M.2 vs U.2 SSD: Which is Better for You?

M.2 Vs U.2

If you are looking to upgrade your computer with a new solid state drive, you may be wondering if an u.2 or m.2 SSD is the right choice for you. Both types of SSDs have pros and cons, so deciding which is the best option can be challenging. In this blog post, I will compare and contrast u.2 and m.2 SSDs and help you decide which one is right for your needs!

In summary, M.2 and U.2 are different types of form factors. They both use the PCIe interface and NVME protocol. If you’re a gamer or a regular user looking for a maximum storage space of 8TB, an M.2 NVME is well enough. In that case, go for WD Black SN850 Or Sabrent Rocket Q; if you want to add more drives to the array and create a RAID configuration, though, U.2 is the way to go. WD Gold SN600 is the best.

What is a U.2 SSD?

U.2 SSD (Micron 9300 Pro 7.68TB – Check on Amazon)

U.2 drives are the next generation of high-end storage drives, offering more capacity and scalability than ever before. U.2 drives can be easily scaled up by adding additional drives to the array. This makes U.2 an ideal choice for users needing more high-end storage in a single drive or RAID array.

These SSDs come with 2.5-inch and 3.5 form factors that support the NVME protocol and offer a PCIe interface. Since U.2 uses a PCIe connection, it can provide higher data transfer speeds than SATA.

When several U.2 SSDs are placed in a tower away from the motherboard, they can be cooled independently with their fans, thus lowering system temperatures overall compared to M.2.

The U.2 form factor is designed for high-performance computing (HPC) systems that require more high-end storage in a single drive or RAID array. The scalability of U.2 is undoubtedly appealing, given the demands of HPC users who require greater high-end storage. By using a device like an OWC Mercury Pro (Check on Amazon), you can create a unique RAID disk configuration to provide big storage for your needs.

OWC ThunderBay

The introduction of PCIe SSDs has revolutionized enterprise storage, providing speeds that are up to 10 times faster than traditional SAS and SATA drives. However, this new technology is not compatible with the existing SAS and SATA interfaces. This posed a problem for server and storage system manufacturers, who would have to shut down their systems in order to insert or remove PCIe SSDs.

In order to solve this problem, the U.2 standard was developed. U.2 enables PCIe SSDs to be plugged into the same drive backplane as legacy SAS and SATA drives, without the need for shutdowns. This allows for a more seamless transition to the new generation of storage devices, while still being compatible with existing infrastructure. U.2 is now the de facto standard for enterprise PCIe SSDs and is supported by all major server and storage system manufacturers.

Advantages of U.2 SSDs

Easy Plug and Play

One of the most significant advantages of U.2 SSDs over add-in cards (AIC) that connect to a computer’s internal PCIe bus is that users do not have to open a server to insert or remove them. U.2 SSDs connect to a special slot on the motherboard that is designed for this purpose, and they can be removed and replaced without opening up the server.

This makes it much easier to upgrade or repair an SSD, and it also reduces the risk of damaging the SSD or the server itself. In addition, U.2 SSDs tend to be more reliable than AICs, because they are less likely to be damaged by heat or vibration. As a result, U.2 SSDs are often the preferred choice for mission-critical applications.

Backward compatibility

The U.2 connector and form factor are backward compatible with HDDs. This means you can use an HDD in a device that uses the U.2 connector and form factor. Enterprise servers and storage systems can be built with a combination of 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch HDDs and PCIe, SAS, or SATA-based U.2 SSDs to meet the demands of clients.

The advantage of using U.2 over other interfaces is that it enables greater flexibility in system configuration while providing the high data transfer rates required by SSDs. U.2 is also ideal for high bandwidth applications such as video editing or Gaming. Using U.2 drives in 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factors makes them a versatile solution for enterprise storage applications.

Offers Optional support for SMBus

The System Management Bus (SMBus) is a two-wire bus used to communicate between integrated circuits in personal computers and servers. The U.2 SSD specification offers optional support for the SMBus protocol to monitor voltage and temperature on the motherboard’s control or system management controller.

The SMBus is a slave-only bus, meaning each device on the bus has a unique address and can only respond to commands sent to its address. The SMBus monitors voltage and temperature on the motherboard’s control or system management controller.

The SMBus is also used to control fan speed and power supply voltages. The U.2 SSD specification offers optional support of the SMBus protocol to monitor voltage and temperature on the motherboard’s control or system management controller. This feature can be used to improve the reliability of SSDs by preventing data loss due to overheating.

What is an M.2 SSD

Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Check on Amazon)

M.2 is a physical specification for SSDs (solid state drives). It was designed to replace the mSATA standard, which was typically used in smaller devices such as laptops and Ultrabooks. M.2 SSDs are more versatile than mSATA drives, as they can be used in a wider range of devices, including desktop PCs, servers, and embedded systems.

M.2 drives are available in different sizes and form factors and can use various interface protocols, such as SATA and NVMe. The most common type of M.2 SSD is 2280 (22mm wide and 80mm long), but other sizes are also available, such as the 22110 (22mm wide and 110mm long).

Some M.2 drives use the SATA protocol, which offers data transfer speeds of up to 600 MB/s. However, the PCI Express interface can offer much higher data transfer speeds, making it ideal for applications that require high performance, such as gaming or video editing.

NVMe is a newer interface protocol that is designed specifically for SSDs. It offers even higher data transfer speeds by using PCI Express, making it the best choice for applications that require the absolute highest performance.

If you visit a computer shop and inquire about an NVME SSD, you’ll almost certainly be given this M.2 SSD type. In fact, I wrote many articles regarding NVME SSDs. Here are some of them:

M.2 vs U.2 – How are they different?

Form factor

M.2 and U.2 are both types of physical connection interfaces used for connecting SSDs (Solid State Drives) to a computer. M.2 is a small, flat, board while U.2 is the 2.5” form factor you’re familiar with from most SATA SSDs.

Motherboard connection

M.2 drives are designed to be placed directly on the motherboard so they don’t require a cable, while U.2 drives connect using a cable that looks like a double-decker SATA connector.

Which is faster U.2 NVMe vs PCIe NVMe?

Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, or PCIe, is a hardware specification for a bus. It is the standard for connecting high-speed devices to a computer. A bus is defined as a signal path that travels through a set of devices and allows them to communicate using a variety of software protocols.

NVMe specifies how data is transferred between the SSD and the computer. U.2 is a form factor for PCIe devices. So, u.2 NVMe is a PCIe device that complies with the NVMe specification. So when someone asks this, he is talking the same thing.

For further information regarding NVME, please allow me to expound.

NVME (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a storage technology that enables fast data access and retrieval by connecting the storage directly to the CPU via the PCI Express bus. This significantly reduces latency and Bottlenecks compared to traditional storage protocols such as SAS and SATA.

NVME drives are available in different form factors, including M.2, U.2 and AIC (Add-In Card). The most common form factor is M.2 which is used in laptops, Ultrabooks and some desktop PCs. U.2 form factor drives are typically used in servers and high-end desktop PCs.

AIC form factor drives are used in enterprise servers. An Add-in Card (AIC) is a printed circuit board that can be added to an electronic device to extend its functionality. AICs are often used in computing devices, where they can provide additional storage, networking, or audio/video capabilities. AICs come in various form factors, but the most common is the PCIe card. 

So the speed of a U.2 NVME SSD depends on implementation and the SSD brand. Some of the affecting factors are

  • Protocol type (PCIe 3, PCIe,4)
  • No of the lanes uses ( PCIe 3*4 or PCIe 3*2)
  • The SSD controller
  • Whether its a DRAM or DRAM-less SSD (DRAM-less SSDs are usually slower)
  • Type of NAND used (MLC, TLC, QLC)
  • The quality and grade.
  • Number of NAND flash modules in parallel
  • The amount of cache in SLC (sub-level cache)
  • The thermal limitations of some SSDs can cause them to throttle under load.

Is a U.2 SSD any faster than an M.2 SSD?

Both U.2 and M.2 drives offer exceptional performance, with data transfer speeds of up to 32 GB/s for PCIe 3.0. However, some differences between the two technologies may make one more suitable for your needs than the other.

For example, U.2 drives tend to be more expensive than M.2 drives, but they offer greater compatibility with older systems. In addition, U.2 drives are available in 2.5 form factor, which is the most used form factor, making them more versatile.

Ultimately, the choice between U.2 and M.2 comes from personal preference and technical requirements. Both technologies offer excellent performance and should be able to meet the needs of most users.

Which is best? U.2 or M.2?

While both NVMe U.2 and M.2 drives offer excellent performance, U.2 drives are externally swappable in enclosures, making them easier to use and safer to handle than M.2 drives.

When it comes to storage, there are a lot of different options available on the market. For most users with regular storage needs of 2TB or less, an M.2 NVMe will do the job. However, for users who need more high-end storage in either a single drive or RAID array, the scalability of U.2 is likely appealing. U.2 drives are available in sizes up to 8TB and can be easily scaled up by adding additional drives to the array.

Recommended U.2 SSDs

WD Gold SN600 U.2

Looking for an enterprise-grade SSD that can help improve your business’s productivity? Look no further than the WD SN600 NVMe Internal SSD. This next-generation solid state drive is built for speed, with faster data transfer and lower latency than standard SATA SSDs.

And its power loss protection feature lets you work with confidence, knowing that your data is safe even during a power outage. Plus, with its fast and effective secure erase function, you can rest assured that sensitive data will be permanently erased.

Available in a range of capacities, WD Gold SSDs offer the perfect storage solution for your business needs.

Micron 9300 Pro

If you’re looking for storage that won’t let you down, the Micron 9300 Pro is a perfect choice. With sequential data read and write speeds of over 3.5 GB per second, it’s always up to the task. Plus, it’s more energy efficient than a typical hard drive, so you’ll save on power costs. And with a massive capacity of up to 7.68 TB, you’ll never have to worry about running out of space. So why settle for anything less? Get the Micron 9300 Pro and enjoy all the benefits of a high-performance NVMe SSD.

For 3.84 TB Click here. Micron 9300 Pro 3.84TB

WD Ultrastar DC SN630

When you need fast, reliable, and compatible storage with a wide range of devices, you need the WD Ultrastar DC SN630. This PCIe Gen 3.1 drive has a x4 interface and NVMeTM 1.3 compliance for easy compatibility and its hot swap/hot plug support with data-loss protection protects your important data.

Plus, it’s optimized for read-intensive and mixed-use workloads, making it the perfect choice for busy users who need a little bit of everything. Get the speed and reliability you need with the WD Ultrastar DC SN630.


Share for my friends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *