Is there anything worse than repeatedly dropping the super tiny screw that lets you install an M.2 solid-state drive in your PC? Yes, but it’s definitely up there on the list — and now, Asus has a solution.
It’s called the Q-Latch, and it’s about as simple as it gets: a plastic retaining lever that you can rotate into place with the single swipe of your thumb. You can get one in several of Asus’ new Z590 and B560 motherboards, though it hasn’t rolled out to the company’s most expensive boards yet, as PCGamesN notes.
— ROG Global (@ASUS_ROG) February 8, 2021
This isn’t a brand-new idea, as the kind of business-oriented laptops and desktops that your sysadmin might have procured have sometimes featured plastic retaining clips in the past, but it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this on DIY desktop components.
More than one Verge staffer is happy to see Asus doing something about this. New SSDs don’t typically come with these screws, so you generally have to carefully save the ones from your motherboard if you want to install one later on. They’re also annoying to insert: I helped one of my buds remotely build a computer last week, and he dropped it repeatedly. (Sorry, friend. Your sad story is memorialized on The Verge now.)
One trick is to place the M.2 screw on the lip of your SSD before you fully press it down against the motherboard, using both the spring tension of the SSD and the tip of your screwdriver to hold it in place as you push down. But if you’d rather not deal with that, I’m seeing Asus’ Q-Latch listed for the following motherboards:
TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi ROG Strix Z590-A Gaming WiFi ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi ROG Strix Z590-F Gaming WiFi ROG Strix B560-A Gaming WiFi ROG Strix B560-F Gaming WiFi ROG Strix B560-G Gaming WiFi
Hopefully, other manufacturers will follow Asus’ lead, but I’m not holding out hope. Remember when I asked whether there was anything worse than M.2 screws? One worse thing is tiny header cables — you know, the ones that seem to enjoy being guillotined by graphics cards and are a pain to slot if you’ve got big hands. Asus has something for that, too, but its “Q-Connector” (see below) isn’t widespread, either.
It’s a little plastic brick with pins that allows you to insert all of the motherboard headers at once. Image: Asus