OWC has long been a major player, and while they are known for their premium Apple upgrade solutions, they are often first to market with the latest in storage technology. Coming off the launch of their Envoy Pro EX with Thunderbolt 3 technology, OWC has redesigned Envoy to take full advantage of USB-C.
The Envoy Pro EX has a long lineage of solutions that started with USB 3.0 a few years back. More recently these solutions have been upgraded to offer Thunderbolt 3 with a black colorway, but the most recent release takes advantage of the original aluminum enclosure. This solution has been paired with an NVMe SSD offered in several capacities including 250 and 500GB along with 1 and 2TB. Performance is spec'd up to 980 MB/s using Gen 2 USB 3.1
Compatibility includes Windows 10 along with macOS 10.12 and later. MSRP of the Envoy Pro EX USB-C in the 1TB capacity comes in at $249.99 with a three-year warranty.
The Envoy Pro EX carries the standard OWC colorway in packaging. We have capacity listed on the box with a sticker.
The back goes into more detail with a full specification list.
Included in the box we have reading material and USB-C cable.
The enclosure for the Envoy is a two-piece aluminum design, simple for the most part with USB-C connectivity on one end.
On the opposite side, we have a think blue LED for activity.
Included with the Envoy Pro EX is a set of software tools called Drive Guide. This enables the consumer to configure their drive for multi-system use.
As you can see here, Drive Guide allows you to choose the style of formatting, including a number of partitions and the filesystem used.
Performance of the Envoy Pro EX came in quite good. 974 MB/s read and 992 MB/s write using USB-C
Testing this drive with legacy USB 3.0, we found it to peak at 445 MB/s read, and 458 MB/s write.
Having tested many Portable SSDs, I'm always a bit more excited for the "higher" end drives that use better materials in the build. As you can guess the two-piece aluminum design of the Envoy Pro EX is quite durable. The exterior is not a brushed finish but more of a sandblasted aesthetic that's smooth to the touch. The included blue LED can be quite bright at night, but during normal "office" hours shouldn't be much of an issue.
As for performance, this drive reaches the peaks of USB 3.1 Gen 2 at 992 MB/s write. As for legacy performance, we were easily able to reach top marks of USB 3.0 at 458 MB/s write. One thing of note here is, OWC didn't cut corners and put a cheaper slower drive-in when moving the Envoy Pro EX over to USB-C. In fact, I believe they are using the same drive in the USB-C model that they used in the Thunderbolt 3 model; The Aura P12.
As for pricing, the Envoy Pro EX comes in the 1TB capacity comes in just under competing solutions like the Lexar SL100 Pro at $269.99 or the recently reviewed ESD350C from Transcend.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
Launching the Envoy Pro EX with USB-C offers a substantial performance increase over legacy connections while increasing overall compatibility with multiple platforms.
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