Primary and secondary storage

Why is the memory listed for primary memory M.2 2280 and for secondary memory M.2 2230?

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The first is a full sized m.2 ssd and what you’re likely most familiar with, however the second (2230) is nearly one third the size of the 2280.

You can a full sized m.2 here:

and the smaller m.2 drive here:

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might be a stupid question but why are they manufactured at different sizes if they are both m.2 and have similar storage capacity options? does the larger size allow for certain features?

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m.2 2280 SSDs are more common and cheaper than m.2 2230 SSDs for the same capacity. The m.2 2230 slot on the Framework is a compromise due to a lack of space on the mainboard.

The larger size (2280) has larger capacities available (up to 8 TB) and at similar capacities is often cheaper than the smaller form factor. (or at least I am not aware of any 8 TB drives using the smaller 2230 form factor; I could be wrong)

Stacked on top of each other, too.

I’m intending to run one for OS, the other for storage & VMs. Could get toasty in there.

Others have explained why, but note also the little 2230 tends to be slower. Somewhat. Still way faster than a 2.5" SATA SSD, so I won’t be loosing sleep over that.


M.2 is an interface standard. It’s the pins on the business end of the SSD PCB. And the socket the SSD plugs into.

22 refers to the width of the PCB in millimeters. There are wider ones - WWAN cards are often fat lil things. Narrower ones too, now that I think about it. I’ve installed skinnier-than-normal WLAN cards - oddly, in standard width sockets…

30/80 is the length of the PCB in millimeters. There are other common lengths as well.

Fancy mainboards - usually desktop - have multiple screw holes at the proper distances from the socket, to accommodate different length SSDs (or other things).

I await correction.


The larger size allows for more/bigger/simpler chips and less expensive manufacturing methods. For example having the chips all on the same side is easier to manufacture than having to apply them on both sides. Smaller memory chips either require more delicate electronics or even stacking in 3D space. A larger SSD can also have a larger heatsink to transport more heat away.

Effectively, 2230 SSDs are either more expensive, have less storage or are slower than otherwise equivalent 2280 SSDs. Of course they use less space, which can be an advantage.


2230 size appears to be more common now than it was (still uncommon!) due to devices like the Steam Deck using a M2 2230 size. They’ll probably become more common, cheaper, and faster as time goes on, but for now the 2280 size is the standard M2 size.

This post below is true and accurate! There are actually SATA M2’s as well (referred to as Next Generation Form Factor NGFF). Those use the SATA interface in the shape of an M2, where NVMe M2s use the PCIe interface. Kinda wild!

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Yep, I’ve got one of those SATA ones. They’re SATA speed. When I built that desktop the NVMe ones were still quite pricey, a bit like PCIE gen 5 NVME are now.

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