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QNAP Launches QM2 PCIe Expansion Cards for Adding M.2 NVMe SSD Slots to NAS or PC

btarunr

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QNAP Systems, Inc., a leading computing, networking, and storage solution innovator, introduced new QM2 PCIe Gen 3 expansion cards: the QM2-2P-344A and QM2-2P-384A. QM2 cards can be installed in compatible QNAP NAS or Windows /Linux PCs/workstations to add M.2 NVMe SSD slots (M.2 SSD sold separately) for boosting system performance and increasing storage capacity.

"The QM2-2P-344A and QM2-2P-384A are a budget-friendly expansion solution for both QNAP NAS and PC/workstations, providing flexible M.2 NVMe SSD configuration with easy-to-use tool-free installation," said Andy Chuang, Product Manager of QNAP, adding "Compared with SATA-based SSDs, the QM2's PCIe interface provides higher bandwidth to deliver faster transfer speed and data access."



The innovative QM2 cards feature M.2 SSD thermal sensors that allow real-time temperature monitoring, and an efficient cooling module (heatsink and smart fan) to minimize overheating and ensure high performance. They can be used for SSD caching for IOPS-demanding applications or enable tiered storage in QNAP NAS for optimized storage utilization.

The QM2-2P-344A and QM2-2P-384A also support Windows and Linux, and are ideal for creating NVMe SSD storage volumes for performance-demanding applications such as video editing.



For more information, visit the product pages of the QM2-2P-344A and QM2-2P-384A.

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Probably not available for sale yet, but looking at the price of this product QM2-2P-344 I wonder where the "budget-friendly expansion solution" applies. At least the 344 model looks like any of these cheap PCIe 3.0 expansion boards that someone can order from China, for less than $10, with some extra stuff on them, like a cooler and thermal sensors and probably much much higher price.

But I do like to start seeing these cards coming out more often and from known manufacturers. The demise of SLI and CrossFire offered to the motherboard manufacturers the chance to really cheap out on their motherboards by connecting only one PCIe X16 slot on the CPU and everything else on the chipset, that usually didn't had enough PCIe lanes in the first place. If people start putting M.2 adapters on the second PCIe x16 slot, motherboard manufacturers might start offering again what it was standard in the past and a premium feature today.
 
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Probably not available for sale yet, but looking at the price of this product QM2-2P-344 I wonder where the "budget-friendly expansion solution" applies. At least the 344 model looks like any of these cheap PCIe 3.0 expansion boards that someone can order from China, for less than $10, with some extra stuff on them, like a cooler and thermal sensors and probably much much higher price.

But I do like to start seeing these cards coming out more often and from known manufacturers. The demise of SLI and CrossFire offered to the motherboard manufacturers the chance to really cheap out on their motherboards by connecting only one PCIe X16 slot on the CPU and everything else on the chipset, that usually didn't had enough PCIe lanes in the first place. If people start putting M.2 adapters on the second PCIe x16 slot, motherboard manufacturers might start offering again what it was standard in the past and a premium feature today.

The motherboards that do have two x16 slots from the CPU typically do so in a x8 x8 configuration because both AMD and Intel do not provide enough lanes from the CPU on their consumer platforms.

This isn't the fault of motherboard manufacturers, blame AMD and Intel. Heck I would love to plug in a bunch of U.2 SSDs but I'm limited by the number of m.2 slots and occupying that 2nd PCIe 5.0 X16 slot would mean potentially limiting GPU performance as a PCIe 4.0 GPU would run at PCIe 4.0 x8.
 
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I friggin hate how on current mainboards there are 4 to 5 M.2 slots but sometimes no PCIe-Slot apart from the two x16 connected to the CPU, either running as x16/x0 or x8/x8. Nearly no S1700 or AM5 board has two x4-slots and one x1-slot to use e.g. Thunderbolt, 10GbE an a soundcard.

I would much rather have one x16-slot from the CPU and 5-6 x4-slots and only one M.2. You can always but a M.2-SSD in a x4-Slot using an adapterboard, heck, Asus showed you can even use eight lanes from the PCH for two x4-SSD in the same slot somehow on certain Z690-boards, but there is very little you can do with a M.2-Slot apart from SSD. I can't comprehend why someone would want to use 4-5 SSD of differing sizes and speeds at the same time, most connected to the PCH, on some X670-boards connected to the second PCH behind the first, which in turn is connected to the CPU only via PCIe4.0x4 itself.

You could even share lanes between some x4-slots and M.2-Slots, they did that often some years back. Since space on mainboards is very limited an already used up with 4-5 M.2-slots I only can imagine using more NVMe-drives with some form of SATAe- and U.2-successor.
 
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The motherboards that do have two x16 slots from the CPU typically do so in a x8 x8 configuration because both AMD and Intel do not provide enough lanes from the CPU on their consumer platforms.

This isn't the fault of motherboard manufacturers, blame AMD and Intel. Heck I would love to plug in a bunch of U.2 SSDs but I'm limited by the number of m.2 slots and occupying that 2nd PCIe 5.0 X16 slot would mean potentially limiting GPU performance as a PCIe 4.0 GPU would run at PCIe 4.0 x8.
No one is expecting 2 X 16 slots connected on the CPU. I wouldn't blame Intel or AMD for that. But the thing is that many modern motherboards do not even support that x8 + x8 splitting. It's 16x and that's it. No splitting, unless you pay for a premium model.

On my 100 euros MSI X470 Gaming Plus Max board, I have the option to split the X16 lanes from the CPU to the first 2 PCIe X16 slots.
X470 GAMING PLUS MAX | Motherboard | MSI Global
2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (PCIE_1, PCIE_4)
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Processors support x16/x0, x8/x8 mode

But let's see the equivalent X570 model costing probably twice as much.
MPG X570 GAMING PLUS
1x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 slot (PCI_E1)
  • 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ support PCIe 4.0 x16 mode
Nope. No splitting.

Maybe a newer board. Let's see one with the new 650 chipset and 4 PCIe x16 slots
PRO B650-P WIFI
PCI_E1 PCIe 4.0 supports up to x16 (From CPU)
PCI_E2 PCIe 3.0 supports up to x1 (From Chipset)
PCI_E3 PCIe 4.0 supports up to x4 (From Chipset)
PCI_E4 PCIe 3.0 supports up to x1 (From Chipset)
Nope! Not here either. And what is the price on this board? About the same as the X570 model above (I am looking at prices in Greece, so not very accurate in other countries)

Maybe I should have gone to an X670 model. Let's see this one
PRO X670-P WIFI
PCI_E1 PCIe 4.0 supports up to x16 (From CPU)
PCI_E2 PCIe 3.0 supports up to x1 (From Chipset)
PCI_E3 PCIe 4.0 supports up to x4 (From CPU)
PCI_E4 PCIe 4.0 supports up to x2 (From Chipset)
Nope. no splitting here either. It just grubs 4 more PCIE lanes from the CPU, probably meant for NVMe drive. It's a nice idea to be fair, but still, no splitting. Price? Over 4 times what I payed for the X470.

The demise of SLI and CrossFire gave manufacturers the chance to cut costs. And they did. That's my opinion. Splitting those x16 lanes from the CPU was a feature that, if it was missing in the past, that was a red flag and no one was buying that board. So all motherboards manufacturers where supporting that feature. Today is a premium feature.

As for the PCIe 4.0 X8 being a limited factor for the graphics card. I think reviews have shown that it is not an issue, even for a version 3.0 PCIe slot.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 PCI-Express Scaling | TechPowerUp
 
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I can't comprehend why someone would want to use 4-5 SSD of differing sizes and speeds at the same time...
C:\ Single NVMe, D:\ two NVMe in RAID 1.

However I'm moving to at least 12TB for mass storage and SSDs aren't quite up to 12TB or 16TB without getting a bit ridiculous on prices. That being said I'd be willing to setup my E:\ with two NVMe with that level of capacity from NVMe drives. However I also hate garbage onboard audio, especially Realtek with zero equalizer and I can hear the audio distortions when my CPU load temporarily spikes! Most people don't need more than two or three so I generally agree with you and I generally think that motherboards need more variety. I also think that NVMe drives need to plug in more along the lines like how SATA drives do but that is what we have at the moment. I also hate when they don't put a 1X slot right above the first 16X slot. With two full sized graphics cards I expect at least five usable slots before NVMe.
 
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