Just storage module instead of SSD?

just wondering if if makes sense to just use one of the storage modules for system and data instead of an SSD.
What about the lifetime and reliability of the flash memory of the modules compared to SSDs? Any experience or thoughts?

Thanks, mipi

Hi, storage module is “only” USB Gen 3.2 x1 so maxes out around 1000 MB/s read speeds and to 375 MB/s write speeds. The TBW warranty and IOPs aren’t given.
(Framework | Storage Expansion Card)

My Seagate 530 NVME 4.0 4TB SSD in one of my machines does 7000/6850 MB/s read/write with 1m IOPs and 5 Petabyte warranty!

Yes you can run an OS off it but it’s never going to be as fast and will run hotter.

Hope that helps


Probably not. It’s much slower as the data goes through USB instead of NVME. SSDs typically also have much better firmware for wear levelling and error detection and so on. The expansion cards are basically just nicer thumbdrives in the required form factor. And you use up an expansion slot for no good reason.

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Yep, I understand. Thanks to both of you!

I can share my experience, because I’ve done for more than 4 years.
I don’t use the internal hard drive, and only use an external SSD Key ( 2x Corsair 256GB keys, one for backup )
I’m under GNU/Fedora, fully encrypted (obviously less faster) with read speed approximately 300MB/s read and write around 150MB/s
For me it’s perfectly usable for what I’m doing ( developer only, I don’t play game and don’t use video tools editors )
I’ll do the same with Framework, I’ve not ordered internal drive, only 2 externals expansion cards.
But keep in mind some have reported random disconnection of the ssd, and I hope this will be fixed soon.

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An external SSD over USB is probably still much faster and more reliable than a simple flash drive (which is what these expansion card are). I think what you’re doing doesn’t make remotely sense, and I have no idea why you think it’s a good idea, but it’s your choice of course. I mean I can completely understand getting on expansion drive as a backup medium or for additional bulk storage, but I would never put an OS onto it. These expansion cards are probably not even designed for the amount of write cycles.

This is exactly what I’m planning to do. I want to have multiple Linux installs. Multi-boot of encrypted Linux installs from a sinle drive is a pain to set up and maintain. Given the specs mentioned here (1,000 MB/s R/W for the 1 TB card), I have no concerns about performance for my typical work (software development, tinkering, etc.). The ability to have operating systems on expansion cards that function like a video game cartridge was actually one major factor in my choosing this laptop. The only case in which I could see speed being an issue is if your workflow involves something along the lines of 4k video editing that benefits significantly from really high disk bandwidth.

Also, regarding the issue of wear. How much do you plan on writing to the thing? As far as I know, reading is not a concern for wear on NAND. I think for any typical laptop use you’ll be more than fine. Framework actually specifies at the link above the NAND chips that they use. You could probably look up the spec if you really want to.

I’m about to order a Framework 16, and want this exact use case. Multiple OSes on separate, easily-swappable drives that sit entirely internal to the machine, rather than having USB sticks sticking out the side. (Or hanging off a cable, for proper fast drives.)

Now that Framework laptops have USB4/Thunderbolt, I’d love to see some expansion module drives that take full advantage of the available speed to use as boot drives.

Yet there are millions of raspberry pi running off microSD (bunch of stuff mounted in RAM to reduce wear, but still…) :thinking: