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OWC Envoy Pro FX Review

by Lyle Smith
owc envoy pro front

The OWC Envoy Pro FX is a portable NVMe SSD designed for a range of applications, including media storage, Time Machine backups, on-the-go video/image editing, Steam gaming, and more. Though it does fit these use cases well, its beautiful design makes it most ideal for the design-savvy creative professional. The Envoy Pro FX is offered in a range of capacities from 240GB to 2TB, OWC indicates a very specific timeframe for Envoy Pro FX is compatibility, claiming it supports Mac and PC systems from 2010 and onward.

The OWC Envoy Pro FX is a portable NVMe SSD designed for a range of applications, including media storage, Time Machine backups, on-the-go video/image editing, Steam gaming, and more. Though it does fit these use cases well, its beautiful design makes it most ideal for the design-savvy creative professional. The Envoy Pro FX is offered in a range of capacities from 240GB to 2TB, OWC indicates a very specific timeframe for Envoy Pro FX is compatibility, claiming it supports Mac and PC systems from 2010 and onward.

owc envoy pro front

The Envoy Pro FX is essentially a direct follow-up to the EX model (OWC Envoy Pro EX) from Spring 2020, adding better components and support. The biggest difference between the two models is the new dual interface support, which is a pretty big deal for compatibility and makes it a fairly unique device in the external drive space. As such, it features both Thunderbolt and USB-C compatibility with its built-in Intel Titan Ridge and Realtek RTL9210; the former is a Thunderbolt 3 controller released back in early 2018 that supports 40Gbps, while the latter is a high-performance bridge chip that supports up to USB 3.2 Gen 2 at 10Gbps. The Envoy Pro FX drive is also a bus-powered device, which means no additional cords are needed when connecting it to smaller devices like iPads, Surface Pros, and even smartphones. This is certainly a plus for on-the-go professionals.

As far as performance goes, OWC quotes up to a speedy 2.8GB/s for sequential read transfers during optimal environments. The Envoy Pro FX is also fully  compatible with macOS and Windows built-in encryption, which means users can  add password security to their important data.

Back by a 3-year warranty, the OWC Envoy Pro goes for roughly $200 (240GB), $230 (480GB), $320 (1TB), and $500 (2TB), which equates to $0.83, $0.48, $0.32, and $0.25 per GB. We are looking at the 1TB for this review.

OWC Envoy Pro FX Specifications

Capacity 240GB, 480GB, 1TB, 2TB
Bootable Mac only
Chipset Thunderbolt: Intel Titan Ridge
USB: Realtek RTL9210
Certifications BSMI
CE
FCC
RCM
VCCI
Data Transfer Rate (Maximum) Thunderbolt 3: 40 Gb/s (or 5000 MB/s)
USB 3.2 Gen 2: 10 Gb/s (or 1250 MB/s)
Mac OS Compatibility macOS 10.13 High Sierra
macOS 10.14 Mojave
macOS 10.15 Catalina
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
OS X 10.9 Mavericks
OS X 10.10 Yosemite
OS X 10.11 El Capitan
macOS 10.12 Sierra
macOS 11.0 Big Sur
PC OS Compatibility Windows 10 64-bit Edition
Windows Server 2016
Host Port Requirements Requires a host with either a Thunderbolt 3 or later port, or a USB Type-C or Type-A port.
Power Supply Bus-powered
Device Ports (1) Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) Port
Housing Color Black
Housing Material Aluminum
Dimensions Height: 2.0 cm (0.8 in)
Length: 11.0 cm (4.3 in)
Width: 6.5 cm (2.6 in)
Warranty 3-years

OWC Envoy Pro FX Design and build

First thing’s first: OWC Envoy Pro FX is one of the most well-built portable drives we’ve reviewed. It sports an all-charcoal-grey design with a quality aluminum enclosure, which features deep horizontal grooves (or “fins”) on both sides that act as an effective heat sink to help maintain performance. It also comes with non-skid rubber feet  to keep  the device from moving around. The front-facing panel is simply branded the OWC logo and product name, while underneath displays a sticker with the relevant bar codes and serial numbers.

owc envoy pro back

On the top side of the Envoy Pro FX is the Thunderbolt and USB 3.2 port (labeled as such). The bottom has a nice, narrow blue status LED, which indicates both power and drive activity so you know what’s going on.

owc envoy pro port

It’s also certified dustproof, drop-proof, and waterproof, and comes bundled with a cord that supports both Type-C and Type-A ports.

owc envoy pro TB4

OWC Envoy Pro FX Performance

To gauge the performance of the OWC Envoy Pro FX, we tested it via Blackmagic software and IOMeter, both on a Lenovo P520. For USB testing, we compared the OWC drive to the following other  USB 3.2 Gen2 portables:

First, we tested the Envoy Pro FX via USB 3.2. For Blackmagic, we saw a very good 948.5MB/s read and 956MB/s write. In comparison, the Samsung T7 recorded 894MB/s read and 840MB/s write while the Crucial X8 recorded 904.7 MB/s read and 802.0 MB/s write.

 Turning to IOMeter, we measured both 1 and 4 thread, the latter which is a higher load that pushes the SSDs harder. Looking at 1-thread performance, the Envoy Pro FX saw 923.1MB/s read and 874.9MB/s write in 2MB sequential. In 2MB random, the OWC portable drive hit 804.4MB/s read and 881.2MB/s write. With 4K random, it recorded 8,687 IOPS read and 18,414 IOPS write.

Here is a table of how it fared against the T7 and X8 in 1-thread performance:

IOMeter 1 Thread
USB 3.2 Performance 2MB Sequential 2MB Random 4K Random
Read Write Read Write Read Write
OWC Envoy Pro FX 923.1MB/s 874.9MB/s 804.4MB/s 881.2MB/s 8,687 IOPS 18,414 IOPS
Samsung T7 692.1MB/s 713.4MB/s 667.6MB/s 712.8MB/s 4,204 IOPS 12,306 IOPS
Crucial X8 784.24MB/s 760.02MB/s 727.33MB/s 752.36MB/s 5,978 IOPS 8,435 IOPS

In 4-thread performance, the Envoy Pro FX recorded 1.03GB/s read and 1.04GB/s write in 2MB sequential. In 2MB random, the OWC portable drive hit 975.4MB/s read and 1.04GB/s write, while 4K random performance showed 36,127 IOPS read and 72,037 IOPS write.

Here is a table of how it fared against the T7 and X8 in 4-thread performance:

IOMeter 4 Thread
USB 3.2 Performance 2MB Sequential 2MB Random 4K Random
Read Write Read Write Read Write
OWC Envoy Pro FX 1.03GB/s 1.04GB/s 975.4MB/s 1.04GB/s 36,127 IOPS 72,037 IOPS
Samsung T7 1GB/s 919.8MB/s 978.7MB/s 920.0MB/s 17,805 IOPS 37,202 IOPS
Crucial X8 1GB/s 942.7MB/s 999.9MB/s 939.0MB/s 30,635 IOPS 39,536 IOPS

Moving on to Thunderbolt 3 performance, the Envoy Pro FX drive hit 2.18GB/s read and 1.26GB/s write during our BlackMagic test.

For 1-thread IOMeter, the Envoy Pro FX hit 1.82GB/s read and 1.13GB/s write in 2MB sequential. In 2MB random, the OWC portable drive hit 1.82GB/s read and 1.09GB/s write. With 4K random, it recorded 9,224 IOPS read and 1,695 IOPS write.

IOMeter 1 Thread
Drive 2MB Sequential 2MB Random 4K Random
TB3 Performance Read Write Read Write Read Write
OWC Envoy Pro FX 1.82GB/s 1.13GB/s 1.82GB/s 1.09GB/s 9,224 IOPS 1,695 IOPS

In 4-thread performance, the Envoy Pro FX was able to reach 2.37GB/s read and 1.51GB/s write in 2MB sequential, while 2MB random performance saw 2.28MB/s read and 1.50GB/s write. 4K random performance showed 40,040 IOPS read and 2,203 IOPS write.

IOMeter 4 Thread
Drive 2MB Sequential 2MB Random 4K Random
TB3 Performance Read Write Read Write Read Write
OWC Envoy Pro FX 2.37GB/s 1.51GB/s 2.28GB/s 1.5GB/s 40,040 IOPS 2,203 IOPS

One other thing we looked at is heat dissipation. With high performance, there can sometimes be high heat, which can introduce issues. We took a look at the drive while it was being tested with our Seek Scan Thermal Camera. As one can see, the drive is very good with heat dissipation, keeping the drive running at optimal performance.

Conclusion

The Envoy Pro FX is the latest addition to OWC’s portable SSD portfolio and is highlighted by its dual interface, USB 3.2 Gen2, and Thunderbolt 3. This is a pretty unique feature and kind of a big deal for an external storage offering as it makes it a very flexible device across different platforms. Nonetheless, OWC quotes up to 2.8GB/s in sequential read transfers and it’s fully compatible with both macOS and Windows built-in encryption, meaning you can easily secure important data with password security. The portable drives are also available in a range of capacities from 240GB to 2TB.

owc envoy pro box

For performance, we ran Blackmagic and IOMeter where it showed solid overall results. In Blackmagic (USB), we saw 948.5MB/s read and 956MB/s write. For IOMeter, the 1-thread performance showed 923.1MB/s read and 874.9MB/s write in 2MB sequential and 804.4MB/s read and 881.2MB/s write in 2MB random. With 4K random, it recorded 8,687 IOPS read and 18,414 IOPS write. In USB 4-thread performance, the Envoy Pro FX recorded 1.03GB/s read and 1.03GB/s write in 2MB sequential, and 975.4MB/s read and 1.04GB/s write in 2MB random

For Thunderbolt 3 performance, the Envoy Pro FX drive hit 2.18GB/s read and 1.26GB/s write during our BlackMagic test. Looking at IOMetere 1-thread results, the Envoy Pro FX hit 1.82GB/s read and 1.13GB/s write in 2MB sequential while reaching 1.82GB/s read and 1.09GB/s write in 2MB random. With 4K random, it recorded 9,224 IOPS read and 1,695 IOPS write. For its 4-thread performance, the Envoy Pro FX was recorded 2.37GB/s read and 1.51GB/s write in 2MB sequential, while 2MB random performance saw 2.28MB/s read and 1.50GB/s write.

Overall, the Envoy Pro FX is a great device. It stays cooler than most drives during intense workloads and will boast some pretty impressive transfer speeds while it’s at it. The premium, all-aluminum build makes this a very slick-looking device that will sit nicely (and firmly) beside any workstation, which is a definite plus for creative professionals. Most of all, however, is its cross-platform compatibility, as it gives users a seamless experience when transitioning between USB and Thunderbolt host systems.

OWC Envoy Pro FX on Amazon

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