Today we have something a bit different than our normal SSD coverage. We have had in for the past few months not a drive but a drive enclosure. The Orico transparent NVME usb-c adapter allows the use of a standard m.2 NVME drive externally.
Unboxing and overview
Digging through the packaging I was pleasantly surprised to find everything I could have asked for included in the box. Both usb-c and Usb-A cables are included for the enclosure allowing use with any system since the introduction of usb(although at reduced speed on older devices.) The package itself was marked in both English and Chinese calling out our performance ceiling of 10Gbps, a likely artificial(they haven’t tested it with larger) capacity limit of 2TB as well as some general dimensions(the enclosure is overall slightly larger than a m.2 ssd). Overall everything is packed in neatly and cleanly and wouldn’t look out of place on a retail shelf. The physical enclosure itself is an attractive clear plastic with a certain retro-cool aesthetic while including an aluminum heat sink. Although the heat sink may be a bit excessive as the limits of the usb-c interface may prevent drives from seeing thermal throttling it’s still a nice inclusion and allows for a color accent to the clear enclosure.
We also took some time to do a video of the unboxing and show the(very simple) instillation of a new drive. Although the video shows us installing a 250Gb Mushkin SSD it was replaced for testing and general use with an Intel 660P
For testing we selected the intel 660p QLC SSD in a 1TB capacity to review this enclosure. Is not a top performer but was suggested for price and capacity reasons as well as being on the suggested drive list for the vendor. Although we could have tested with a faster drive It’s unlikely that most situations where a user is selecting a ssd for mobile use will not primarily be cost driven as opposed to performance focused, especially with the interface limited to 10Gbps.
We ran most of our standard ssd suite against the device and got results that were fairly in line with expectations. I have screenshots of all the results in the gallery below but you can see them run with live commentary in the video as well.
Digging through the benchmarks there aren’t any real surprises. Having used a thunderbolt 3 port on a ThinkPad P50 sequential performance was good showing sequential speeds approaching the interface limit during several tests. Random performance was good for an external device and although a bit low for an NVMe SSD still acceptable. Unfortunately the QLC drive didn’t perform very well in our extended consistency test but this is the fault of the drive not the enclosure.
Overall the Enclosure itself is an impressive piece of hardware. When m.2 NVMe ssd’s started showing up the idea of a simple usb adapter was entirely unfathomable, now here I have an affordable device letting me put not just massive storage on the order or terabytes in my pocket but exceptionally fast as well. The inclusion of a heat sink seems to have avoided any thermal problems at least with the 660P and I would expect in general. Although the cost of the enclosure trends a bit above those of more conventional 2.5 inch drives(I’ve seen them as low as 5 dollars for a 3.0 enclosure still on various deals) on the drive side things have roughly equaled out. Although a higher performing NVMe ssd still commands a premium you can get entry level NVMe ssd’s at prices equal to or below those of conventional sata drives. With the exception of maintaining compatibility with spinning disks a solution like this enclosure is going to be our recommendation for high performance, mobile storage going forward.