD if you can afford it.
What is an SSD?
An SSD is a Solid State Drive, a type of storage that doesn’t use spinning disks like a traditional hard drive. Instead, it uses flash memory, which is faster, more reliable, but, at the same time, more expensive.
But not all SSDs are created equal, so let’s look at the different types of SSDs.
There are three main types of SSDs: 2.5-inch SATA SSDs, M.2 SSDs, and NVMe PCIe SSDs.
1. 2.5-inch SATA SSD
The 2.5-inch SATA SSD is the most widespread type of SSD. They’re compatible with any computer with a 2.5-inch drive bay and a SATA III port because this is the same form factor as a traditional hard drive. And while they are the most common type of SSD, they’re also the slowest.
This is because the SATA III interface they use has a maximum bandwidth of 600MB/s, which is significantly slower than the NVMe SSDs we’ll discuss next.
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2. M.2 SSD
The M.2 form factor is the successor of the 2.5-inch SATA SSD, and it’s becoming increasingly popular because of its small size.
The most popular is the M.2 2280 form factor, which is 22mm wide and 80mm long. There are other form factors, such as the M.2 22110, which is 22mm wide and 110mm long, but they are not that popular.
And while M.2 SSDs have the same form factor as the NVMe SSDs, not all M.2 SSDs use the NVMe interface. Some of them use the SATA III interface instead, which means they’re as fast as a 2.5-inch SATA SSD.
To know if your M.2 SSD is using the NVMe or SATA interface, you need to check your its specifications.
3. M.2 NVMe SSD
And… voila! We’ve arrived at the fastest type of SSD you can find on the market, the M.2 NVMe SSD.
As we’ve seen before, M.2 is the form factor, and NVMe is the interface. And because they use the PCI Express bus, they offer much higher performance than SATA III SSDs.
I have already explained the difference in speeds between a SATA III and an NVMe SSD, but to give you a reminder, an NVMe SSD can be up to 20 times faster than a SATA III SSD.
As you can see, there are many different types of SSDs on the market, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. So, which one should you choose?
The answer is that if you can afford it, you should go for an M.2 NVMe SSD, as they offer the best performance. But a 2.5-inch SATA SSD will do the job just fine if you’re on a budget.
How Many NVMe Slots Does My Computer Have?
Now that we know how an NVMe slot works, its benefits, and the different types of SSDs, let’s answer the question: how many NVMe slots do I have?
Generally, most modern motherboards will have at least two NVMe slots, but some high-end boards can have up to eight. If you want to know exactly how many NVMe slots your motherboard has, the best way to find out is by checking the spec sheet of your motherboard. But even then, knowing exactly how many NVMe slots and their version can be challenging because the exact number of NVMe slots is dependent on the number of PCIe lanes your motherboard and your CPU has. If you don’t know what PCIe lanes are, I highly recommend reading this guide on how PCIe lanes work.
In short, the number of NVMe slots is determined by the number of PCIe lanes your motherboard and CPU have.
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Asus Prime X570-P NVMe Slots Example
To give you a better understanding, let’s take a look at the Asus Prime X570-P NVMe, which is a popular motherboard for AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs.
So if this was my motherboard and I wanted to know how many and what generation of NVMe slots I have, I would visit this link to the official ASUS site to check the spec sheet.
On the second tab named “Tech Specs” is all the information about the motherboard, and if you scroll down, you’ll see the “Storage” section, which looks like this:
As you can see above, if you have an AMD Ryzen 5000 or 3000 series, you get 1x PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 from the CPU. But if you have an AMD Ryzen 5000 G-Series and below or 2000 series and below, you get 1x PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 from the CPU.
The difference in PCIe generation is because different CPUs offer different numbers of PCIe lanes. The Ryzen 5000 series CPUs offer more PCIe lanes than the 3000 and 2000 series CPUs, which is why they can offer faster NVMe slots.
Finally, no matter the CPU, you will also get 1x PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot and 6x SATA III from the chipset.
The number of M.2 slots and SATA slots you will get from the chipset won’t change no matter what CPU you have. This is because these slots use PCIe lanes from the chipset, which are not affected by the CPU model.
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How do I know how many SSD slots I have?
To calculate the total number of available SSD slots on your computer, you need to know two things:
- The number of NVMe slots on your motherboard.
- The number of SATA III ports on your motherboard.
You can find this information by using the method I described earlier to check your motherboard’s specification sheet.
Once you know the number of NVMe and SATA III slots on your motherboard, simply add them to get the total number of available SSD slots.
In the above example, you would have a total of 8 SSD slots:
2 NVMe slots + 6 SATA III slots = 8 SSD slots
This is the total number of available SSD slots on your computer, but remember that not all of these slots may be usable. For example, some motherboards may share SATA ports with other devices like optical drives, so you may not be able to use all the slots for your SATA SSDs.
* You can always add more SSDs by using a PCIe slot NVMe expansion card.
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How can I tell how many NVMe slots My laptop has?
To tell how many NVMe slots your laptop has, you’ll need to check the specification sheet of your laptop on the manufacturer’s website. Let’s say, for example, you wanted to know how many NVMe slots the Dell Alienware M15 R4 15.6 has.
Just like you would do with a motherboard, you should visit the Dell website and find the product page for the M15 R4 15.6. Then, you should look for the manual and go to the “Storage” section.
In the “Storage” section of the manual, you’ll be able to see that there are 2 NVMe M.2 slots:
I think that by now you have learned more than how to find out how many NVMe slots you have. We have discussed the difference between M.2 slots and SATA III ports, the different types of SSDs, and how to check both your motherboard and laptop for the number of available NVMe slots.
With all this new information, you should be able to upgrade your computer confidently and get the most out of your new SSD. If I have missed anything or you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
Nick Ryley is a computer architect and the owner of The Pc Geekz.
His love for playing games got him interested in computers in the first place. He wanted to be able to build a gaming PC that could run all the latest games at max settings, and this has him pursuing a major in computer architecture!
He started this blog to help people out and answer some of the most common questions about computer building