ORICO M2PJM-C3 M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure Review: A $35 Realtek RTL9210 Option
An NVMe SSD Enclosure That Shows Real(tek) Improvement
A year ago we checked out a USB Type-C NVMe enclosure (model PCM2-C3) from a company called Orico, and found the quality to be excellent, though it did run hot with its JMicron JMS583 bridge chip. Today we have another iteration of Orico’s USB-C NVMe enclosure design, this time with more of an emphasis on power and thermals.
While PCIe Gen3 NVMe drive controllers don’t get particularly warm compared to early Gen4 efforts during use, the inner workings of NVMe enclosures – in particular the PCIe to USB bridge – can produce quite a bit of heat. A number of examples using the JMS583 can be found on the market, and while thermals are not the only thing associated with this controller, we did not encounter any stability issues as it was (and still is) quite reliable. But Orico has adopted a new controller here, as we discovered.
Enter the Realtek RTL9210
This new enclosure, model M2PJM-C3 according to the packaging (though the JM in the model seems to refer to a JMicron controller), offers a Realtek RTL9210 controller, which was introduced last year. And I didn’t know that until I opened it up, as the Amazon listing referenced the same controller found in the previous model we tested. (Turns out that was an old listing, and the new one is here.) So, is there is a difference between the two? You bet there is!
The RTL9210PD USB to PCIe bridge achieves ultra-high-speed performance of over 1GB/s read/write performance. It integrates a market proven Power Delivery 3.0 feature, ultra-low power mode (12.5mW) to prevent over-heating, and a MIPS-based flexible design architecture to ensure the best compatibility with various platforms and PCIe SSDs. The RTL9210 is the most competitive and lowest power consumption USB3.1 Gen2 to PCIe3.0 bridge solution in the market today.
Given the implementation of active state power management with this Realtek controller, the Orico enclosure should pull significantly less power – and produce significantly less heat – than our first example.
- Model Number: M2PJM-C3
- Interface: USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
- Controller: Realtek PCIe Gen3 x2 bridge controller with UASP and TRIM support
- Data transfer speed: 10 Gbps
- Compatibility: M-Key M.2 SSD (PCI-E-based), fits SSD sizes 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280
- Capacity: Capacity up to 2TB max
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 106.5 x 29 x 11.5 mm
- OS Support: Windows / Mac / Linux
“ORICO external M.2 enclosure adopting the latest USB3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, supports data transmission speeds of up to 10Gbps. Master controller supports SCSI Protocol (UASP), capable of performance over 950 Mb/s read/write when using high-performance NVMe media.
The copper bars with holes on the PCBA board and the thermal pad attached to the m.2 external enclosure, with the aluminum alloy case can ensure a perfect cooling performance for the solid-state Drive.
ORICO external case build with premium aluminum, Made compact and lightweight, durable and convenient. The surface drawing process injects fashion vitality to the product, suitable for Business officer / DIY player/ 4K Video editing. With 12-month worry-free service and lifetime technical service support. “
The ORICO M2PJM-C3 Enclosure
Arriving in nearly identical packaging as our previous Orico enclosure, and everything needed to install your NVMe drive is included.
This M2PJM-C3 kit contains the aluminum enclosure (we have the blue finish, silver is also available), a pair of short USB cables with both Type-C and Type-A connection options, the required hardware to mount the SSD, and a thermal pad for the SSD should you desire to use it.
Initially I was confused by the internals of the enclosure as I expected the same JMicron controller as before, and our previous Orico shipped with thick thermal pads to help control the heat from that bridge chip. There are no such pads inside this enclosure, as the Realtek chip is far more efficient and does not require a heatsink.
Installation of the M.2 drive is simple, with a slotted cylinder that fits against the end of the SSD, and is secured with a screw on the opposite side (exactly the same procedure we saw with the PCM2-C3). Once the SSD is in place, the PCB simply sits down inside the enclosure, guided by some tabs to ensure it is positioned correctly. You now have the option of using the thermal pad on the SSD, and can secure the cover with the provided driver.
Without getting into Allyn-level testing we did quickly evaluate the speed of this Orico enclosure using a handy Samsung SM961 NVMe drive. The enclosure was connected with the included Type-C to Type-C cable, and tests were conducted using the same HP Spectre x360 laptop from our previous Orico review.
As you can see, this enclosure is capable of saturating its 10 Gbps USB link, and these quick synthetic tests did show better performance than the JMicron controller from our previous review (which hit a max of ~926 MB/s sequential with this drive).
For some more “real-world” testing I transferred a pair of files large enough to (theoretically) defeat the memory caching effect we often see with Intel USB connections, and here things settled to a lower ~800 MB/s read, ~600 MB/s write during these transfers.
Still good speeds, but queue depth and file size will obviously affect these results, with the 1043 MB/s max coming from a QD8 1GiB sequential test in CrystalDiskMark 7.
The Orico M2PJM-C3 enclosure provides good performance and significantly reduced heat output compared to the previous JMicro-powered version we tested. The Realtek RTL9210 bridge chip looks like a great choice for this form-factor, and its lower power requirements make it suitable for applications such as the Raspberry Pi 4.
- ORICO M.2 NVMe + NGFF SSD Enclosure (as reviewed): $49.99, Amazon.com
- Current promo code X2QAP2QP lowers this price to $34.99
In short, for under $40 (as of this writing) this Orico M2PJM-C3 provides an excellent option for fast external storage, and it’s a nice looking kit, too. Recommended.
This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.
How Product Was Obtained
The enclosure is on loan from ORICO for the purpose of this review.
What Happens To Product After Review
The enclosure remains the property of ORICO but will be on extended loan to PC Perspective for the purpose of future testing and product comparisons.
ORICO provided the product sample and technical brief to PC Perspective but had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation
Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by ORICO for this review.
ORICO has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases made through those links.
Damn Sebastian, I bought 3 of those last years models you reviewed. Worked great but ya just a tad hot. LOL just bought 3 of these new ones to replace them. Get here tomorrow, used your amazon link 🙂
One helluva sales man you are. Keep up the killer reviews.
Haha that’s awesome!
I’d like to hear if they all have this Realtek chip, or if there are multiple revisions floating around.(Of course after I posted this I actually followed your link, and this model’s bridge chip is correctly listed there… Looks like just the Amazon page was incorrect when I looked.)
whats odd is their website claims this is both a NVME and SATA compatible product. both are supported in the same board – http://www.orico.cc/us/product/detail/7142.html
I will have to throw a SATA M.2 drive in there and add that to the review!
Update: Orico tells me the NVME + SATA version is not on Amazon yet! Just the PCIe one I linked. The NVMe/SATA model is currently available from Newegg and AliExpress, and will be added to Amazon in a few days.
I’ve read that RTL9210B supports both NVME (M key) and SATA (M+B key) SSD drives. I think the RTL9210 (no “B” suffix) supports only NVME (M key) drives, not SATA (M+B key), but I am unsure.
I don’t know what the RTL9210PD is, and how it relates to the RTL9210 and RTL9210B. Do you?
From the lack of caveats, I suspect it will work with all current PCIe M.2 Types, but not SATA.
Now that the Raspberry Pi 4 can boot from USB 3, I installed Raspberry Pi OS on an old SSD via a cheap USB to SATA adapter. It amounted to a very nice speed boost in app load times. I wonder if this would be better?
BigTed, the usb ports on the raspberry’s aren’t gen2 so kind of a waste of a nvme drive. I would just stick with sata m.2
Ahh okay thanks. Nice to know. They are getting very close performance wise to being daily driver-able though.
re-read your question again, so sata usb adapter vs. this sata m.2 adapter, your going to see about the same speeds. both maxing out around 440MBps
which is the max the m.2 chip can transfer. that sata ssd and m.2 ssd max out around 525MBps ish
after watching this podcast with this review talking about it…. sure enough the link in this review linked to a JMicro version… M2PJ-C3!! 🙁 I just bought 3 jmicron enclosures when I wanted the realtek ones….. GRRRRRR!!!!
I opened up all 3 of my new enclosures and sure enough, jmicron JMS583 controller
so your link still leads to the jmicron controller version
and the JMS583 is the exact same controller as the previous model, the same ones you reviewed a year ago.
Well that was a waste of $120 worth of enclosures
The M2PJ-C3 and M2PJM-C3 model names are too similar for significantly different products. Sorry the link was incorrect, and it’s been fixed. Given the confusing nature of the listing/mixup I see no reason why you shouldn’t be eligible for a free return label as well as a full refund with Amazon.
In any case, with the Amazon code Orico sent over (Code X2QAP2QP, 30% off, sale price $34.99) it’s a better deal for the better version right now.
saved all the boxes and started amazon return. ill post the amazon link of the correct one in the comments when they become available. the realtek controller version of these.
The correct link: https://www.amazon.com/ORICO-Aluminum-Enclosure-Adapter-External/dp/B087JSK65V (and use code X2QAP2QP to get 30% off)
yep thanks sebastian, returning the wrong ones. ordered the right ones. 3 of them with the coupon was $107 shipped. thanks a ton again. glad I caught this during my return window
Glad it worked out in the end! The hazards of reviewing stuff before it’s even officially listed on Amazon…
Yes, I found 🙂
Sebastian … I wonder… Does the enclosure support TRIM/SMART passthrough? I care most about TRIM (am currently mostly using Windows with NTFS), as it may affect the health/lifespan of my nvme memory, but SMART would be nice to have and really, if the RTL9210 wants to compete with the ASM2362, should be part of the offering.
Also, I noticed. When trying to buy the enclosure on Amazon.ca (I live in Canada), they seem to be selling a different sub model:
It’s specs looks the same, but, are you aware of a critical difference, or could you point me to an Orico resource that could clarify? I tried their site, but my Chinese is quite rusty (only speak German, French and English ).
would love to see some reviews on anyone of the strange designs from Ineo, just purchased this guy – https://www.ineo-usa.com/productinfo/360733.html
the orico ones listed here simply get to hot while transferring. and trip the protection on my 950pro drives. they disconnect, interrupt the transfer and mess files up. and yes thermal pads are installed appropriately
I had to disable uas driver from pickup up the ORICO M2PV-C3 device. See https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux/issues/4130#issuecomment-913167108 . It was also crashing and disconnecting from USB. Unless too high I/O it works reliably now.