Everything you need to know before buying an M.2 SSD Enclosure

The storage process of data in a Hard Drive is carried with a spinning metal platter and a needle head for reading data. On the other hand, the SSDs don’t move at all, there’ no moving part and all the data is stored in the form of data blocks. It’s one of the biggest perks you should switch to the Solid State Drive.

In the year 2010, the SSD industry crossed the ballpark of billions of dollars and emerged as one of the most successful ones. The process used to be very high that time, so these drives were only affordable by those who are ready to invest their fortune.

No one was easily convinced to invest golden $700 for just 240 GB of storage memory, and that’s not actually worth it at all for a normal consumer.

But now the time has changed, and the competition is also on the curve. You can now easily bring home an SSD for just about $200 and that too of 512 GB of storage capacity and that more than enough.

SSD is one of the prominent options that can boost your computer’s speed in the best possible ways. But with the thriving technology, M.2 SSDs are also evolving at a rapid pace. Here’s every single piece of information that you should know about M.2 SSD along with how to upgrade and what’s the high time you should switch to M.2 SSD Enclosure.

An M.2 SSD is just a similar device to any traditional Solid-State Drive. You might be thinking then what’s the point of switching then? There are tons of rationales that will push you towards switching to SDD but have a look at M.2 SSD first.

A few years back, these SSD storage drives used to be extremely exorbitant and bulky too. The storage space was less, and these were also not easily portable. With each year the technology has evolved rapidly and SSDs are becoming more and more compact. These days SSDs come in a handy shape with tremendous storage and can be carried away on the go. You can keep it in your pocket and can plug it anywhere and anytime.

Famous 2.5 Inch SSDs mainly uses the SATA interface, who’s limit to 600MB/s where all the modern M.2 SSDs came in with the latest NVMe interface which supports 3 GB/s read or write speed. What else more?

Another major advantage of using an M.2 SSD is the price. Over the past few years, the price of an M.2 SSD has become more economical even every one of us can afford it. Buying an SSD is now easier as most of the companies are offering payment plans on them which are really pocket-friendly.

So, using an M.2 SSD for the external drive is the only way what you have right now if you are willing to spend your money mainly on performance. Type, compatibility, and support is also the next big thing while choosing an enclosure for your precious M.2.

Let’s start with ‘Types of M.2 enclosure’;

Generally, there are two types of M.2 enclosures, i.e.:

  • External: External enclosure can be attached externally and can be removed on the go.
  • Internal: Yes, there are also internal enclosures that fit in the device and can’t be removed without unscrewing the machine.

Compatibility and Support:

Enclosures come in 4 major types: USB, Thunderbolt, SATA, and U.2.

  • USB Supported Enclosures: USB (Universal Serial Bus) has been an extreme success since its emergence. USB port cables are used in connecting a myriad of devices say keyboards, printers, mice and flash drive. USB enclosures work flawlessly if you are using it on the latest version of the USB port, i.e., USB 3.1 Gen 2. Or otherwise, the branded external SSD is the better option if you’re looking to put a new M.2 stick in a new enclosure. I’m only saying because it will cost you same. But for the RAID solution, it’s a way to go.
  • Thunderbolt Supported Enclosures: Since the year 2011, Thunderbolt has kept the things on fire. There are e-versions of Thunderbolt, and it’s renowned for its high-speed data transfer capabilities. These enclosures can at least save some 200 to 300 dollars if you can build your own DIY M.2 external drive. Even the RAID enclosures are available that can handle up to 4 M.2 Sticks simultaneously.
  • SATA Supported Enclosures: SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is the most standard way of transferring and connecting data via Primary Storage Drivers. This type of enclosure is perfect if you are looking for a DIY for your old M.2 SATA SSD.
  • U.2 Supported Enclosures: U.2, formerly known as SFF-8639, is a computer interface used to connect SSD to a computer through the four PCI Express lanes. As it’s the same as NVMe, so you’ll won’t find any performance difference while using an NVMe drive into the U.2 Slot.

#Interface Version is always important for speed;

It’s has been proved that higher the version is more will be the speed you will receive. High interface versions are known for faster data transfers, and more data transfer means more speed. If you are already up with an old version, it’s the high time to switch for an upgrade.

Checking compatibility is easier: Connecting these peripherals and devices depends completely on your PC and its specifications. Don’t know how to check the compatibility of your system? Don’t panic. There’s the easiest way to check it. You can locate to various online websites that vow to determine the specifications of your device. All you need to do is just click on the compatibility button and look for results. Or you can visit your computer manufacturer’s website.

Difference between cables associated with external and internal enclosure;

If you are thinking to opt for an external closure than your system should have a USB/Thunderbolt supported port. Most of the devices these days have multiple USB ports, so it’s not going to be an issue. Go for the supported cable type. A or C, check the compatibility before purchasing any.

Using the NVMe M.2 Stick in your motherboard’s internal U.2 port is the main purpose of using an internal enclosure. And not just U.2, with the B-Key M.2 to SATA Enclosure, you can actually use your old M.2 SATA SSD into the SATA port if all the M.2 Slot of your motherboard is populated with the latest NVMe.

However, in case of internal closure cable is deeply necessity. Internal enclosure can’t be removed on the go. You need to unscrew the device in order to access the internal drive.

How are M.2 B key and M-Key is different?

B key (mainly used for SATA M.2) and M key (mainly used for NVMe M.2) are basically different on the basis width of contacts. Before the notch B key is six contacts wide on the other hand M key is five contacts wide. The difference in the pins results in varied speed, the B-Key M.2 Slot runs on 2 PCIe Lanes where the M-Key M.2 Slot runs on 4 PCIe Lanes.

While purchasing an SSD, you need to pay significant attention to the width of contacts if you are more into higher speeds than you should go with 5 contact width who supports NVME Drive.

So, make sure you do know about the Key of M.2 Stick and the Slot Key of the enclosure must need to be the same in order to fit in.

RAID on M.2 Enclosures;

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) enclosures curtail the chances of drive failure and possibly all issues that have been associated with a drive. Ever since raid enclosures came in the light, these have used widely on a large scale.

As the data is becoming more and more prestigious the peripherals to protect it are also on the curve. If you have a Drive full of necessary data and you have no significant measure to fortify it, then RAID can help.

RAID is basically a sort of blanket that covers a plethora of setups that can be used as a pool of data storage. So, if there is a data downtime you always have a reliable inmate with you as data backup.

#M.2 SSD to USB

USB version and transfer speed are directly proportional to each other. By means of this, we want to say that higher USB versions can deliver higher speeds and more speed means less time. There is a myriad of USB versions that have been deployed in machines these days. The more you pay, the higher version you will get.

M.2 SSD USB comes in 2 significant variants 3.0 (also known as 3.1 Gen 1) and 3.1 Gen 2.

The main difference between these two variants is basically the speed. As aforementioned, higher versions are responsible for high speed, this case also implies here successfully.

You will be astonished to know that USBs are backward compatible which directly portrays that higher version will deliver higher speed, so one should always buy a higher series.

This is due to the reliability and compatibility of the data transfer process you must have encountered that most smartphones and peripherals these days support lightning cables and mostly C type. But make sure what your computer supports before investing in any.

Silverstone Technology MS09C’ for B key M.2 SATA SSD: If you are looking for a top-notch M.2 SATA drive enclosure, then this is the one you should bid for. This drive from Silverstone is premium and extremely pocketable. It is 3.1 Gen two interfaces that can support up to 10 GB of lightning fast speed. This robust device is A type and requires no driver installation before use.

Click on link to check out the current price of “Silverstone Technology MS09C“: @Amazon US ($32.80), @Amazon UK (£34.39), @Amazon IND (N/A), @Best Buy (N/A),  @Walmart (N/A), @Newegg ($32.81).

StarTech SM22BU31C3R USB 3.1 Gen 2 M.2 SSD RAID Enclosure’ for B key M.2 SATA SSDs: StarTech has been one of the most prominent names when it comes to HDDs and SSDs enclosures. This USB 3.1 Gen peripheral has compatibility with both USB C and USB A that is mostly found in all the smart devices these days. It also supports RAID versions JBOD and TRIM support. The durable aluminum structure is properly vented that makes this drive the first choice of every buyer.

Click on link to check out the current price of “StarTech SM22BU31C3R RAID Enclosure“: @Amazon US ($49.07), @Amazon UK (£56.06)@Amazon IND (₹5,724.07), @Best Buy (N/A),  @Walmart (N/A), @Newegg ($49.70).

Chinese Aluminum NVME SSD Enclosure’ for M key M.2 NVMe SSD: How about a device that comes with a heat dissipation technology? It will be great, right? The major cause people have stopped relying on SSDs is the heating issue. But this is not the case with this device. This NVMe Enclosure can load with USB 2.0, 3.0 and is 3.1 Gen 2. The size is really compact, and cherries on the cake is that it hax ½ space saving body.

Click on link to check out the current price of “Chinese Aluminum NVME SSD Enclosure“: @Amazon US ($69.99), @Amazon UK (£42.94)@Amazon IND (₹3,500.00), @Best Buy (N/A), @Walmart (N/A),   @Newegg ($47.15).

Note: You can’t RAID over your NVMe DIY drive. I don’t even know why, but M.2 M-Key to USB RAID enclosures aren’t available right now.

#M.2 SSD to Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is now even more powerful than ever. It has the capability to deliver two times more data via one channel, and that makes a huge impact. There are three Thunderbolt versions namely Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3.

The first ever introduced Thunderbolt was implemented in the year 2011 in a MacBook that proved its advantages over traditional USB 3.0.  Due to the faster rate of data transfer, it caught a rapid pace and is being used in almost every device.

One of the biggest perk Thunderbolt delivered was the emergence of Thunderbolt dock, which is now an indispensable part of laptops produces by Apple. Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3 are however much faster than their predecessor and are bestowing higher transfer speeds for a better tomorrow.

Thunderbolt 1 and 2 versions are not available in M.2 SSD Enclosures. So, what to do in this situation? There’s a savior for you. You can use an adaptor only on those enclosures who supports backward compatibility via the new Thunderbolt 3 version. Not every enclosure is backward compatibility. So, shop wisely.

The faster and better Thunderbolt 3 shares the same cable pattern as USB type cable C but there’s a thunder sign on the port and the cable. The Type C Thunderbolt Enclosures aren’t supported by the USB 3.1 type C port. So, you can’t use enclose while plugging into a USB Type C port.

Mikosi Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure’ for single M.2 SSD: With a tremendous capacity support, to hold a sum of 2TB of data this drive can be a boom for you. Mikosi Thunderbolt 3 has a capability to transfer data with a huge pace of 40GBPS, and that’s enough speed to accomplish any task.

This peripheral device comes with a Type C cable and is available in 3 dashing colors.  The interface type if USB and it has also attained a certificate from Intel. If you are on a hunt for something pocket-friendly then this is the option you should go with. However, on the scale of durability, this device hasn’t performed much as there are some durable options available in the market.

Is there something that can amplify its durability? Yes! You can use some branded external enclosures, and it will help you in enhancing its durability. But with the help of these enclosures, you can even construct your own Thunderbolt 3 even at a price that is half of the total value of a Thunderbolt 3.

Click on link to check out the current price of “Mikosi Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure“: @Amazon US ($160.00), @Amazon UK (£200.00),  @Amazon IND (N/A), @Best Buy (N/A),  @Walmart (N/A), @Newegg (N/A).

Netstor NA611TB3‘ Thunderbolt 3 NVMe 2 SSDs RAID Enclosure: If there’s something that’s compact yet stunning, then it’s none other than the Nestor NA611TB3. This peripheral device is lightning fast and can transfer data at a speed of 40GBPS, all thanks to its Thunderbolt 3 support! This device is pocket-sized and is a prominent choice among video editors.

Everything from performance to durability is beyond par. This device is powered by a dual M.2 SSD that promises to double the storage capacity. This device is designed with the trending and ultra-modern M.2 NVMe technology and has an array of RAID 1 and RAID 0 for extreme security and performance.

Netstor NA611TB3 supports all the high-performance controllers and has three times more speed from GEN 2 Flash Storage.

Click on link to check out the current price of “Netstor NA611TB3“: @Amazon US ($300.00), @Amazon UK (N/A), @Amazon IND (N/A), @Best Buy (N/A),  @Walmart (N/A), @Newegg (N/A).

OWC Express 4M2‘ 4-Slot M.2 NVMe SSD RAID Enclosure: This peripheral is something that is small and unique. It holds a data capacity of up to 8 TB and has a transfer rate of 2,800 MBPS.

OWC has a really compact design and can be taken to anywhere. The Thunderbolt 3 used in this device is certified to use with Windows and Mac. Also, it has a SoftRAID engine and Thunderbolt 3 cable.

The SoftRAID used in this device delivers extreme capability that can RAID across various drive enclosures. You can also append more Express 4M2 to your extra storage pool with the help of Windows Storage Spaces.  It is also more efficient than your regular slow processor. Lastly, a single device can help you in manifold ways.

Click on link to check out the current price of “OWC Express 4M2“: @Amazon US ($349.99)@Amazon UK (N/A), @Amazon IND (N/A), @Best Buy (N/A),  @Walmart (N/A), @Newegg (N/A).

#M.2 SSD to SATA and U.2:

StarTech SAT2M2NGFF25 M.2 SSD to 2.5 in SATA III Enclosure‘: You can get amused with 2.5 SATA III and can attain a transfer pace up to 6GBPS.

This peripheral is compatible with almost all devices and can host most of the laptops and computers. SATA III has a system performance amplification capability that can help you in any scenario. You get the option to transform your M.2 solid-state drive into a 2.5 Standard SATA.

Click on link to check out the current price of “StarTech SAT2M2NGFF25“: @Amazon US ($24.66), @Amazon UK (£21.33)@Amazon IND (₹2,897.22), @Best Buy (N/A),  @Walmart (N/A), @Newegg ($23.47).

StarTech 25S22M2NGFFR Dual M.2 SATA Enclosure with RAID‘: This seamless device has a standard dimensional body and can fit in any desktop or laptop.

Just as its predecessors this device also has the capabilities to handle the heavier amount of data and supports 2.5 HDD/SSD. This peripheral comes with coupling with RAID for utmost ease and comprehensive security.

Click on link to check out the current price of “StarTech 25S22M2NGFFR“: @Amazon US ($35.99), @Amazon UK (£40.35)@Amazon IND (₹4,160.33), @Best Buy (N/A),  @Walmart (N/A), @Newegg ($38.70).

StarTech U2M2E125 M.2 M-key to U.2 Enclosure‘: For faster and even faster performance you can choose this device. It has an in-built M-KEY and is really compact in size.

It also has a host adapter and a host interface which can be extremely reliable to tackle with any sort of situation. The rapid and easy setup along with backward compatibility makes this device worth a purchase.

Click on link to check out the current price of “StarTech U2M2E125“: @Amazon US ($29.74), @Amazon UK (£26.55)@Amazon IND (₹3,481.33), @Best Buy (N/A),  @Walmart (N/A), @Newegg ($30.07).

If you also needed a new M.2 Stick, then here; Top & Best NVMe M.2 SSD (Solid State Drive) – Monthly Updated

“That’s all for now, thanks for sticking with the article, and you know it will always good to let me know about the article, in the comments down below.” 🙂


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