The 10 Best NVME External Enclosures

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This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in January of 2019. NVMe is the next big thing in PC storage, due to its incredible compactness and incredibly fast PCIe-based throughput, which far outstrips SATA-equipped drives. Now, thanks to ultra-high-speed standards, like USB 3.2 and Thunderbolt 3, as well as the highly convenient M.2 connector format, users can take advantage of this top-of-the-line flash memory in an external, fully portable configuration. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Sabrent EC-TFNE

2. Plugable USBC

3. Trebleet Two-Slot

Editor's Notes

November 20, 2020:

NVMe drives are finally coming down in price to the point where they're not much more expensive than older SATA SSDs, so at last, it's worth it to a lot of people to upgrade. Not everyone has room in their desktop or laptop computer for an NVMe drive, though, and some users need to transport data between computers. That's where these enclosures come in.

The most basic are the Orico M.2, which is highly affordable, and the Sabrent EC-TFNE and Plugable USBC, which are certainly more expensive, but also clearly better quality in terms of design and materials. The Plugable has better ventilation than most, and the Sabrent comes in a rugged and water-resistant version as well. The Asus ROG Strix Arion is pretty similar to all those, but it looks way cooler, so if you need more storage for your gaming PC or Playstation 5, it's worth a look.

The Orico APM2T3 differs from those above due to its Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, which has better bandwidth as well as lower CPU latency than the standard USB bus. Alternatively, the Fledgling Shell has a built-in fan that's just big enough to ensure it's never damaged by overheating. Both of these do require Thunderbolt 3 and are not compatible with USB 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2, however.

If you need more room, the Trebleet Two-Slot is reasonably priced and can hold two drives, while the Netstor NA622 and OWC Express 4M2 can each hold 4. They aren't designed for the average user, but pros who demand huge amounts of storage and bandwidth will appreciate their advanced designs.

January 15, 2019:

NVMe allows for incredibly fast data access, and most of the best enclosures use the USB 3.1 standard. You'll find some, like the Netstor, with two or more M.2 connectors, which allow you to run drives in RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD configurations. RAID 0 combines both drives and methodically splits data between them, vastly improving read and write times, while RAID 1 makes multiple copies of identical drives, so if one fails, your data won't be lost. JBOD, which might be our favorite computer acronym ever ("Just a Bunch Of Disks" — really!) simply combines all the drives into one larger drive, with no performance effects at all. Most consumers will be satisfied with the Sabrent, Peng, or QNine, while A/V professionals should strongly consider the CY, NetStor, or GloTrends.

Special Honors

HighPoint Technologies 6500 Series These large devices are constructed specifically for professional use. The come in versions for either the M.2 or U.2 format and utilize a full-size PCIe slot to deliver the full 16 lanes needed for up to 32 gigabytes per second of low-latency storage.

4. Orico APM2T3

5. Asus ROG Strix Arion

6. Fledgling Shell

7. Glyph Dock

8. Netstor NA622

9. OWC Express 4M2

10. Orico M.2

Christopher Thomas
Last updated by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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