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Intel rebrands the SFF-8639 connector on its SSD 750 Series to U.2

By Dr. Jimmy Tang - on 3 Jun 2015, 5:32pm

Intel rebrands the SFF-8639 connector on its SSD 750 Series to U.2

Following the launch of the Intel SSD 750 series about two months ago, Intel announced today at Computex 2015 that the SSD Form Factor Working Group will rebrand their specification known as the SFF-8639 connector to a much simpler name - U.2 ("U dot 2"). This basically means that NVMe-based SSDs in the 2.5-inch form factor will now be specified with the U.2 interface, as opposed to the rather uninspiring technical name that was formerly used by the working group.

The latest Intel SSD 750 Series with the newly rebranded U.2 (formerly SFF-8639) interface.

The new U.2 interface now combines with M.2 as part of the family that drives the new interface solution for NVMe supported products. M.2 will co-exist with U.2 since M.2 is the interface mainly used in small form factor products, predominantly AIOs, 2-in-1s and laptops while U.2 will be the standard used on desktops, workstations and servers. The motherboard and server industry will be rallying behind this new interconnect with big names like Supermicro, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and Asrock announcing their support for this.

New U.2 cables were also launched as well as a standard U.2 to M.2 adapter that lets you convert existing M.2 slots to work with U.2.

This U.2 to M.2 converter lets you use 2.5-inch NVMe SSDs in current motherboards equipped with an M.2 slot.

Be prepared for new U.2 cables.

The new NVMe standard is expected to overtake the SATA as the SSD interface in the next couple of years due to its lower latency and higher performance. Expect to see motherboards to feature U.2 interface as standard interfaces for next generation NVMe SSDs as opposed to SATA. For now, motherboard manufacturers will bundle converters to be used with existing M.2 ports to allow a seamless transition to the new standard.

NVMe SSDs such as the Intel 750 series offers as much as 5x more IOPs as compared to a SATA based SSD drive such as the Intel 730 series. As NVMe is optimized for SSDs, latency in NVMe SSDs will also experience reduction in latency by as much as 6x over traditional SAS/SATA interfaces.

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