I'm not even a knowledgeable layperson when it comes to storage technology, but I enjoyed reading Chris Siebenmann's post about how m.2 solid-state drives became standard. Just three years ago, it seems, people in the know expected another standard, u.2, to replace the aging SATA hookups anyone who built a PC in the 21st century will know well. But m.2. won, at least with consumers. Pictured above is a photo of an m.2 SSD resting on top of a u.2. SSD, from PCPer.
Technology change and failed standards are not exactly new to the PC world, but for me this is still an interesting and impressive example of it in action. U.2 was the obvious thing in the middle of 2015, and then two years later it had just disappeared completely. … While U.2 theoretically makes it easier to have larger NVMe SSDs, my impression is that in the consumer market the largest limiting factor on SSD sizes is how much people have been willing to pay for them. This certainly is the case for me.
He lays out some of the m.2 advantages, such as compatibility with SATA and laptop-friendliness, but the thing that strikes me is how incomprehensible it is to some that m.2 won out. Siebenman links to u.2.'s wikipedia article. The article includes a "comparison to m.2" section that sounds like it's about to burst into tears…
… and yet to me it's obvious. Why would anyone prefer a bulky, case-bound SSD with thick double-decker connectors and annoying rubbery cables over one that looks just like a wee stick of RAM — and slots right into the motherboard in similarly convenient fashion?
Just think: someone somewhere is mad that RAM cables aren't a thing.