For us here in the office, we have a lot of M.2 SSDs hanging around. Problem is, we have not enough desktops or laptops to slot them in. So, desiring the speeds like the SecureDrive BT that we reviewed not long ago, we decided to convert the extra M.2 SSDs into external USB-powered SSDs.
There are a few things we should know before going into this project – let us guide you through our process.
Choosing the right enclosure
There are multiple enclosures available in the market right now. Unfortunately, they’re all named similarly but functions completely differently. First, we need to know what type of M.2 SSD is to be converted to become an external USB drive.
We chose the KINGMAX PX3480. It’s an M.2 2280 SSD that is using the NVMe protocol and utilizes PCle Gen 3 x4 lanes. With that in mind, we can also confirm that this SSD is using an M-key. So, we’ll have to get an M.2 SSD enclosure that has an M-key. For those who are using SATA III M.2 SSDs, you’ll have to get a B-key enclosure.
NVMe SSDs are fast – and this Ugreen enclosure utilizes the USB 3.1 Gen 2 protocol, and it can theoretically go up to 10Gb/s.
The Ugreen enclosure is pretty simple. We have the box itself that doesn’t tell much about anything.
Opening up we can find the enclosure itself. It’s metal for a reason that we’ll get into later. We also have this little rubber nub that we should keep properly and not lose it. There’s also a user manual that we’re never going to read. Also, it comes with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-C cable. Keep in mind that we need this cable to run at that super high speed.
And before you buy this enclosure, you might want to buy another USB 3.0 Type-A cable too.
It’s simple. The enclosure itself has a cover that can be slid off, revealing the connector itself. Ugreen made it so simple that we don’t even require any tools to install the SSD.
Remember that rubber nub? Yeah, we have another one on the SSD itself. Just take it out of the slot, plug in the SSD and then attach the rubber nub on the SSD and push it down on the hole to secure the SSD in place.
The Ugreen enclosure supports all different lengths of M.2 SSDs except for M.2 22110. Though, all of the M.2 SSDs that we’ve used are M.2 2280 anyway.
Using the Ugreen M.2 SSD enclosure
Honestly speaking, the KINGMAX PX3480 is a super speedy SSD when plugged directly into our PC. Going through the USB protocol, we’re locked with USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds – which on paper, can reach 10Gb/s or 1.25GB/s.
Well, in our real-world test, we’re able to get about 650MB/s on a single large file transfer. And that is already like 5-6 times faster than any of the usual 2.5-inch external hard disk that we’ve used.
But what are the drawbacks? Maybe don’t touch the SSD after copying files to/from the SSD inside the Ugreen M.2 SSD enclosure. It’s a known fact that SSDs do get hot – but NVMe SSDs are the hottest. It didn’t occur to me at first and I was surprised by how hot it got.
The metal enclosure does help to spread the heat out of the SSD faster, but that also means your hands will be scorched easily. There’s no way around this other than keeping in mind that the SSD will get hot after transferring files.
Wrapping up the Ugreen M.2 SSD enclosure.
I love it. If you have an extra M.2 SSD lying around, don’t collect dust with it. Spend a little more and convert it to an external SSD. Since it is using USB-C anyway, you can connect it to your phone or your laptop. Treat it as a speedy external drive. It’s so fast that I can edit videos off an external SSD, actually.
Depending on which M.2 SSD enclosure that you need, the price varies. For us, we opted for the M-key M.2 SSD enclosure for NVMe SSDs, and it was only priced at RM111.14 during a promotion. Just don’t ever buy the USB 3.0 micro-B enclosure.