2TB NVMe M.2 SSD for Enclosure

Hi all,

Been reading more about NVMe M.2 external enclosures and looking to upgrade from a WD 1TB HDD and SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable SSD to a 2TB NVMe M.2 enclosure.

I'm not the biggest gamer (casual at best), more looking for small form factor external storage options for files/movies and portability.

How important is TLC vs QLC and DRAM vs DRAMless in real life usage? I don't need the best or fastest, but moreso looking for longevity as I want to replace these two older external storage options. I see a lot of comments shitting on QLC and Dramless but I'm not sure whether that affects my use case compared to other more serious users.

Thanks!

Some deals currently on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com.au/Sabrent-Rocket-Internal-Performanc...

https://www.amazon.com.au/Crucial-NAND-NVMe-PCIe-2400MB/dp/B...

Comments

  • what is your enclosure and its max speed ? if you are using USB 3.2 Gen 1, theoretical max speed is 5 Gbps (roughly ~600 MBps), USB 3.2 Gen 2, max speed is 10 Gbps (roughly ~1200 MBps), so even a faster drive would be speed limited by the USB interface. USB 3.1 Gen 1x2 -> 20 Gbps & USB 3.1 Gen 2x2 is 40 Gbps

    • Looking for something like a USB 3.1 gen 2 enclosure, something like this

      https://www.mwave.com.au/product/orico-tcm2c3-nvme-m2-ssd-us...

      • I have almost the same 10 Gbps enclosure with different design (got from this deal). Now it is $19.7 at Orico Official Store, I got it in few days using free "AliExpress Standard Shipping" option (tracked shipping with AusPost).

        I would say any good NVMe drive will be speed limited even at 10 Gbps.
        I use a DRAMless WD SN550 1 TB (Max 2,400 MBps Seq. read / 1,750 MBps Seq. write) and these are the speeds I got with an USB 3.1 gen 1 (5 Gbps) port. I don't have USB 3.1 gen 2 ports.

        • Thanks for the screenshot and the link for the deal! I'm not in a rush so I'll be on the lookout for more

          Have you used a drive with DRAM? I honestly don't believe DRAM vs DRAMless will affect my usage, and from what it seems I might just lean towards getting cheaper 2tb nvme drives

          • @kaij: I have Seagate Firecuda 510 500GB with DRAM but it is mounted on the motherboard (speedtest). They are best as boot drives and they will give better speeds if you are working with large files (DRAM is useful mostly for writing), but anything external is speed limited by the USB port & enclosure USB <-> NVMe controller. Anyway, try to get a drive with higher "Endurance (TBW)" rating for longevity.

            If you are happy with SATA SSD speeds, but with 2 TB storage, this deal would be interesting. Crucial BX500 2TB 2.5" SSD $199 Delivered @ Amazon AU

            • @bazingaa: That definitely helps with the understanding of DRAM, thanks :)

              I did see that deal, and just wanted to be sure what I was looking for first. Not sure if I want the extra speed for 'future proofing' as well, however, that might be a great option albeit in a 2.5' form factor.

              • +1

                @kaij: As bazingaa said, DRAM won't make that much of a difference to you if all you want to do is store data. Neither will 3D TLC NAND as it's faster write cycles are more useful for drives in constant use. A 3D QLC drive with a decent TBW rating will be fine for an external storage drive.

                Even though QLC drives generally have lower TBW (Total Bytes Written) ratings than TLC drives they're fine as storage drives where they're not being written to all the time - e.g they're not suited to being boot drives.

                One last thing; as the proud owner of a small pile of single drive enclosures, can I suggest getting a dual-drive NVME enclosure like this one?
                It's a few extra dollars now but when your drive fills up you can just add a second one.

                • @BinaryPirate: Yep, seems like QLC and dramless fits my profile currently as it'll be more cost effective.

                  Can't say I've looked into the dual drive enclosures yet, does it work as separate drives, i.e. adding redundancy if one fails?

                  And any recommendations for single enclosures?

                  • @kaij: It doesn't appear to have hardware RAID but you could set up software to do the same thing.
                    As for recommendations, I can't say any one has been better than any other but I also never get the cheapest option. If I was to buy another single it'd probably be this one. Silverstone has never let me down the way some of the cheaper brands have.

        • https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/MAG-X570-TOMAHAWK-WIFI/Speci...

          Hey just a noob question. How do I know which USB connection sockets are 10Gbs? I have the Mag x570 tomahawk.

          Is it safe to assume that the Type C connectors at the back of the computer and also on the computer case front panel are the fastest ones?

          • @dabs: In your link, please check USB 3.2 ports (Front) & USB 3.2 ports (Rear). USB 3.2 Gen 2, max speed should be 10 Gbps.

            front = 1(Gen 2, Type C), 4(Gen 1, Type A)
            rear = 3(Gen 2, Type A), 1(Gen 2 Type C), 2(Gen 1, Type A)

            AMD® X570 Chipset

            3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps ports (2 Type-A ports on the back panel, 1 Type-C internal connector)
            4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps ports available through the internal USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps connectors
            6x USB 2.0 ports (2 Type-A ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB 2.0 connectors)
            

            AMD® Processor

            2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps (3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ / Ryzen™ 4000 G-Series) or USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps (2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™/ Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Vega Graphics and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™ with Radeon™ Graphics) ports (1x Type-A & 1x Type-C) on the back panel
            2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps Type-A ports on the back panel
            
  • +2

    For an external drive, I would say get the cheapest M.2 you can. You would be unlikely to wear out a QLC based NVME if it is not your boot drive, and the performance of external drives will likely already be bottle-necked by the M.2 PCIE to USB bridge adapter interface chip, so don't worry about dram/dramless either.

    IMHO far more important is your choice of USB adapter — check the bridge chipset of the m.2 adapter you buy (main makers are Realtek, ASMedia and JMicron), as different chipsets perform differently. Some have overheating issues etc, some older ones have compatibility issues with 10Gbps ports… if you plan to use the drive for heavy usage, can I suggest adding a heatsink to the controller chip if you can fit it in there!

    Personally, for external usage, I would suggest you would be unlikely to notice the difference between an NVME and a SATA-based SSD.

    • Thanks for keeping it simple in that first paragraph! Been trying to figure out my own use case (which is probably light comparative to the other comments in all the deals posted).

      Interesting read on that bridge chipset post, more things to consider before pulling the plug.

      What other SATA ssd's would you recommend? Not closing my options out to anything, trying to figure things out before hopefully some black friday sales come around.

      • Personally I picked up both the WD and Seagate external USB SSD drives (both SATA based internally) and have had no issues with either of them. I did used to encounter overheating issues with some of the older 2.5" enclosures (I suspect they were not engineered/tested for sustained SSD level throughput when I bought them!) but haven't had any of those issues with any recent 2.5" enclosures, so you should be pretty safe to go for something like this drive and this enclosure (that I've personally used before with no issues).

        Only thing I can say is that you may want to go for a TLC over QLC drive if you plan on doing frequent large file writes to the drive, as QLC drives slow down dramatically after a few GB are written (when the pseudo-SLC cache gets filled), whereas TLC drives tend to have a higher sustained write speed.

        • This is true but storage drives tend to be for dumping content onto for periodic playback or viewing.
          QLC drives have slower write cycles but faster read cycles than TLC, whose read cycles slow down as the drive fills up. Basically they're the opposite to TLC drives which makes them ideal to use alongside TLC drives as storage to TLC's more functional role as boot & application drives.

          Come to think of it, & without comparing drive numbers side-by-side, games which don't write to their own folders in the steamapps directory structure on your Steam drive would probably be just fine installed to QLC drives.

          The installs would be marginally slower but the game data & texture loadings would be quicker. Also, iirc, all the writes games do are to the boot drive's Appdata, User Profile & the user's My Documents folders.

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