Where is SSD Located in Your PC?

Whether you want to troubleshoot your SSD, replace it, or unplug it, you would want to know where it is located in the first place.

The exact location of an SSD varies from motherboard to motherboard and also on what kind of SSD you have.

There are two kinds of SSDs, M.2 and SATA SSDs and depending upon what form factor they conform to, they can either be located on the M.2 slot on the motherboard or in the 2.5″ drive bay in your PC case.

In the following text I will explain how to identify what SSD you have and then to figure out where it can be located in your PC.

The Two SSD Form Factors

Let’s start with a brief explainer on what kind of SSD form factors there are since a particular SSD form factor can give you an idea about where it can be located.

There are essentially two form factors:

  • 2.5″
  • M.2

2.5″ SATA SSDs

2.5″ SSDs are large. They have a similar size as the 2.5″ Hard Disk drives found on laptops.

SATA SSD Connectors power data
2.5″ SATA SSD – SATA Drives require SATA DATA and SATA Power Cable

2.5″ SSDs are ALL SATA SSDs. Meaning, 2.5″ SSDs use the SATA interface which has a maximum transfer speed of 550 MB/s. This is the slower of the two interfaces used for connecting SSDs (the other one being the PCIe interface).

2.5″ SSDs are located in the PC case’s 2.5″ drive bay. There are many PC cases that do not have a 2.5″ drive bay specifically and instead have 3.5″ drive bays.

3.5 hard drive bay

In order to make 3.5″ drive bays suitable for 2.5″ SSDs, an adapter similar to the following is used:

Drive bay adapter
A 3.5″ to 2.5″ drive bay adapter

2.5″ SSDs require both a SATA power connection as well as SATA DATA connection.

The DATA connection for these drives comes from the motherboard. SATA data cables are used. They have one end connected to the motherboard and the other connected to the SSD.

sata data cable
SATA 2.5″ SSDs connect to SATA port on the motherboard for DATA.

The power connected for the 2.5″ SSDs comes from the power supply unit.

M.2 SSDs

M.2 SSDs are small stick like SSDs. They are much smaller in size ranging from 22mm by 30mm to 22mm by 110mm in dimensions.

Which M.2 Slot to Use
M.2 SSD

M.2 SSDs plug into the M.2 slot on your motherboard. The exact location of the M.2 slot varies from motherboard to motherboard.

M.2 SSDs can be found using SATA or PCIe NVMe interface. SATA M.2 SSDs cap at 550 MB/s, whereas PCIe NVMe SSDs can reach speeds of up to 7000 MB/s!

Figuring Out What SSD You Have on Your PC

To figure out the location of SSDs on your PC, it will be prudent to first find out what SSD you have in the first place.

To figure out what SSD you have, you can use a simple third-party software called CrystalDiskInfo. This is a very popular software for all things related to hard drives in general.

PCIe NVMe SSD Crystal Info
PCIe NVMe SSD – CrystalDiskInfo

Take for instance the information of my SSD as shown on the CrystalDiskInfo.

It shows that the SSD is of PCIe NVMe type. Since PCIe NVMe SSDs conform only to the M.2 form factor, I can deduce that it is located most probably on the motherboard instead of the drive bays.

You can also tell what type of SSD you have through its model number (WDC WDS100T2B0C in this case). You can simply look up the model number of your SSD on Google to figure out whether it is an M.2 SSD or a SATA SSD.  

WDC WDS100T2B0C
WDC WDS100T2B0C. Source: Western Digital

In addition to that, if you have several hard drives / partitions on your PC but you cannot figure out which partition belongs to the SSD and which does not, then this software can help again.

In the CrystalDiskInfo image above, you can see that this drive in particular shares two partitions i.e C: and D:.

What Does an M.2 Slot Look Like?

If you have never seen an M.2 slot before, then it would help to know what it looks like to figure out where your M.2 SSDs are located.

M.2 Slot Length
A typical M.2 slot. Source: rog.asus.com

The image above shows what a typical M.2 slot on a motherboard looks like.

You can see the slot has several holes at different intervals for different sizes of the M.2 SSDs.

The M.2 slots are often located at the bottom half of a motherboard.

Motherboards can have multiple M.2 SSD slots. Take for instance the ASUS Prime B660-Plus D4 motherboard. This motherboard has 3 x M.2 slots.

You can figure out their exact location either through physical inspection or through the provided manual.

Motherboard m2 SSD slot
M.2 Slots on ASUS B660 Plus D4

You can see from the motherboard layout above that label number 6 identifies all the M.2 slots on this motherboard. If you have an M.2 SSD, it could be located in one of these slots.

Where is SSD Located on Your PC?

So as discussed above, SSDs can be found in two locations GENERALLY:

  1. 2.5″ drive bays on your PC case for 2.5″ SATA SSDs
  2. M.2 Slots on motherboard for M.2 SATA and M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs

In some cases, it could take a further digging to figure out where your SSDs are located:

1. Under the Heatsinks

M.2 SSDs on certain motherboards can be found underneath special heatsinks. These heatsinks are designed to lower the operating temperature of the SSDs and thus further boost their performance.

Where is SSD located
M.2 Heatsink. Source: ASUS B660 Plus

To access the M.2 SSDs under the heatsinks, you will need to remove the screws on top.

2. In M.2 Expansion Cards

In some cases, M.2 SSDs can be found on special expansion cards that go into the PCIe slots.

NVMe m.2 expansion card
NVMe M.2 expansion card

M.2 SSD expansion cards, like the one above, are used when you do not have an M.2 slot on your motherboard at all or if you want to install additional SSDs.

In order to access SSDs in these M.2 expansion cards, you will sometimes need to remove their top cover that also acts as a heatsink.

Final Words

There is no one singular answer to the question “where is SSD located” in your PC. The location depends upon factors such as what type of SSD you and also where the drive-bays or the M.2 slots are located on your PC.

Generally though, once you have a clear idea about what different type of SSDs and their slots look like, you could easily figure out their location.

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101 and an expert in the computer peripheral industry with over two decades of experience. He has worked as a consultant for major companies and has a deep understanding of the inner workings of computer peripherals. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering and has served as a product manager and technical consultant. He is passionate about testing and evaluating the latest products to provide readers with reliable information.

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