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M.2 drives and CRU Forensic Ultradock v5  

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fraudit
(@fraudit)
Member

I've finally got the M.2 M-key to SATA adapter and connected the M.2 drive to my CRU Forensic Ultradock v5 (latest firmware).

Unfortunately the blocker is not detecting the drive connected. Looks like some compatibility problem, as when I turn on the blocker, the red LED next to the exclamation mark flashes briefly and then the drive is not recognized.

Both cable and adapter are working, as I tested them separately. The dock works as well, as it detects any other drive.

Possilby the problem lies with the drive - it's Samsung MVNe MZ-VLB1T00 unit present in many Lenovo models. I acutally have two of them and none gets recognized. I don't think it's relevant but both of them are BitLocker encrypted.

Since CRU offers its own adapter for M.2 drives for that dock, I guess that it's compatibile with M.2 drives (though it's quite old product). I've asked this question to support but still waiting for the answer.

Hence my question posted here does anyone have issues with such hardware combination? If so, were you able to resolve them? How?

Quote
Posted : 03/09/2019 10:30 am
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Only a wild-wild guess, but could it be an issue with B vs. M (or B&M or viceversa, or the contrary of it) connectors?
Or a NGSFF? 😯
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2#NGSFF_(NF1)

Or any other (stupid) issue about non-standard standards?

There is at least a report of yet another non-standard interface (though that one is the opposite, reading a Samsung, but not a Toshiba)
https://www.forensicfocus.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=15806/

But that SAMSUNG SSD is (should be) NVME so it is (should be) PciE compatible and not SATA compatible, see specifically
https://www.forensicfocus.com/Forums/viewtopic/p=6590297/#6590297

Or maybe it is a "strange beast" like this one
https://www.forensicfocus.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=15577/

I love standards, there is so many of them …

jaclaz

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Posted : 03/09/2019 4:06 pm
deeFIR
(@deefir)
Junior Member

Is it this unit?

https://www.cru-inc.com/products/wiebetech/sata-adapter-for-m-2-sata-ssds/

The unit shows a photo of an M key adapter. Does the unit work with any other Samsung NVMe drives?

If not, I suggest it would be a firmware or other device compatibility issues - perhaps with insufficient power being delivered to the flash controller.

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Posted : 04/09/2019 6:31 am
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Is it this unit?

https://www.cru-inc.com/products/wiebetech/sata-adapter-for-m-2-sata-ssds/

The unit shows a photo of an M key adapter. Does the unit work with any other Samsung NVMe drives?

If not, I suggest it would be a firmware or other device compatibility issues - perhaps with insufficient power being delivered to the flash controller.

If it is that one, it won't work for a NVME SSD, the description is clear enough;

SATA Adapter for M.2 SATA SSDs

In a nutshell
M.2 SATA to SATA = adapter
M.2 NVME to PCiE= adapter
M.2 NVME to SATA= converter

If you prefer
M.2 = form factor
NVME= Protocol =~ PCiE
PCiE = Protocol
SATA = Protocol

jaclaz

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Posted : 04/09/2019 9:57 am
fraudit
(@fraudit)
Member

It's actually weird that they list the M.2 adapter as the Forensic Dock v5 accessory…

I've got the support response and it IS compatibility issue. Here's what they wrote

The Forensic UltraDock only has a SATA contoller so it can only read SATA drives.
While NVMe connectors look very similar to SATA, our SATA docks are unable to communicate over the NVMe protocol.

At the same time if I used almost $100 converter from M.2 to SATA to connect it, I'd say it should work, don't you think so? The adapter electronics should convert the signals to the handable format…

This makes me think also the new generation of this dock (v5.5) won't be able to handle M.2 drives.

The support guy actually suggested I got their Ditto product that's able to process M.2 drives.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 04/09/2019 11:16 am
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

It's actually weird that they list the M.2 adapter as the Forensic Dock v5 accessory…

I've got the support response and it IS compatibility issue. Here's what they wrote

The Forensic UltraDock only has a SATA contoller so it can only read SATA drives.
While NVMe connectors look very similar to SATA, our SATA docks are unable to communicate over the NVMe protocol.

At the same time if I used almost $100 converter from M.2 to SATA to connect it, I'd say it should work, don't you think so? The adapter electronics should convert the signals to the handable format…

This makes me think also the new generation of this dock (v5.5) won't be able to handle M.2 drives.

The support guy actually suggested I got their Ditto product that's able to process M.2 drives.

Yep, that is EXACTLY what I posted till now.

Again, it is not an M.2 to SATA conversion issue, it is a NVME to SATA non-conversion issue.

But you can get a "normal" NVME (M.2 form factor) to USB 3.1 converter, example (US$ 55)

https://www.addonics.com/products/m2nvmu31.php

and treat it as if it was *any* USB 3.1 device.

Cheaper (US$ 30)
https://www.newegg.com/p/0VN-0003-001D4?Description=m.2%20nvme%20to%20sata%20adapter&cm_re=m.2_nvme_to_sata_adapter-_-9SIA1DS91E7169-_-Product

At the same time if I used almost $100 converter from M.2 to SATA to connect it, I'd say it should work, don't you think so? The adapter electronics should convert the signals to the handable format…

WHICH converter? ?

AFAIK only NVME to U.2 (SFF-8639)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.2
converters exist.
So at the most it will be possible to do some sort of NVME to SATA Express
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SATA_Express
(which is not SATA).

jaclaz

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Posted : 04/09/2019 1:03 pm
fraudit
(@fraudit)
Member

But you can get a "normal" NVME (M.2 form factor) to USB 3.1 converter, example (US$ 55)

https://www.addonics.com/products/m2nvmu31.php

and treat it as if it was *any* USB 3.1 device.

This is what I eventually did, after first taking an urgent image with CAINE.

WHICH converter? ?

I've purchased the Delock converter SATA 22 pin / SFF-8643 NVMe > 1 x M.2 Key M, hoping it will do the job. Well, it didn't…

ReplyQuote
Posted : 04/09/2019 1:49 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Well, it didn't…

Sure it didn't.

Confusing as it might be the whole stuff, the description of that DeLock is clear enough
https://www.delock.de/produkte/G_62703/merkmale.html?setLanguage=en

surely they might have highlighted the or

The converter can be installed into your system internally through the SATA 22 pin interface while using a SATA M.2 SSD,

or

via the SFF-8643 interface while using a PCIe M.2 SSD.

SF-8643 is yet another "standard", mini-SAS
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_Attached_SCSI

jaclaz

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Posted : 04/09/2019 2:07 pm
fraudit
(@fraudit)
Member

Which as I understand means that I can connect either a regular mSATA drive via SATA cable or M.2 drive via the PCI cable, is that correct?

ReplyQuote
Posted : 04/09/2019 2:14 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Which as I understand means that I can connect either a regular mSATA drive via SATA cable or M.2 drive via the PCI cable, is that correct?

Not really.
I have no idea of what you mean by PCI cable, they don't exist AFAIK, unless you mean a PCiE "riser" cable *like*
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16812183022?Description=pcie%20cable&cm_re=pcie_cable-_-12-183-022-_-Product

M.2 is a form factor.
mSATA is another form factor.
See
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2

SATA is a protocol/interface.
PCI and PCiE (or NVME) are protocols/interfaces.

A SATA (protocol) SSD can have different form factors/connectors, among them there is the M.2 or NGFF.

A PCI or PciE (or NVME) SSD can have different form factors/connectors, among them there is the M.2 or NGFF.

So you can have BOTH
1) a SATA SSD M.2
AND
2) a PCI or PciE (NVME) SSD M.2
(and both will be - and here lays the worst instance of stupidity - be in the form of a M.2 keyed M) and if you remove (or ignore) the make/model/part number there is no way to distinguish the SATA one from the PciE one.

So, both will fit in a M.2 M keyed socket, BUT the first one still "speaks SATA" and the second still "speaks PciE".

Take this particular adapter as reference/example
https://www.addonics.com/products/ad25m2msa.php

this one allows to connect to a SATA bus either a mSATA or M.2 SATA SSD to a "normal" SATA cable (everything speaks SATA).

Now compare with this one
https://www.addonics.com/products/adm2nvmpx4.php

this one allows to connect one PCI or NVME M.2 SSD to a PCiE bus (everything speaks PCI/PCiE/NVME)

And finally compare with this one
https://www.addonics.com/products/ad2m2s-px4.php

this one allows connecting on one side 1 PCI or NVME M.2 SSD to a PCiE bus (everything speaks PCI/PCiE/NVME on this side) AND 1 or 2 SATA M.2 SSD to 2 "normal" SATA cables (everything speaks SATA on this other side).

It is "madness", I know.

jaclaz

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Posted : 04/09/2019 4:17 pm
fraudit
(@fraudit)
Member

Understood, thank you!

So do you think if I get this one (https://www.addonics.com/products/ad25m2msa.php), will I be able to access the M.2 drive via the given blocker? Will the adapter manage to do all the translation for me? I understand Delock's one I have simply cannot translate one interface commands to another and hence my failure.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 04/09/2019 4:20 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Understood, thank you!

You are very welcome ) , but you didn't actually understand ( , judging from this question

So do you think if I get this one (https://www.addonics.com/products/ad25m2msa.php), will I be able to access the M.2 drive via the given blocker? Will the adapter manage to do all the translation for me? I understand Delock's one I have simply cannot translate one interface commands to another and hence my failure.

There is NO such thing as a M.2 drive!

There can be a SATA drive with M.2 form factor OR a PCI/PCiE/NVME drive with M.2 form factor, and they use different protocols/interface.

Now, be nice, go to that page
https://www.addonics.com/products/ad25m2msa.php
and search on it (in "overview" and in the other tabs) the words
PCI
PCiE
NVME

IF the thing was compatible with NVME, don't you think that the good Addonics guys would have mentioned it?

See if this article clears the matter
https://www.velocitymicro.com/blog/nvme-vs-m-2-vs-sata-whats-the-difference/

You see, there is no possible use (outside forensics) of a converter/bridge to connect an extremely fast device (a NVME SSD) to a much slower (internal) bus and controller (such as SATA), so it is not so casual that such bridges/converters are not available as "generic hardware", what is "queer" is that all the forensic stuff manufacturers also seemingly don't have this kind of adapters.

jaclaz

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Posted : 04/09/2019 4:58 pm
fraudit
(@fraudit)
Member

Ufff, many thanks for the detailed explanation, jaclaz, I really appreciate it!

I believe now I've got it. Clearly next time I will do my best to find matching controllers / standards.

This time I went short and simply got a M.2 USB case and connected it to my USB blocker 😉

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Posted : 06/09/2019 10:33 am
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Ufff, many thanks for the detailed explanation, jaclaz, I really appreciate it!

I believe now I've got it. Clearly next time I will do my best to find matching controllers / standards.

This time I went short and simply got a M.2 USB case and connected it to my USB blocker 😉

Yep, you are welcome, and I think that was actually the ONLY thing you could do.

Makers of forensic tools might decide to create this (hypothetical) NVME to SATA converter (something they could sell for 100-150 US$, maybe 200) and let you use your existing write blocker or - more likely IMHO - create a brand new tool, a NVME (or PCiE) write blocker (that they could probably sell for a few thousands dollars).

jaclaz

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Posted : 06/09/2019 1:39 pm
raydenvm
(@raydenvm)
Junior Member

Ufff, many thanks for the detailed explanation, jaclaz, I really appreciate it!

I believe now I've got it. Clearly next time I will do my best to find matching controllers / standards.

This time I went short and simply got a M.2 USB case and connected it to my USB blocker 😉

In fact, any NVMe-to-USB enclosure may work fine for you given they are based on JMS583 chip by JMicron.

With that said, all adapters have different quality and, as a result, reliability. That's why I recommend QNINE adapter because my team thoroughly stress-tested it to suggest it to Atola customers officially

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NPFT91M

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Posted : 10/09/2019 8:53 am
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