Ever since the NUC6CAYS and NUC6CAYH (aka Arches Canyon) were released, there’s been a question of whether or not the PCIe slot occupied by the WiFi card could be used for storage instead. I’ve had several readers ask me this, and I’ve seen the question come up on other sites as well. so I reached out to the NUC team to see what they had to say. Here’s what one of the NUC team’s design engineers responded with:
“…there are several signals that are specific for SATA/PCIe that do not appear on the E-Key slot. M.2 slots are not universal. A decision must be made during design as to what it will support and signals supporting those devices are routed to the slot. So, if it is not supposed to support storage, SATA and PCIe signals will not be routed (or will be minimally routed).”
The engineer also provided me the following table comparing the keying of the m.2 slot of this model and a different model that IS designed for storage. Arches Canyon is on the left, and the items highlighted in yellow are the differences.
Seems pretty definitive…the answer from the folks who made it is a resounding “No.”
That, coupled with the fact that there just isn’t clearance for anything larger than the WiFi card, would seem to put this to rest as a “Nope, don’t bother…not recommended…not even a little. Give up now. Turn back before you regret it” scenario.
Bottom line; if you were planning on buying one of these, pulling the WiFi card, and forcing an SSD in there, you might want to think again.