I am about to purchase a Samsung 950 Pro PCIe SSD. I have a MSI 970A motherboard. I am wondering if I can insert the 950 pro stick directly into one of the x16 slots. I read online that PCIe slots are backwards compatible (so the x4 should work in a x16).

Is this possible? Do I need a converter?

Also, don't have a M.2 slot on my motherboard. I noticed I have PCIe2.0 slots, not 3.0 slots. Will my SSD still work?

  • I answered your question, though I have a counter question... I'm asking as a comment, because it's a frame change: Why are you looking at M.2 devices when you don't have an M.2-capable motherboard? Is there some reason you're not looking at a 2.5" form factor SSD that uses a SATA interface?
    – T.J.L.
    May 22, 2016 at 17:53
  • Welcome to Hardware Recommendations! I've closed this question because it's asking us for technical support. Remember that we can't do troubleshooting, tech support or compatibility queries. If your question isn't any of those, please clarify exactly what hardware you're looking for, and make sure your question focuses on the hardware recommendation rather than the tech support.
    – ArtOfCode
    May 22, 2016 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


The linked drive may use a PCIe interface, but it not a PCIe form factor card. It is an M.2 form factor device and requires an M.2 slot. Without some sort of adapter, it will not work in your M.2-lacking motherboard.

The M.2 form factor is designed to connect to multiple interfaces - SATA and PCIe - over the same physical connector. Depending on the capabilities of the connector and device, they're keyed differently to prevent you from attempting to connect incompatible devices (a PCIe-only device in a SATA-only M.2 port, for instance).

The adapter you linked should do the job. As far as PCIe 2.0 vs. PCIe 3.0 goes, PCIe 3.0 devices are backwards compatible, they'll just run slower.

As far as lane count goes, you can use a card that demands fewer lanes (4x vs 16x) in a slot with more lanes; the other pins aren't on the card, and therefore do nothing. Going the other direction requires paying more attention. Some cards need the bandwidth of all the lanes they're spec'd for, and some boards have things like 8x electrical slots in 16x mechanical slots for security/fit purposes (there are missing pins on the board end).

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