The OWC Envoy Pro FX is an external hybrid SSD that brings impressive performance via both TB3/4 and USB and is therefore recommended forhigh demands. It’s not as handy as other external NVMe SSDs, but it can be used very flexibly. In view of the performance and flexibility, the price is very reasonable.
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The acronym OWC stands for Other World Computing—a U.S. manufacturer that’s particularly well-known among Mac fans. With the OWC Envoy Pro FX, however, the company has an external SSD in its stable that’s explicitly aimed at all computer users. This is because it can be operated via its USB-C connection on both Thunderbolt and USB-certified Type-C sockets.
For this hybrid use, two bridge controllers are currently still necessary, because “real” TB4/USB4 controller chips are not yet available. Depending on which port the external drive is attached to, it should be able to get up to speeds of 40 gigabits per second or manage 10 gigabits per second, the speed that USB 3.2 Gen2 dictates.
To ensure that the external SSD works smoothly with Windows and/or Mac systems, the drive packs the OWC Drive Guide software. In Windows, it formats the Envoy Pro FX with the NTFS file system.
In our test, the external SSD is first connected to the TB3 port. Here, the computer’s Thunderbolt software pops up before formatting, which we have to use to authorize the device for use. Formatting then works smoothly thanks to the good wizard from OWC Drive Guide.
The software Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office is seamlessly integrated into the OWC Drive Guide routine, and part of the complete setup. The program takes over backup tasks as well as virus protection and is included as a free license for Windows and Mac OS.
In the test, the OWC Envoy Pro FX achieved very high data rates on both interface standards—in some cases even new high scores. This was first evident in the benchmark runs with the tool CrystalDiskMark (we use in versions 6, 7, and 8). Via the TB3 port, the external SSD peaked at almost 3040MB/s in reading—a very high data rate. That’s not quite cracked in write performance, but a maximum of 2983MB/s is not far off either.
The benchmark performance is also tops on the USB Type-C port: The external SSD sets new records with 1083MB/s in read and 1081 MB/s in write. It’s interesting that the write rates are sometimes even higher than the read rates—that doesn’t happen very often.
How does the OWC Envoy Pro FX perform?
The great benchmark performance is complemented by very good real-world performance. We measured the sequential data transfer performance using a DVD movie with 4.17GB capacity. Via Thunderbolt, the mobile SSD achieves almost 1343MB/s in read and 998MB/s in write—these are, again, new high scores. At the same time, it can maintain the very high speed at the USB port: Here, it reads the DVD film at 807MB/s and writes it at a good 622MB/s.
The external SSD also handles small files very quickly, as our music package of 1,000 MP3s shows: In reading, it achieves a data rate of a good 1342MB/s on the TB3, in writing it is almost 998MB/s. The speed does drop via USB, however. Via USB the drive hits 582MB/s in reading and almost 440MB/s in writing. However, these transfer rates also correspond to results in the upper range.
You can even feel the drive’s high performance, because the metal case gets quite hot during testing. At its peak, we measured a good 44 degrees Celsius on the surface when the external SSD was attached to the TB3. The relatively heavy case has side vents that allow the heat to escape easily. In addition, it’s dust- and water-protected according to IP67 standards and tested by the military for dropping (MIL-STD810G).
The power consumption is slightly higher. In our test, it was 3.3 watts in idle and 3.7 watts under load. Our test device has the internal NVMe SSD Aura Ultra IV in the casing, which also comes from OWC and has a PCI Express 4.0 interface.
Is the OWC Envoy Pro FX worth it?
If you want to achieve maximum transfer speeds from an external, portable drive (photographers out in the field, we’re looking at you), and your computer offers the requisite support, this drive has you covered, and works on both Windows or Mac platforms. Its dual support for USB 3.2 Gen2 just adds to its flexibility. And for the price you’ll also get a TB4/USB-C to USB-C cable with a Type A adapter attached—a good idea, because you’ll always have it handy. It’s another nice touch that the drive’s LEC lights up blue when connected to TB3 and green when connected to USB. All told, it’s a nifty package for the user who needs that maximum performance.
This review was translated from German to English and originally appeared on pcwelt.de.
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