The Envoy Pro EX has been the flagship portable SSD from OWC for a number of years, offering both a USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 model in their respective colorways.
Moving forward, OWC is looking to update its lineup of drives that for the longest time have offered 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB as their capacity options. Announced recently, the Envoy Pro EX lineup has taken on both a 2TB and 4TB option, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on the top 4TB offering.
Performance hasn't changed much with the introduction of the 2TB and 4TB models. OWC still says we should see up to 2800 MB/s with the Envoy Pro EX and with the drives small form factor design a solid companion for production-level audio, video, and photography workflows.
The Envoy Pro EX, as you could have guessed by now, is a Thunderbolt 3 backed portable SSD that couples with it NVMe for the highest possible performance in a single drive solution. OWC has tested this solution to MIL-STD810G for drop certification
The MSRP of the 4TB OWC Envoy Pro EX comes in at $1079.99 with a three-year warranty.
The packaging is on the OWC colorway, an image of the drive-centered and capacity listed top right.
The back goes into more detail with a breakout of the drive's features and specifications and warranty.
Unboxing, the drive is housed in foam for shipping, we have a getting started card included in the box.
The drive itself is offered in a black aluminum enclosure, silicon sleeve around it. We have the captured six-inch cable to the left.
The inclusion of a heat sink designed enclosure dissipates heat that can, at times, be detrimental to NVMe drives.
Included on the drive is software to help you configure your drive, either for dual OS use or Windows/macOS.
Seen above, we have formatted the drive for use in Windows and have 3.4TB of available space.
CDM is a staple in performance testing; version 7 has seen some updates in the workloads used for testing. Sequential performance tops out at 2730 MB/s read and 1018 MB/s write for the Envoy Pro EX.
ATTO is yet another popular benchmark for storage performance that breaks down performance based on file size. With the Envoy, we see peak read performance almost right away, starting at 64K pushing through 64M at 2.4 GB/s. Write performance takes slightly longer to ramp up, but we do reach peak performance around 2M at 1.1 GB/s.
New to our testing is a 200GB data transfer that aims to weed out drives that lose performance during backup scenarios. For the Envoy Pro EX, it did reasonably well starting out but ended up losing performance around halfway through the transfer. We ended up with an average of 187 MB/s putting it near the bottom of the chart at 20 minutes to copy the 200GB of data.
Price/Performance of the 4TB Envoy Pro EX sits in the middle of the Thunderbolt 3 drives at 84.26%.
In past reviews, we have had the opportunity to test and review the USB-C model of the Envoy Pro EX. With the Thunderbolt 3 solution now in the books, I can say with certainty the build quality is equal or possibly even better than the USB-C solution as it has added perks like the silicon sleeve and heatsinked design for the enclosure. The black aluminum colorway adds to this, and while we don't typically care for attached cables, it does mean you won't be searching for one when you want to connect the drive.
In testing, the drive performed quite well, especially in read operations where we were able to reach upwards of 2.7 GB/s in both ATTO and CDM. Write operations were a bit slower topping out just above 1 GB/s in both synthetic tests and our 200GB file transfer ended up averaging out to 187 MB/s taking just under 20 minutes to complete the transfer.
Pricing is pretty good for the Envoy Pro EX. It's actually the cheapest single drive 4TB NVMe solution I could find with its MSRP at $1079.99. The Sabrent XTRM for comparison is $1299.99 for the 4TB capacity.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII Formula X570 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H60 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Carbide 275R (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Corsair MP600 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
The Envoy Pro EX offers a significant value for consumers wanting high capacity high performance storage solutions in a single drive. That said, consumers should be aware the EX is a fantastic solution for read intensive workflows, but does fall off in write heavy scenarios.