Recent motherboards feature a whole host of M.2 slots, with some mainstream models offering up to five. Very often, most of these slots remain unoccupied, as most users rarely have more than one SSD on this format. Let’s take a look at how to make the most of one of these slots by adding a 10 GbE network card.
A 10 GbE network card in an M.2 slot!
Via AliExpress, you can come across a new oddity: an M.2 card with a network chip . Naturally, the solution comes “in kit form”, with the network module on one side and the Ethernet socket on the other. As you can see, two types of PCIe brackets are supplied, one full-height, the other half-height, depending on the type of case you have. Finally, the connection between the two elements is ensured by a flexible, flat ribbon cable.
Hidden beneath a large heatsink is the network chip, an AQtion AQC107. In terms of throughput, it can send 10 GbE, but is also backward-compatible with 5 GbE, 2.5 GbE and 1 GbE. As for compatibility, it will run on M.2 PCIe x4 in Gen 2.0 at least. And as for supported operating systems, we’ve got Windows 7, Windows Server 2012, Linux and even VMware.
As for the price of this solution, expect to pay around a hundred euros on AliExpress. With the M.2_VGA, this is a second oddity available on the M.2 slot.