Next Generation Form Factor, refers to an increasingly popular specification for internally-mounted external computer expansion cards, such as cards designed to connect to USB ports and other peripherals with an internal M.2 connector. M.2 replaces the older M.SATA specification, which used the PCI Express mini card design and connectors. M.2 is a more efficient way to provide storage space and power to a peripheral device, which allows the user to have more than one device attached at once. M.2 has become more common in today's computing world, but does not have all the characteristics that a user would like when considering upgrading their computer.
M.2 can be purchased through several Internet sources, with prices ranging from a few dollars for a basic connector to more than one hundred dollars for a high-end, fully-configured, M.2-compatible adapter. Depending on your personal budget, however, you may decide to purchase an M.2 connector or adapter to replace the existing one in your system. This is particularly important if you use your computer more frequently, such as when using it for personal purposes.
There are two primary types of M.2 adapters, one designed to convert traditional USB devices into M.2 compatible ones, and another to simply add M.2 devices to your current setup. When purchasing either type, make sure that the adapter will work with your system before making the final purchase. Compatibility of the adapter with your current setup can sometimes be determined through an inspection of the M.2 port and adapter itself.
If you wish to add a connector to your M.2 port in order to expand your peripheral devices, it is important to understand the M.2 connector and the specific specifications associated with it. Each type of connector is a different product and different manufacturers produce them. Some manufacturers specialize in only one manufacturer's specific connector type, while others produce many types. In order to determine which M.2 adapter or converter you will need for your system, you may want to consult with a professional computer consultant.
For many computer users, the M.2 connector is not necessary. Most of the time, the M.2 adapter that connects to a USB port and the USB port itself can serve this purpose very well, and it is also possible to purchase adapters that are compatible with certain devices, but which will work with other USB devices without any additional M.2 adaptors. When purchasing an M.2 adapter for a device that requires an external M.2 port, however, you must know the exact specifications of the device that you are using so you can ensure that the adapter will work properly.
The majority of M.2 adapters are backwards compatible, meaning that they can be used to connect to your existing M.SATA port without any changes to your computer. This makes them very convenient for consumers who wish to use the adapter to provide backup storage for external drives, or to connect to the computer through another port so that you can continue using your current USB port.
You can purchase an adapter for most devices that need an M.2 connection, including those that connect through USB, FireWire, or other ports, as long as there is no requirement that the adapter be backwards-compatible. Some M.SATA devices that require an adapter can not be connected directly to the computer without an adapter, because some devices require an additional M.SATA adapter to be able to work with the computer at all. The most common adapters for these devices are known as "gateway" adapters, which allow the user to connect the adapter to the computer and then attach the M.SATA device through the USB port. These gateways typically charge the device before providing the ability to use it, but after a specified amount of time, the device will be powered off and the adapter is charged.
If you plan to buy an adapter for a computer with M.SATA, it is best to consult with a computer consultant to ensure that you buy the right adapter for your particular computer, since some of the devices that require an adapter can only function with certain M.SATA connectors and are incompatible with others. Some of the adapters that are compatible are M.SATA to USB adapters. and M.SATA to FireWire adapters. These adapters have one M.SATA port that is backwards-compatible with the other devices and are compatible with most other devices that need an M.SATA port.