In the year 2021 you’d be hard pressed to find any modern system without a NVMe SSD. From notebooks, to prebuilt desktop systems and DIY solutions, people have generally been using NVMe SSDs to speed up their systems and enjoy a more responsive experience. A big issue that some users are facing however is that most motherboards are likely to only support one or two of these drives, unlike the SATA standard of the past where finding four to six connections on even a low-end board was pretty common. If you’re planning to upgrade to a PCIe 4.0 NVMe or are just generally looking to purchase a larger drive, you may no longer have any way to interface with your older NVMe SSD due to lack of expansion slots on your motherboard. Thankfully solutions like the Sabrent EC-SNVE USB 3.2 Type-C Tool-Free Enclosure exist, allowing you to repurpose a NVMe as a super fast external drive for quick file transfers or backups.
Sabrent USA sent over one of these enclosures for us to try out, which features a completely tool free design, and up to 1000 MB/s transfer speeds. While 1000 MB/s is well below the speeds of internal PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 NVMe drives of 2021 which feature speeds anywhere between 3000 and 7000 MB/s, it’s a lot faster than standard USB Flash Drives and External Hard-Drives.
The external enclosure includes a small removable USB Type-C to Type-C cable, as well as heat spreader and an all Aluminum case with ABS frame to keep your drive safe on the go and cool in operation. Opening the enclosure is made simple by pushing a button on the side and swiveling it open 180 degrees, whereby you can insert your NVMe that’s held in place by a small rubber stopper – no need to use a screwdriver for those pesky NVMe screws that most motherboards require. To test the enclosure out we used a 1TB Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 NVMe, which may seem overkill for this kind of testing, but it also allowed us to ensure that we’re testing the best case scenario of the enclosure. For comparison we used a 128GB Transcend JetFlash810 USB 3.2 Gen 1 (formerly USB 3.0) Flash Drive which is one of the most common types of external devices users would have for file transfers from one system to another.
In our synthetic tests using CrystalDiskMark 8, we saw the Transcend Jetflash810 see peak read and write speeds of 104.94 MB/s and 97.32 MB/s when connected to its intended USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port on our motherboard. When connected to a newer Gen 2×2 port the speeds were practically unaffected as the device doesn’t support higher speeds that available on 3.2 Gen 1. Connecting the external to a slower USB 2.0 port dropped the speeds considerably to 37.85 MB/s read and 31.87 MB/s write, in line with the theoretical limit of USB 2.0. Our EC-SNVE when connected to a full USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port saw speeds almost 10x of the flash drive, sitting at a read of 966.71 MB/s and write of 662.93 MB/s. Connecting it to a slower 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port the transfer speed dropped to 465.82 MB/s read and 450.80 MB/s write. Interestingly when we connected a standard USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable and inserted the EC-SNVE into a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-A port, the transfer speeds completely gave out and lowered to USB 2.0 speeds. This could be down to the cable that we used, so it would be wise to rather use the included USB Type-C to Type-C cable when wanting to use the external to it’s full potential.
To test a real world transfer scenario we copied a 7.04GB single PSB file from an internal PCIe 4.0 NVMe to both the Jetflash and EC-SNVE, then renamed the file after each transfer and did a cold boot of the system to ensure memory was flushed. The transfer took 7 minutes and 46 seconds to write to the Transcend drive, and 66 seconds to copy from the drive. For the EC-SNVE we used both USB 3.2 Gen 1 and Gen 2×2 for testing as most boards may have one or the other as Gen 2×2 has not fully adopted on all modern systems. Using the device to its full with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 the file took 24 seconds to write and 14 seconds to copy off of the drive. When connected via Gen 1 our results were impressive with the read only being about 40% slower and the write speed being almost identical.
The Sabrent EC-SNVE is a literal plug-and-play solution that far outpaces any standard USB external device with our unit showing a near 20x improvement in time when transferring large files. It’s worth noting that if you do plan on picking one up, make sure that your system has a USB Type-C port as you might have lower speeds when using a third party Type-A cable as shown in our tests. For the EC-SNVE to come in at only $39.99 it’s honestly a steal for any user wanting to expand their storage in a quick, easy and reliable manner.
Sabrent USB 3.2 Type-C Tool-Free Enclosure
Extremely affordable, fast and easy to use USB-C Enclosure for NVMe Drives