Perhaps A Powerful Tool for M.2?

There is still one thing that M.2 can’t do right now that sata drives like HDD and SSDs can. There are all these little devices you can get on amazon that will allow you to plug as many drives directly into your motherboard as you would like, but only power the ones you want to use.

can’t post link to amazon, plz dm me if you want the hardware link

These are really handy, say if you have a computer you would like to use for work, play, and mining. You can more safely use one computer for many different tasks, because unlike booting into a specific drive from bios, this way none of the other drives can see one another, because the ones you don’t want to use are all off, even though the sata cable is still in your mobo, the drive has no power to talk to the mobo. In addition, switching between OSs is faster, because you don’t actually have to use the bios menu to select a drive, and you never miss the bios menu on boot. Also, no OS update will ever decide to explore you other drives, and brick any of your systems. Also, as games because 100’s of GB, and larger 8TB drives have exploded in value because of storage crypto, separating your games on one drive, and your work and finance on another drive is a great way to get more out of smaller drives, and is a great security option, even if you only like using one OS.

So, looking at M.2, this is not as straightforward to do, because in that case, there is no unique plug for power and data, the simple interface saves a ton of space, but unifies both power and data into one plug (i’d assume)

Still, there should be no reason that the same strategy can’t be used with these new faster m.2 drives.

I think it would be very easy to make a small pci sled that can carry four drives, two on each side, and allows the user to connect or disconnect power to them at will from buttons located either on the back of the case where the pci card is exposed, or at the end of a USB cable. The cable is much more preferred OFC, because it can save your back.

I am posting here because I want to ask if this is possible? From the computer’s perspective, it wouldn’t be any different, that any other m.2 sleds that already exist, it just needs some simple board work to take a remove voltage from the power pins to the drives you don’t want to use, whatever ones those are.

I don’t really care about this a some sort of invention. I am sure other people have had this idea before. If someone who actually does the hard work wants to give me credit, then cool. But it would be great to just see the parts actually made because I would like to buy one myself. Seeing as L1T has already made the best KVM around, i figured this would be the perfect forum to post this idea. Maybe one of you PCB pros can handle this?

I think it would be great! It’s a lot of hassle to wire on of the existing systems up to four SSDs, there is a low of power cables and SATA cables flying around. This new tool could deliver the new speeds of M.2, remove all of the cable hastle, and make install a breeze, all while improving speeds!

I think this is a great tool that could save people a lot of money, who may not need to build 2 PCs, if they don’t have to use them at the same time. Or, maybe just the person who has recently found themselves working from home, doing their own side hustle, and downloading clash of clans, war thunder, and ROBLOX next to their tax info and finance info, and payroll/bank info?

PS: in b4, just use bios menu… :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, there are two interesting PCIe solutions that come to mind here. The first one is a hotswappable dock:

The second is a 4 slot expansion card:

The first option is feasible today, though you would require a few available PCIe x4 expansion slots.

The second option could possibly be feasible with some soldering, and if not, perhaps you could reach out to the company about some specific mods?

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We can already do these things with VMs and modern storage systems, without having unused disk space lying around that can’t be used. Or booting different OS or plugging things in and out, making it hell of a nightmare to keep track of things.

And as @wertigon pointed out…PCIe makes the world go round. That’s why everyone loves Lanes.

IcyDock has a number of really good products to convert your front 5.25" slots into massive storage expansions with hotplug and everything. I’m not really fond of the linked PCIe card because it uses old PCIe version and you get bandwidth limited pretty hard.

well, i do this to get around VMs, and I need performance in every one of my machines, i can’t compromise on that, and I don’t really want to buy a second gpu, just to have compromised cpu performance in a VM.

You are not wasting storage, there is no reason to have duplicate types of OS, and it a great way to use older and smaller ssds

The markets shows there is already a demand for the ssd based sata version of this device, i don’t think an NVME version would be a boom, but it would be a successful product.

As for removeable drives, i really like simply using buttons, and just leaving the drives in place, even if that means I have to install them in the PC.

IDK, it just seems like an awesome improvement over what i am using now.

i doubt bandwidth will be limted to old ssd speeds, and i mostly use one drive at a time, so i doubt there will be much effect at all.

I guess the quad NVME sled would work, if i was willing to boot to bios, but the other drives would still be powered i think unfortunately…

The product I am describing makes a lot of sense to me, but maybe I am the only one who wants it lol.

You could always contact hardware manufacturers to see if they could design a version with physical power delivery jumpers. Then you could always go from there with DIY switches/buttons. I don’t think asking for such a modification is unreasonable, though it would require a new hardware revision of the board itself.

Be prepared to pay a bit extra for it and also that you need to attract the interest of several people that wants this type of functionality, they need to make a run of at least 100 units to make it worth your while, unless you are willing to pay $2000 or so for a prototype board.

I am trying to reach out to a few manufacturers. Unfortunately, the seller of the 4x sled you posted doesn’t seem to specialize in making silicone boards, or PCI devices. I have sent out a few other cold contacts, so we will see where that goes. I am not really worried about this as my IP, because it already exists for ssds. So if Wendel, or anyone else wanted to make it that would be great. If anyone has any manufacturer contacts, just reach out to me. I have no issue doing the legwork to get it done myself either.

I appreciate the ideas already of what kind of orders I would need to make to try and entice a vendor. Modifying an existing board like that is a great idea too. Do you know the easiest way to find out where that was made.

Probably just order it myself and look at the fine print? XD

You could buy that board and consider interrupting the actual physical conduits of that circuit board with soldering, this would be a tedious process but could do precisely what you want it to.

It would be an ugly hack with a wire mess (like, 8 separate wires or more) but would be fairly easy - use a dremel, gently peel off the power conduit and cut it for each drive, then solder a wire that goes to a physical switch, like this:

Granted, would take a bit of careful planning, and I would also not assume anything for any wire. This could potentially damage your card and fry your m.2 connectors / drives, so be extremely careful here. There are shops specializing in these kind of mods though, so if you’re nervous look around in your area if you can find a repair shop to take on this.

I believe it goes without saying that this will utterly void your warranty so make sure everything works before submitting the card. :slight_smile:

yeahhhhh i don’t know. My expertise ends at programming 3d printing boards, not putting soldering projects in pci slots next to all the hardware i can’t afford to replace XD. Having a shop do it would be interesting though.

I really appreciate the brain storming, you are mad! In a good way.

hmmmm thinking about this futher…

it looks like the m.2 mounts are surface mounted on the board with solder.

You should be able to intercept the power there without digging into the board at all, and putting a switch there in series

would that work?

Probably, at this stage it’s all about interrupting the physical conduit, this can be done anywhere on the board. :slight_smile:

Hmm, do you know anyone who can make a simple PCB what we can sandwich between an off the shelf board, and the plastic M.2 port?
That should work right?

The only thing is that I don’t want to route 3.3v outside the case. How can you have a switch outside the case that will open and close a 3.3v line in the case to power the m.2?

Sounds like this is exactly what thunderbolt was designed to achieve. Pluggable external PCIe.

Well yes, that is what thunderbolt is, but there are about a dozen reasons i want the drives internal, and select-able via a power switch, not physically removing and adding the drives.

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