Icy Dock has developed the industry’s only U.2 to USB 3.2 Gen 2 adapter, which lets you connect an enterprise-grade U.2 SSD to any desktop or laptop with a USB Type-A or Type-C port. The EZ-Adapter Ex MB931U-1VB targets people who need to transfer data from an enterprise-grade SSD to a PC or those who use U.2 drives as recording medium and need to transfer videos to a computer. But PC builders may be attracted to the adapter too.
The U.2 form-factor (SFF-8639) was developed primarily for business and mission-critical server and workstation applications that have very strict requirements for connectivity, thermals, reliability and hot-plug capability. Today, U.2 drives used in servers and workstations and more. For example, select Blackmagic cameras with the Ursa Mini Recorder attached can use U.2 SSDs as storage medium.
A big market for the EZ-Adapter Ex MB931U-1VB are content creators who have to transfer loads of data from one PC to another (or from a camera to a PC). 10GbE networks used in studios are fast, yet a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface of U.2 SSDs is a lot faster, so it makes sense to use U.2 SSDs as flash drives. There are also people who might prefer to use enterprise-grade SSDs as their direct attached storage (DAS), due to their higher endurance and reliability.
But another potential market comes from PC DIYers. U.2 SSDs tend to be very expensive when bought from the IT channel, but they can also be found on sites like eBay for considerably cheaper. Depending on the model, U.2 drives are designed for read-intensive, write-intensive or mixed workloads. Even after some time in service, most U.2 SSDs will have plenty of resource left. Furthermore, such drives are tailored for sustained, rather than burst, performance. As a result, even used U.2 SSDs may be faster and more durable than cheap consumer-grade drives rated for 0.2 DWPD over a three-year period. Hence, it makes sense to consider U.2 SSDs for DIY DAS applications.
Yet, connecting such drives to PCs is complicated, as only select desktop workstations have U.2 ports (or M.2 to U.2 adapters), and not all of them have adapters that can house a U.2 drive. Furthermore, there are no laptops with U.2 slots.
Icy Dock’s EZ-Adapter Ex MB931U-1VB is based on the ASMedia ASM2362 controller. It can house any U.2 SSD and connect it to a PC with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A or Type-C connector.
The EZ-Adapter Ex MB931U-1VB adapter is available now for $150 from Amazon. A power adapter and USB-A and USB-C cables are included.