Home ConsumerClient Accessories Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure

Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure

by Lyle Smith
Sabrent M.2 Enclosure with Cords

The Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free Enclosure (EC-TFNE) allows users to create a high-speed external storage solution with an external NVMe SSD. As its name indicates, the enclosure is highlighted by its tool-less design, allowing users to easily swap out M.2 NVMe drives. It supports NVMe M-Key M.2 SSDs (PCIe-based) sizes 2230, 2242, 2260 and 2280. The Sabrent enclosure also comes bundled with USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables, indicating that it supports both PC and Mac systems.

The Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free Enclosure (EC-TFNE) allows users to create a high-speed external storage solution with an external NVMe SSD. As its name indicates, the enclosure is highlighted by its tool-less design, allowing users to easily swap out M.2 NVMe drives. It supports NVMe M-Key M.2 SSDs (PCIe-based) sizes 2230, 2242, 2260 and 2280. The Sabrent enclosure also comes bundled with USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables, indicating that it supports both PC and Mac systems.

Sabrent M.2 Enclosure with CordsIts USB 3.2 connectivity controller, which supports data transfer speeds up to 10Gbps, is very useful because it allows the attached NVMe SSDs to take full advantage of its the speedy interface’s transfer rates. Though the enclosure is still compatible with both USB 3.1 and USB 3.0 connections, you would will certainly see a significant drop in performance if you are using them.

The Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free Enclosure goes for roughly $40 dollars on amazon.

Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free Enclosure Specifications

Item model number EC-TFNE
Speed Up to 10Gbps
Drive size support 2230, 2242, 2260 and 2280
Connection USB 3.2 (with support for USB 3.1 and 3.0 connections)
Item Weight 7 ounces
Item Dimensions
(L x W x H)
4.23 x 1.52 x 0.58 inches
Colors Silver, black
Warranty 1-year

Design and build

At 4.23 inches in length and 1 and a half inches in width, the compact Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free Enclosure can easily fit in a normal-sized pocket making it a highly portable storage solution. It features a durable aluminum sandblasted shell that weighs in at 7 ounces and is solid enough to be used as a blunt weapon, though this isn’t recommended by the manufacturer.

This build makes it inherently optimized for heat dissipation without the need of a fan. Coupling this with zero moving parts, this is a very silent, reliable device that can take a beating while remaining cool on heavy usage.

To install an M.2 SSD, turn the device to the side with the circle key ring then lift, turn it counter clock-wise and pull. The ring is a bit heavy for its use case, so you really have to put some force into it. It would have been nice if the latch was a light and easy to maneuver.

Sabrent M.2 Enclosure Open front

Once open, you’ll see thermal tape with protection film on the inside of the cover, so be sure to remove the film before you put the cover back on.

Sabrent M.2 Enclosure Open Closeup

The enclosure features a handy magnetic screw that sits firmly in place when securing the M.2 NVMe SSD on the enclosure. You can easily move it to four different slots, depending on the size of your SSD.  Unfortunately (in our case, anyway), we had to unscrew the entire board because whoever assembled it placed it too far back and thus the USB-C connector wouldn’t connect fully. One of the main lures of this enclosure is the tool-less design for quick and easy installation, so we were disappointed with this extra assembly step we had to take in order to get it to work.

Nonetheless, once the SSD is secured in place, put the cover back on, twist the circle key, and your good to go.

Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free Enclosure Performance

To test the performance of the Sabrent enclosure, we installed the company’s 2TB Rocket NVMe PCIe SSD and will look at IOMeter on an Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n.

We compared the Sabrent enclosure to the following USB 3.2 portable drives:

We were also going to use the BlackMagic benchmarking software for testing; however, we were unable to get the enclosure working on our 2019 MacBook Pro. Sabrent indicates that their enclosure fully supports Mac OS, but we had no luck getting it to work after trying everything for several hours (even after contacting support). This might be due to insufficient compatibility testing before it hit the market.

Regardless, for IOMeter, we first looked at 2MB sequential with both 1 and 4 thread, the latter which is a higher load that pushes the drive a bit more. Here, Sabrent enclosure posted 652.3MB/s read and 754.4MB/s write (1 thread) and 991.75MB/s read and 970.3MB/s write (4 thread).

In comparison, the Samsung T7 reached 692.1MB/s read and 713.4MB/s write (1 Thread) and 1GB/s read and 919.8MB/s write (4 threads). Moreover, the Samsung Touch saw 800.6MB/s read and 643.4MB/s write (1 thread) and 980.5MB/s read and 841.5MB/s write (4 thread), while the Crucial x8 posted 784.24 MB/s read and 760.02 MB/s write (1 thread), and 1GB/s read and 942.7MB/s write (4 thread).

When looking at 2MB random speeds, the Sabrent enclosure posted 640.61MB/s read and 753.62MB/s write (1 thread), and 991.74MB/s read and 971.55MB/s write (4 thread).

For the comparables, the T7 recorded 667.6MB/s read and 712.8MB/s write (1 thread), and 978.7MB/s read and 920.0MB/s write (4 thread). The T7 Touch recorded 681.6MB/s read and 740MB/s write (1 thread), and 963.6MB/s read and 840.5MB/s write (4 thread), while the Crucial X8 reached 727.33 MB/s read and 752.36 MB/s write (1 thread) and 1GB/s read and 939.0MB/s write (4 thread).

For Random 4K, the Sabrent enclosure showed 9,827 IOPS read and 19,791 IOPS write (1 thread) and 26,691 IOPS read and 39,799 IOPS write.

The Samsung T7 hit 4,204 IOPS read and 12,306 IOPS write (1 thread) and 17,805 IOPS read and 37,202 IOPS write (4 thread). The Samsung T7 Touch hit 4,235 IOPS read and 9,578 IOPS write (1 thread) and 17,206 IOPS read and 37,973 IOPS write (4 thread). The Crucial X8 hit 5,978 IOPS read and 8,435 IOPS write (1 thread) and 30,635 IOPS read 39,536 IOPS write (4 thread).

Conclusion

The Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free Enclosure for NVMe PCIe M.2 SSDs is highlighted by its solid and extremely rugged aluminum build. It also features a neat method to securing SSDs in place via magnets, which can easily be moved into different slots depending on which M.2 size your drive is (2230, 2242, 2260 or 2280). It worked very well.

For performance, we equipped the enclosure with a Sabrent Rocket NVMe PCIe SSD (2TB model), which posted overall solid numbers that were pretty much on par with the USB 3.2 NVMe portable drives we compared it to. Highlights include: 652.3MB/s read and 754.4MB/s write (1 thread) and 991.75MB/s read and 970.3MB/s write (4 thread) during our 2MB sequential test, while random performance reached 640.61MB/s read and 753.62MB/s write (1 thread), and 991.74MB/s read and 971.55MB/s write (4 thread).

Though it performed well in our tests, we did find a few issues that are worth mentioning. Sabrent indicated that this is a tool-less enclosure when adding and removing drives; however, we had to literally unscrew the board and move it into a position so we could fully connect the SSD to the pins. We’re not sure if we just got unlucky and it’s just an issue with only our review model, or if this is an oversight with the entire production. In addition, Sabrent indicated that it supported Mac computers, but we were unable to get it to work with our new MacBook Pro (we used their in-house SSD, so there shouldn’t be compatibility issues). We will certainly update this review if are are able to get it working.

Other than these problems, we really liked the Sabrent enclosure. It is built extremely tough and the equipped drive performed very well.

Sabrent USB 3.2 Tool-Free Enclosure

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