How to Check if your system supports a WD Black PCIe Solid State Drive

There are both hardware and software requirements for WD Black PCIe SSDs. On hardware side, the motherboard must include an M.2 connector that supports PCIe and NVMe SSDs. On software side, it is important to know, the drivers are a function of the host BIOS and Chip set on the motherboard and Operating System (OS) installed must support PCIe NVMe SSDs. It is best to contact the motherboard or PC manufacturer for possible updates to the BIOS and Chip set and ensure the operating system is current with the latest patches and updates prior to installation of new hardware. These requirements are further explained in the sections below.

Physical Size Requirement
The WD Black PCIe SSD is an M.2 2280 form factor. It is a standard 22mm wide x 80 mm long, and up to 2.4mm tall.All M.2 NVMe SSDs are a standard 22mm, however, other products may vary in length as 30, 42, 60, 80 or 110 mm.

A longer slot space can generally accommodate a shorter device. Thus, the WD Black PCIe SSD can fit into a M.2 2280 or larger slot. However in both cases, it must be securely screwed down with an appropriate retaining screw.

M.2 Connector Requirement
To help plug in the correct peripheral type into the target M.2 connector, the standard defines keys A through M on the connector and corresponding notches A through M on the device.

An SSD M.2 connector for SSD uses keys in position B and M to prevent a non-SSD device from being plugged into it. However, the specification allows the SSD connector to be implemented to support the following:
  1. A SATA only SSD
  2. A SATA or NVMe SSD.

An M.2 SSD connector can have B+M key, or an M key only.

The table and figures below shows mechanical compatibility between the SSD connector types and SSD devices.

WD Black PCIe SSD SATA SSD (such as WD Blue SSD)
Physical M.2 connector M notch only B + M notches
B+M keys (Socket 2) No Yes
M key only (Socket 3) Yes Yes


Figure 1: SATA M.2 2280 SSD with B+M notches

Figure 2: NVMe M.2 2280 SSD with M notchs

To support a WD Black PCIe SSD, the system must have an M.2 connector with only an M key. The WD Black PCIe SSD does not have a B notch and therefore, the B key on the SSD connector will prevent it from being inserted.

See Figure 3 below for reference related to the M Key connector on motherboard

Figure 3: M.2 Connector with M key

BIOS NVMe Support
Even if the M.2 connector with only an M key can accept a SATA SSD or a PCIe NVMe SSD, the system BIOS must also be capable of supporting a PCIe NVMe SSD. You will need to refer to the technical manual of your system to ensure that a Gen 3 x 4 lane PCIe NVMe SSD is supported in that system.

If you wish to install Windows operating system, the BIOS should be configured as UEFI mode with Legacy support disabled. You will also need to boot from UEFI mode for successful Windows installation.

OS requirement
Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 have native support for PCIe NVMe SSDs. Their installation packages includes in-box driver that supports PCIe NVMe drives, or allows installation of Intel iRST driver (version 14.8 or newer) to support a PCIe NVMe SSD.

Similarly, new versions of Ubuntu and other flavors of Linux support PCIe NVMe SSDs using the newer storage drivers.

Windows 7 does not natively support PCIe NVMe SSDs. Using the default Windows 7 installation package and attempting to install Windows 7 on a system with a PCIe NVMe SSD will fail because no SSDs will be detected. To install Windows 7 on a PCIe NVMe SSD-based system, please consult with Microsoft for more information

Driver level requirement
The WD Black PCIe SSD does not require any special drivers. It supports standard Windows (8.1 and above) in-box, Intel iRST or Linux NVMe storage drivers.

While not required as part of installation or normal operation, WD provides a monitoring and FW update tool called WD SSD Dashboard that you can download and install. This tool will allow you to check the health of the drive and perform SSD firmware update, in case a new firmware is released to enhance the stability of the SSD. To learn more about the WD SSD Dashboard, please visit the WD SSD Dashboard Download page.

In case the answer did not answer your question, you can always visit the WD Community for help from WD users.

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