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M.2, formerly known as the Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), is a specification for internally mounted computer expansion cards and associated connectors. It is intended to replace mSATA, which used the PCI Express Mini Card physical layout. Having a smaller and more flexible physical specification, together with more advanced features, the M.2 is more suitable for solid-state storage applications in general, especially when used in small devices like ultrabooks or tablets.
Computer bus interfaces provided through the M.2 connector, together with supported logical interfaces, are a superset to those defined by the SATA Express interface. Essentially, the M.2 standard is a small form factor implementation of the SATA Express interface (which provides support for PCI Express 3.0 and Serial ATA 3.0), with the addition of an internal USB 3.0 interface. The M.2 connector can have different keying notches denoting various uses of M.2 modules.
A solid-state drive (SSD) (also known as a solid-state disk or electronic disk, though it contains no actual "disk" of any kind or motors to "drive" the disks) is a data storage device using integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently. SSD technology uses electronic interfaces compatible with traditional block input/output (I/O) hard disk drives, thus permitting simple replacement in common applications. Also, new I/O interfaces like SATA Express are created to keep up with speed advancements in SSD technology.
SSDs have no moving mechanical components. This distinguishes them from traditional electromechanical magnetic disks such as hard disk drives (HDDs) or floppy disks, which contain spinning disks and movable read/write heads. Compared with electromechanical disks, SSDs are typically more resistant to physical shock, run silently, have lower access time, and less latency. However, while the price of SSDs has continued to decline in 2012, SSDs are still about 7 to 8 times more expensive per unit of storage than HDDs.