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.
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