Home Consumer OWC Envoy Pro EX Review (4TB)

OWC Envoy Pro EX Review (4TB)

by Adam Armstrong
OWC Envoy Pro EX

The OWC Envoy Pro EX is billed as a portable SSD that is ideal for several different use cases. The Envoy is actually actually sold bare, as well as populated with an M.2 SSD, making it portable and ready for external use. This particular version of the OWC Envoy Pro EX is the USB 3.1 Gen2 model, though the product comes in Thunderbolt 3 flavor as well for those that want the native NVMe performance experience.

The OWC Envoy Pro EX is billed as a portable SSD that is ideal for several different use cases. The Envoy is actually actually sold bare, as well as populated with an M.2 SSD, making it portable and ready for external use. This particular version of the OWC Envoy Pro EX is the USB 3.1 Gen2 model, though the product comes in Thunderbolt 3 flavor as well for those that want the native NVMe performance experience.

OWC Envoy Pro EX

The OWC Envoy Pro EX can hold drives from 240GB up to 4TB. 4TB M.2 SSDs are interesting as they have been possible and around for a bit, there just aren’t that many in the wild to see. The drive enclosure is small enough to fit in a pocket. Through its USB 3.1 Gen2 connection, OWC claims they can hit up to 980MB/s, which is impressive for a non-Thunderbolt portable drive. The Envoy is dust and water resistant so it can take a few dings, but it is so nice looking users may not want to allow it. The Envoy is also bus powered cutting down on the amount of cords needed on a desk or in a pocket.

The drive leveraged in the 4TB model is the OWC Aura P12. This 4TB M.2 NVMe SSD leverages Toshiba TLC NAND and a Phison (E12) controller. The drive independently is said to hit up to 3.4GB/s read and 3GB/s write. As stated, it is very interesting to see a 4TB M.2 SSD “in the flesh” so to speak.

Our video review is here:

The OWC Envoy Pro EX with USB 3.1 Gen2 connection comes with a 3-year warranty and a MSRP of $120 for the low end up to $1,100 for the 4TB version we will be looking at here.

OWC Envoy Pro EX Specifications

OWC Part Number TB3ENVP40
Capacity 4.0TB
Chipset ASMedia ASM2362
Compatibility Mac OS 10.12 Or Above
Windows 10 Or Above
Hardware Requirements Mac or PC featuring USB-C interface
Mac or PC featuring Thunderbolt 3 interface
Mac or PC featuring USB Type-A interface using a USB-C to USB-A Adapter
Other Requirements Requires USB 3.0 or higher.
USB 2.0 is not supported.
Ports USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C Port
Data Transfer Rate (Max) USB 3.1 gen 2 : 10 Gb/s (or 1250 MB/s)
Drive Form Factor M.2 NVMe
Interface M2 Module Key M Key
Bays 1
Certifications FCC ROHS
Housing Color Silver
Housing Material Aluminum
Security Slot No
Power Button No
Power Bus Powered
Dimensions Height: 9 mm (0.4 in)
Width: 65 mm (2.6 in)
Length: 115 mm (4.5 in)
Weight 148 g (.33lbs)
Acoustics 0dB
Environment
Environmental (Operating) Temperature (°F) 32° — 104°
Temperature (°C) 0° — 40°
Environmental (Non-Operating) Temperature (°F) −4° — 158°
Temperature (°C) −20° — 70°
Altitude (Operating) -304.8 m to 3,048.0 m
-1,000 ft to 10,000 ft
Altitude (Non-Operating) -304.8 m to 12,192.0 m
-1,000 ft to 40,000 ft
Humidity (Operating) 5% to 95% non-condensing
Humidity (Non-Operating) 5% to 95% non-condensing

OWC Envoy Pro EX Design and Build

Most drives, portable or otherwise, are built around function. Companies can oh and ah about their devices but they don’t typically impress most. That’s ok, if you need storage looks are secondary. The OWC Envoy Pro EX, however, is a beautiful little enclosure. The creative professional would like to see something like this sitting next to their workstation. The top of the device is rectangular with rounded corners and flat edges around. From there, the enclosure tapers down into its base. One side has the USB-C port, the other end has an LED indicator light.

OWC Envoy Pro EX port

Flipping the device over we see two rubber feet and an indicator sticker with information like model number and capacity.

Beneath the feet are four screws that can be taken out to access the drive inside. There is a rubber gasket right on the inside to help with the waterproofing aspect.

Performance

To test the performance of the OWC Envoy Pro EX we looked at IOMeter on the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n Nano. We will be comparing the Envoy to the Crucial X8 another USB-interface portable drive with similar quoted speeds.

We tested on thread and four threads. For one thread, looking at the 2MB sequential the OWC had 816MB/s read and 750.5MB/s write compared to the X8’s 784.24 MB/s read and 760.02 MB/s write. Looking at 2MB random speeds, we saw 695.7MB/s read and 748MB/s write for the OWC versus the X8’s performance of 727.33 MB/s read and 752.36 MB/s write. In random 4K the OWC hit 6,991 IOPS read and 18,011 IOPS write, compared to the X8’s 5,978 IOPS read and 8,435 IOPS write.

Next we look at 4 thread performance that is a higher load and pushes the drive further. We didn’t test the X8 4 thread performance so we will look at the OWC by itself. For 2MB sequential we saw 991.8MB/s read and 926.9MB/s write. 2MB random had the portable drive hit 991.8MB/s read and 924.2MB/s write. For 4K random performance the drive hit 26,456 IOPS read and 38,456 IOPS write.

Conclusion

The OWC Envoy Pro EX is a portable SSD enclosure that leverages the USB 3.1 Gen2 interface making it near “universally compatible” with most modern devices. The enclosure is bus powered and fits in one’s pocket. The Envoy goes from 240GB all the way up to 4TB in capacity, with the addition of the OWC Aura P12 4TB NVMe M.2 SSD. The drive enclosure has a beautiful design that is dust proof and waterproof up to a point. The Envoy claims speeds up to 980MB/s but also comes in a Thunderbolt 3 version for those that need higher performance.

Looking at performance the OWC Envoy Pro EX not only did well, it outperformed its quoted speeds.For testing we used IOMeter to test the drive and tested in with both one thread and four threads. In one thread the Envoy hit 816MB/s read and 750.5MB/s write in 2MB sequential, 695.7MB/s read and 748MB/s write in 2MB random and 6,991 IOPS read and 18,011 IOPS write in 4K random. For four thread the OWC drive had 991.8MB/s read and 926.9MB/s write in 2MB sequential, 991.8MB/s read and 924.2MB/s write in 2MB random, and 4K random saw performances of 26,456 IOPS read and 38,456 IOPS write.

The OWC Envoy Pro EX is a beautiful little enclosure that comes with enough storage for most uses and is able to outperform its already impressive quoted performance. This drive would make a nice addition to any creative professional’s array of tools.

OWC Envoy Pro EX on Amazon

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