OWC has introduced a new adapter that allows you to build a 2.5-inch U.2 SSD using a mainstream NVMe M.2 drive. The U2 ShuttleOne adapter maintains key advantages that a U.2 SSD has for typical users, yet it comes at a fraction of U.2 drive pricing.
OWC's U2 ShuttleOne is essentially a 2.5-inch/15-mm metal box that can house an M.2-2280 SSD (one of the best SSDs, perhaps?). The adapter packs a rather simplistic motherboard with an M.2-2280 slot, a power management IC (PMIC), and a set of capacitors to enable hot pluggability.
The adapter essentially connects a drive to an SFF-8639 connector, supporting all speeds featured by a U.2 interface (i.e., up to 8 GB/s supported by a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface).
U.2 SSDs are typically positioned for enterprise, mission-critical, and workstation applications, so they are pretty expensive compared to regular M.2-2280 drives. Unlike M.2 SSDs for client PCs, U.2 drives feature higher endurance, higher sustained performance, high capacity, considerably better cooling, hot pluggability, and ruggedness.
But U.2 drives aren't only used in the data center. There are many creators (and other types of users) that need to transfer large files from one PC to another quite often and they don't need enterprise grade-endurance or extreme capacity but can appreciate all the other features, such as performance and ruggedness. The U2 ShuttleOne is designed just for this kind of user.
OWC's U2 ShuttleOne is $44.99. The price difference between an M.2-2280 and a U.2 SSD is considerably higher. Meanwhile, a U.2 ShuttleOne populated with a 480GB SSD costs $149.
A U2 ShuttleOne can be plugged into any U.2-supporting backplane, including a workstation with an appropriate slot, a server, a NAS, or a DAS.
Note that, if you're shopping for this or another OWC product, you may be able to find savings on our curated list of OWC promo codes.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.
I moved my second SSD from the bottom M.2 slot to the U.2 port (both connected through the X570 chipset) and here are the results:Reply
On this board (Asus Pro WS X570-ACE) the bottom M.2 slot starts at x2 and gets cut down to x1 when the x1 expansion slot is in use. Quite an improvement! I used ICYDOCK's M.2-to-U.2 adapter/caddy but this OWC one looks nice too.
Looks like a solid piece of hardware and the pricing seems surprisingly decent given it's OWC and I believe this is the only PCIe 4.0 compliant one on the market.Reply
For me it'll be a debate between potential future PC use (current PC is PCIe 3.0) and the cheaper price of the ICYDOCK one. Been looking at getting a M.2 -> U.2 caddy so I can upgrade to NVMe storage without dropping a new heat source between my video card and CPU.