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Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: Robert M
Date: August 29, 2020 09:01AM
Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs

Hi everyone,

Seems like people are asking about NVME M.2 SSDs and enclosures for them more and more often now. Thought it might be a good time to do a run down on my experiences with several different USB 3.1 Gen 2 boxes for NVME M.2 SSDs. Note, all of the boxes are for NVME M.2 SSDs. None are for SATA stick drives or 2.5” SSDs. Only NVME M.2 SSDs. Although 2.5” SSDs and boxes for them are still far more prevalent, all things considered relatively equal, I’d go with an NVME M.2 SSD in a USB 3.1 Gen 2 box these days.

Each enclosure I’ve checked out and/or used is USB 3.1 Gen 2. Some models ship with a USB-C only cable. Some came with a USB-C cable and include a USB-C to USB A adapter for compatibility with machines that lack a USB-C port. All the ones I’ve checked out include a thermal pad for the SSD.

All of the enclosures easy to assemble. Some enclosures are a slide-out the innards design. Others are a lift and remove the top design. Assembling the drive is very easy. Open the box. Install the stick. Place the thermal pad on the stick. Close the box. It’s a bit more difficult to disassemble a complete drive after it’s been in use due to the thermal pad sticking well to the SSD and the inside of the box. Lift and remove designs are easier to disassemble than slide out designs.

I’ve used the following drives in these enclosures:

A. Inland Premium 1TB SSD 3D NAND M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive

[www.microcenter.com]

B. Inland Premium 2TB SSD 3D NAND M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive

[www.microcenter.com]

C. Sabrent Rocket Q 1TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD High Performance Solid State Drive R/W 3200/2000MB/s (SB-RKTQ-1TB)

[www.amazon.com]

D. ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB 3D NAND NVMe Gen3x4 PCIe M.2 2280 Solid State Drive R/W 3500/3000MB/s SSD (ASX8200PNP-1TT-C)

[www.amazon.com]


Enclosures I like and are currently in service:

A. Sabrent USB 3.1 Gen 2 Aluminum Enclosure for M.2 NVMe SSD in Silver (EC-NVME)

[www.amazon.com]

The Inland Premium 1TB NVME drive that serves as a boot drive for my 2019 iMac is in this Sabrent enclosure. The box doesn't have the currently preferred Realtek RTL9210 chipset. I bought it before the Realtek RTL9210 was released. The combination of the Inland Premium SSD and Sabrent box has proven rock solid for nearly a year. It’s literally a brick of well crafted aluminum and definitely transfers heat well. The enclosure is a lift and remove design.

B. GLOTRENDS M.2 NVME to USB C Adapter Enclosure for NVME M.2 SSD(Key M),Built-in Fan for Positive Heat Dissipation, Gray Aluminum Case (Libra)

[www.amazon.com]

I bought this one for my older older brother to use with an Inland Premium 2TB NVME stick. He’s using the stick and enclosure as a boot drive for an older iMac. The box is thinner and less robust in design than the other boxes but it works. I suspect they got away with making it a less robust unit because it has a fan to ensure the SSD runs cool. The fan works and makes a difference. To the best of my knowledge, it doesn’t have the Realtek RTL9210 chipset. The Glotrends box was available before it was released. Like the Sabrent, the Glotrends unit is a lift and remove design.

So far, my older older brother has yet to complain about the Glotrends box and, believe you me, I’d never hear the end of it of there was a problem. I didn’t find Glotrends box until after I’d already bought the Sabrent box, otherwise, it might be the box I’m using with my Inland Premium 1TB SSD.

C. MyDigitalSSD M2X Portable USB 3.1 Gen 2 M.2 PCI Express SSD External Enclosure Adapter w/USB-C and USB-A Cables (Fits ONLY NVMe PCIe 2242/2260/2280) - MDNVME-M2X-USB

[www.amazon.com]

Bought this one a while ago - same time as the Sabrent box - and it'd been sitting on my desk, never used. It was intended for the Inland Premium stick I’m using as a boot drive at home but I ended up going with the Sabrent box instead. A couple of days ago, I threw an Adata XP8200 Pro 1TB SSD into it. This unit isn’t a brick like the Sabrent box and is a slide-out design. Meaning, you remove two screws from the side of the box, pull a side piece off and the sled for the SSD slides out of the shell. However, it definitely transfers heat away from the SSD nicely. Doesn't have the preferred Realtek RTL9210 chipset but box seems good so far.


This enclosure is hit or miss:

ICY BOX Type-C M.2 SSD NVMe USB 3.1 Gen2 Enclosure with Smart Cooling Fan

[www.amazon.com]

At one point, I recommended the above Icy Box enclosure but can no longer do so. I have one at home and have a Sabrent Q 1TB SSD in it. The combo is used as a clone backup of the Inland Premium SSD that’s in the Sabrent box. Since the experience had been good and I liked the idea of a NVME box with a fan, I decided to get another to use for my office. It was to be used with the Adata drive that is now in the MyDigitalSSD box as the external boot drive for my office’s 2019 iMac.

I moved the Adata drive out of the Icy box enclosure because of an overnight issue with the iMac. Something caused the iMac to reboot overnight and, upon rebooting, it apparently no longer recognized the Icy Box enclosure. It was as if the drive wasn’t even connected to the machine. I discovered this the next morning. Not good.

I didn’t seem to have these issues with the Sabrent SSD in the Icy Box box I have at home. Since a problem occurred, I felt it was best to move the Adata drive to a different box and return the second Icy Box enclosure. I’ve had no issues with the iMac or the SSD now that it is in the MyDigitalSSD M2X box.

It could be I received a defective Icy Box enclosure. Or, it just didn’t like having the Adata SSD in it. Either way, as a result of the issue, I am now hesitant to recommend this particular Icy Box model. Another company is selling the same box under a different name. I wouldn’t get that version either. Neither variation of the Icy Box enclosure has the Realtek RTL9210 chipset.


Enclosures I didn't like at all:

A. Shinestar model

[www.amazon.com]

The lights on this box annoyed the heck out of me. Just unnecessary. I didn’t use it long enough to come to any other conclusions. If you like lots of unneccessary lights on an enclosure, give it a looksie. If you’re like me, stay away from it. I can’t speak for how well it performs since I removed the SSD that was in it and returned the box the next day. Doesn't have the preferred Realtek RTL9210 chipset to the best of my knowledge.

B. Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure, WAVLINK NVMe PCIe M Key M.2 SSD Enclosure Aluminum Design Thunderbolt 3 Cable Included, SSD Case with Heat Sink (SSD Not Included)

[www.amazon.com]

At the time I checked this model out, our sponsor didn’t offer a Thunderbolt 3 NVME SSD box. That said, this box only works with single-sided NVME SSDs. This is an issue since single-sided NVME SSDs are less common than their double-sided siblings. There is also the question of whether or not it’s truly Thunderbolt 3 certified like the box offered by our sponsor. I returned this box and, now that are sponsor has a truly Thunderbolt 3 qualified NVME box, wouldn’t buy it again. I’d get the model from our sponsor. No doubt about it.

This box doesn't have the preferred Realtek RTL9210 chipset to the best of my knowledge.

Ordered but not yest evaluated:

Plugable USB C to M.2 NVMe Tool-free Enclosure USB C and Thunderbolt 3 Compatible up to USB 3.1 Gen 2 Speeds (10Gbps).

[www.amazon.com]

Supposedly, this box uses the preferred Realtek RTL9210 chipset. The previous version used the JMicron JMS583 chipset.

Hope all of the above info is helpful as you look at boxes for NVME M.2 SSDs!

Robert



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/29/2020 10:46AM by Robert M.
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: carl
Date: August 29, 2020 10:44AM
Robert
Thank you for posting this information.
Carl
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: Robert M
Date: August 29, 2020 10:48AM
Carl,

My pleasure. Another thing to note. The cables included with the enclosures tend to be short. Although usable, I swapped them out for longer cables to allow for a bit of extra slack.

Robert
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: August 29, 2020 10:59AM
Happily using for three months:
ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) to NVMe PCI-E M.2 SSD
Aluminum Case w/ UASP Support
Orico spec page
  • Realtek RTL9210 chipset
  • PCI-E based M key M.2 NVME SSD up to 2TB
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • Aluminum Case w/ LED
  • Type-C to Type-C & Type-C to Type-A Cables Included
  • One-Year Warranty

Currently $33 @ Newegg [www.newegg.com]

Warning: The one being sold on Amazon is the OLD version w/ JMS583 chipset!



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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: Robert M
Date: August 29, 2020 11:06AM
MrNo,

Looks like a nice box. Slide out design. Thank you for the info. This is one of the reason I started this thread. Glad you added this enclosure to the list. smiling smiley

Robert
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: jdc
Date: August 29, 2020 11:32AM
Quote
MrNoBody
Warning: The one being sold on Amazon is the OLD version w/ JMS583 chipset!

Theres nothing wrong with the JMS chip.

For the last 2(?) years 99% of all NVMe enclosures used the JMS chip.... and its fine.

The Realtech chip is newer, puts of slightly less heat and slightly less power -- but benchmark speeds are the same.

If the case you like only comes with JMS chip, its not make or break, IMHO.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: August 29, 2020 11:47AM
Theres nothing wrong with the JMS chip.
jdc, not implying that. Only that Amazon is selling the old version of the item.
Nothing new of course, bezos does that with a plethora of goods!



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DemComm Records 2021 Greatest Hits
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Taxman by Joe & Nancy's Rich Ice Cream Band
The Humpty Dance by The Harris-Brown Hookup
Lets Spend The Night Together by The Fang-Swalwell Gang
Díaz-Canel Is A Friend of Ours by The AOC Squad
My Old Kentucky Retirement Home by MitchMcC & The Soggy Boxer Boys
Burning Down The House by Merrick & The Goons
Back In the USSR by Bernie's Red Square Trio

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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: jdc
Date: August 29, 2020 11:56AM
OK, sure -- but the big bold "WARNING" kinda makes it seem like u are...





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: Robert M
Date: August 29, 2020 12:00PM
jdc,

True. I believe the Sabrent, MyDigital SSD MX2 and Glotrends boxes have the JMS chipset. No issues with them, though the MX2 has been in service only a few days. I'm pretty sure the Icy Box unit has it and that particular box was hit or miss. Can't say the JMS chipset contributed to the problems with the Icy Box enclosure, though. I've heard nothing but good things about the Realtek chipset so I'm going to stick with looking for enclosures that have it when possible.

Robert
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: d4
Date: August 29, 2020 04:31PM
There's also the OWC Envoy Express NVMeE enclosure for $75.
Thunderbolt 3 certified. But delayed. It was Aug delivery. Now it's September.



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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: Robert M
Date: August 29, 2020 04:49PM
D4,

I mentioned it in my post but that's about it. OWC hasn't shipped their Thunderbolt 3 box yet and, since I haven't checked it out personally, I couldn't include it on my list. That said, OWC offers these for NVME M.2 SSDs:


OWC ENVOY EXPRESS

[eshop.macsales.com]

The Envoy Express is OWC's Thunderbolt 3 box for a single NVME M.2 SSD.

OWC Envy Pro EX USB C enclosure:

[eshop.macsales.com]

OWC Envy Pro EX is on the pricey side for a USB-C enclosure and has the ASMedia ASM2362 chipset. Not sure if the ASMedia ASM2362 is a good thing or a bad thing. The enclosure looks nice, though. Knowing OWC, it's a high quality unit.

OWC Express 4M2 4-Slot M.2 NVMe SSD Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure

[eshop.macsales.com]

Note, you need multiple SSDs for the drive to reach its highest speeds.

I looked at the Express 4M2 and decided against it as a NVME solution because it was just too pricey and I didn't need 4 slots.

I would love to see OWC produce a version of their Envoy Pro EX or Envoy Express with a built-in fan like the Glowtrends enclosure in my original post. It'd have the OWC quality, the aluminum box and great heat dissipation.

Robert
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: August 29, 2020 05:09PM
FWIW, I bought one of these, and I wasn't able to get anywhere near full rated speed of 10Gbps--not recommended, although YMMV--I had problems with the heat sink, which may have affected things, so I just slapped it into the PCIe carrier, and I'm getting full speed.

[www.amazon.com]
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: Robert M
Date: August 29, 2020 05:28PM
Anony,

Which NVME stick did you put in it? If you look at the specs of the enclosure, it could be that it couldn't handle the speeds of the stick. Its controller chip, the JMicron JMS583, is PCIe 3.0x2. If your drive is PCIE 3.0x4, then it was crippled by the box. That's on top of any issues caused by the heat sink.

Robert
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: August 29, 2020 05:53PM
There's also the OWC Envoy Express NVMeE enclosure for $75...

It was Aug delivery. Now it's September.




I did not know that, though I have it on pre-order, and I'm rethinking that.

There's the trade off of speed vs T3 certification.

Me thinks this means any compatible NVME in the Express will be running slower than it's potential until put in another compatible T3 box.

I've got the 1T SanDisk Ultra Pro Portable connected to my 2018 mini.

Rolling my own with the Express will/would get me greater capacity (starting at 2T) but at a lesser speed.






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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: August 29, 2020 07:22PM
One small point...


ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) to NVMe PCI-E M.2 SSD


I think that should be:

ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure, USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) to NVMe PCI-E M.2 SSD






I am that Masked Man.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: August 29, 2020 07:24PM
FWIW, I bought one of these, and I wasn't able to get anywhere near full rated speed of 10Gbps

am1; In a cMP the problem may be your USB 3.1 PCIe card.
Until I upgraded mine, I couldn't get 10Gbps either. Bought a new BEYIMEI PCI-Express 4X to USB 3.1 Gen 2.
iirc, it was $27 @ bezosville.
It has the latest ASMEDIA ASM3142 chipset, native in 10.12.6 & newer.



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includes:
Taxman by Joe & Nancy's Rich Ice Cream Band
The Humpty Dance by The Harris-Brown Hookup
Lets Spend The Night Together by The Fang-Swalwell Gang
Díaz-Canel Is A Friend of Ours by The AOC Squad
My Old Kentucky Retirement Home by MitchMcC & The Soggy Boxer Boys
Burning Down The House by Merrick & The Goons
Back In the USSR by Bernie's Red Square Trio

patriot smiley
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: Robert M
Date: August 30, 2020 09:38AM
RAM,

You're correct. The Orico is a USB 3.1 Gen 2 enclosure.

Gotta say, I despise the naming structure of USB these days. It's as annoying as the different types of USB connectors. Here's a run-down on the connectors:

For USB 1.1 and 2.0) USB Mini, USB A, USB B, USB Mini-A, USB Mini B, USB Micro-A, USB Micro B
For USB 3.0 (USB A, USB-B, USB Micro-B)
For USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 2 and USB 3.2 (USB-C)

Due to the idiotic nomenclature, I've likely made a mistake or two in my tally.

Robert
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Re: Experiences with enclosures for NVME M.2 SSDs
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: August 31, 2020 02:16PM
Jaw drop!

I'll look into that. THANKS!

Quote
Robert M
Anony,

Which NVME stick did you put in it? If you look at the specs of the enclosure, it could be that it couldn't handle the speeds of the stick. Its controller chip, the JMicron JMS583, is PCIe 3.0x2. If your drive is PCIE 3.0x4, then it was crippled by the box. That's on top of any issues caused by the heat sink.

Robert
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