Using U.2?

evilpaul

New Member
Oct 15, 2020
22
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I'm kind of new to the enterprise connector world. I'm wondering how one goes about connecting 2.5" enterprise SSDs into a system without fancy backplanes and such?

I've found M.2 adapters like this one: https://www.amazon.com/U-2-M-2-Adapter-Interface-Drive/dp/B073WGN61Y with the SFF 8643(?) two-mini-PCB-looking connector that would go into a regular M.2 slot on a motherboard.

And this cable to connect from the plug on that adapter into the power+data connector on the back of the 2.5" drives: https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-Internal-SFF-8643-SFF-8639/dp/B0716K357W/
Is the SATA power connector on the cable necessary or does the braided cable provide power? Every one of these cables I've found has a molded (rather than crimped) SATA power connector which the r/Datahoarder people tell me is a great way to find out what types of fires your homeowner's insurance will cover. (First person, "Oh, yeah. I was using one of those--caught fire last year, here's my scorched computer pictures!" Second person, "Oh! Me too, here's the HDD with charred PCB that I have to show for it.", etc.)

Should I just not bother with them unless I can get a server chassis+backplane? Or are the adapters and cables safe and reliable in smaller, less "enterprise" systems?
 

BlueFox

Well-Known Member
Oct 26, 2015
1,278
679
113
That's the way to do it. Intel made all-in-one adapter/cable, but has since discontinued it, so they're harder to find. The M.2 slot will not provide enough power, so the SATA power cable is required. Do keep in mind that U.2 drives can go up to ~30W, so make sure the drive is adequately cooled.

I've personally been running a U.2 drive in my ITX desktop using an adapter like that for 6 years now. No issues to report and I've been quite happy with it.
 

NateS

Member
Apr 19, 2021
86
42
18
Sacramento, CA, US
Yep, like BlueFox says, if you're adapting to M.2, you need a power cable since the slot doesn't provide enough. However, PCIe slots do provide enough power, so if you have a spare one of those, something like this would be another option: Amazon.com: Dilinker U.2 to PCIe Adapter - x4 PCIe - for 2.5" U.2 NVMe SSD - SFF-8639 PCIe Adapter - U.2 SSD - PCIe SSD - U.2 Drive(PEX4SFF8639): Industrial & Scientific

FWIW, I think most people who are starting fires with molded SATA power connectors are doing so with splitters. If you're trying to power 4 drives through the same molded connector, that's a whole lot more likely to cause problems than just powering one. I too have been using a U-2-M.2 adapter with a molded SATA connector for a few years without issue.
 

Rand__

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2014
5,521
1,191
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That totally depends on how many you want to run and what board you have - there are many options...

-M2 as you already found
-U2-> PCIE like this (no endorsement, illustration only) U.2 SFF-8639 Adapter PCIe 2.5' SSD PCI-E X4 intel PCIe3.0 PCI-E3.0 GEN3 M-KEY | eBay
- Adapters with multiple ones, eg 2xm2 , 2x 8643 or occulink, the same x4 eg from Supermicro, they also have adapter cables.


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had a post about some of these here: https://forums.servethehome.com/ind...ermicro-boards-for-aoc-slg3-2e4t-et-al.17651/