While working with an Apple MacBook Pro with the M1 chip, I wanted to test out workflow with external portable storage. OWC has recently introduced the Envoy Pro FX portable SSD. It seems a perfect match for fast storage via Thunderbolt 3.
I’ve used a lot of different SSDs over the years, and they keep getting faster and larger. The Envoy Pro FX is no exception. I tried out a 1 TB size that can run via Thunderbolt or USB. To be more specific, on the USB side it supports USB 3.2 Gen 2. (While I’m testing it with a Mac, it works with Windows machines too.)
The first thing I noticed is how solidly built it feels. I really felt like I was holding a well-designed reliable piece of kit. The military-grade aluminum case makes for a solid feel and functions to keep the heat down. (Heat is an issue when designing high-performance SSDs).
Besides heat dissipation, the case provides water resistance—with an IP67 rating (30 minutes at a depth less than a meter). The drive is bus powered and has a modest LED on the front to indicate connection and activity.
The unit comes with 0.7 meter Thunderbolt 3 cable and has an attached Type-A adaptor so it can be connected to older USB ports. The cable connects to a well-labeled port that indicates both Thunderbolt and USB 3.2 10 Gb/s connections. While labeling might seem like a minor thing, if someone hands you this drive you know immediately what interfaces it supports.
But the big question is speed. Just being an SSD doesn’t always mean fast. The Envoy Pro FX uses OWC’s NVMe media to achieve their specified speed rating of 2,800 MB/s. In my “real world” testing on the M1 MacBook Pro with a third-filled drive, I was getting about 1,700 MB/s for writes and over 2,600 MB/s for reads.
When I say real world, I like to use AJA’s System Test Lite with a 4 GB, 4k, ProRes 4444 file sample. This matches the type of footage I’m using on a daily basis. I also like to test using a drive that isn’t completely empty.
As an editor, I’m used to working with all kinds of storage devices, from traditional spinning disks to USB sticks to disk arrays to SSDs. As a high-speed storage option, the OWC Envoy Pro FX ticks the boxes for durability and performance.