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Interchanging M.2 & U.2 NVMe Solution
Date: 2022.08.18
What is M.2


The M.2 NVMe SSD originally started as an M.2 SATA SSD, which is used to describe the smallest form factor of an SSD that can be packed into the size of a gum stick. The reason why M.2  SSDs have become more favorable in recent times in taking over SATA SSDs is due to the simple installation and cableless drive. Typically, SATA SSDs provide a transfer speed of up to 6Gb/s, meanwhile the NVMe drives offer up to 64Gb/s. The M.2 NVMe drives are much quicker due to them utilizing flash memory modules which allows quick start-ups, reliability, and increased performance.

What is U.2

The U.2 (2.5”) NVMe SSD or otherwise formerly known as the SFF-8639, is a high-performance drive with transfer speed up to 64Gb/s. U.2 drives are not commonly found (although slowly becoming more common today) because it was first designed for the specialized markets of large-scale enterprises. Although the U.2 drives are pricey and difficult to come by, they were essential for these businesses as their threshold for performance and were needed for the intensive applications.


How are they the same?


Both M.2 and U.2 drives utilize the PCIe protocol that is commonly found to connect hardware devices to a computer. They both utilize flash memory and the same PCIe bus interface of x4. This means that both drives interfaces allow for the max transfer speeds of 64Gb/s.


How are they different?


Although both drives utilize the same PCIe connection they are vastly different in terms of size and connection types. The U.2 NVMe drive appears almost like a 2.5” drive and it connects to to a specific connector (SFF-8639) that some motherboards may include. On the other hand, M.2 SATA or NVMe drive are much smaller and connect to motherboard M.2 slots, which can save more space and reduce cabling.  


U.2 Enclosure (MB601VK-1B)

With a small form factor of just a 3.5” floppy bay, the ToughArmorMB601VK-1B is designed to be small, convenient, and rugged. Due to the small mobile server rack size, it is possible to place these enclosures in compact spaces to gather and quickly remove or install a new U.2 NVMe drive. For example, high-performance film production requires a lot of data to be extracted and edited so if the drive becomes full, the end-user can quickly swap out for another U.2 drive the removable drive tray.

M.2 Enclosure (MB601M2K-1B)

Similar to the ToughArmor MB601VK-1B in terms of size and functionality, the ToughArmor MB601M2K-1B offers you the benefit of  using less expensive NVMe drives while maintaining similar transfer speed and performance outputs. The MB601M2K-1B enclosure utilize tool-less adjustable M.2 locker that slides to accommodate all standard M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD drive lengths, ranging from 2230 (30mm)to 22110 (110mm).
ToughArmor MB601VK-1B

Supports 1 x U.2 NVMe SSD up to 15mm

Installs into any standard external 3.5” device bay/floppy bay

PCIe 3.0/4.0 compliant

Supports the full NVMe bandwidth specification of up to 8000 MB/s

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ToughArmor MB601M2K-1B

Supports 1 x M.2 NVMe SSD (fits drive sizes of 30-110mm)

Installs into any standard external 3.5” device bay/floppy bay

PCIe 3.0/4.0 compliant

Supports the full NVMe bandwidth specification of up to 8000 MB/s

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What if you have both M.2 and U.2?

At Icy Dock we’d like to offer versatile equipment for a variety of solutions. Introducing interchangeable trays of the ToughArmor MB601TP-1B (MB601M2K-1B) and MB601TP-B (MB601VK-1B). These two trays are interchangeable within a single enclosure (MB601VK-1B or MB601M2K-1B). If you are already using either one of the enclosure, you can simply purchase the MB601TP-B tray for the U.2 NVMe drive or MB601TP-1B for the M.2 NVMe drive.

ToughArmor MB601TP-1B
Supports 1x M.2 NVMe SSD from 30-110mm
Tray included with ToughArmor MB601M2K-1B
Compatible with ToughArmor MB601VK-1B
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ToughArmor MB601TP-B
Supports 1x U.2 NVMe SSD, up to 15mm
Tray included with ToughArmor MB601VK-1B
Compatible with ToughArmor MB601M2K-1B
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Flexible Mounting for a 5.25” space
If you only have 5.25” bay available, our MB343SP is a space-saving converter that takes a dual 2.5” SSD on the top of the bay and a single 3.5” device bay on the bottom for the MB601VK-1B or MB601M2K-1B
Flex-Fit Trio MB343SP
Converts 5.25" drive bay to support 3.5" drive/device
Feature additional slot for 2x 2.5" drive, up to 9.5mm
Durable and Lightweight design
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EZ-Adapter Ex MB931U-1VB – USB 3.2 to U.2 NVMe SSD Reader

If you need a quick way to access data from your NVMe drive, the EZ-Adapter MB931U-1VB allows connection to the MB601TP-B tray,  MB601TP-1B tray or bare U.2 NVMe drive through USB with transfer rate up to 10Gbps.

EZ-Adapter Ex MB931U-1VB
Supports 1x U.2 NVMe SSD via USB 3.2 Gen 2
Transfer speeds up to 10Gb/s
Up to 10,000+ rated insertion/removal cycles
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Arcadia, CA 91006
Tel: +1 (626) 956 8800
Fax: +1 (626) 829 1425
Email: tech@icydock.com

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