OWC reveals Express 1M2, an ultra-fast USB 4 NVMe SSD enclosure

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited December 2023

The OWC Express 1M2 is a new USB 4 drive enclosure, and is the fastest single blade NVMe enclosure that OWC has ever offered.

OWC Express 1M2
OWC Express 1M2



SSD enclosures with USB 4 connectivity promise universal compatibility without compromise. They are compatible with Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2, USB 2, and everything in between.

OWC is taking advantage of the spec with its newest NVMe SSD enclosure. The Express 1M2 offers real-world speeds of up to 3,151 MB/s and USB 4 connectivity to maximize the performance capabilities of current and future Macs.

OWC says reliability in safeguarding critical user data is part of their brand recognition, and the Express 1M2 upholds that. It has a solid aluminum heat sink to ensure maximum performance.

"The Express 1M2 is built to keep the drive cool and performance high, continuing OWC's tradition of building products right vs. targeting a low-priced disposable commodity level," said Larry O'Connor, founder and CEO of OWC. "Our customer's data reliability is our number one priority and the Express 1M2 is the ideal choice for those seeking long-term reliability and high performance."

Photo and video professionals will benefit from the high speed the drive offers. Use OWC's Aura SSDs or add your own 2230, 2242, or 2280-sized NVMe M.2 SSD.

Get the Express 1M2 without an SSD starting at $119.99. Configurations that add 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB capacities are also available.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    RespiteRespite Posts: 111member
    I'd complain about there not being a link to the product anywhere, but it appears that every other news article for this enclosure contains a dead link anyway: https://www.owc.com/solutions/express-1m2

    Product doesn't appear on OWC's website at all, did they announce it prematurely?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    RespiteRespite Posts: 111member
    Bit odd how the image in the article above seems to show two cables, but a picture circulating of the opened enclosure only show a USB-C port, suggesting it's bus-powered...


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,834administrator
    Respite said:
    I'd complain about there not being a link to the product anywhere, but it appears that every other news article for this enclosure contains a dead link anyway: https://www.owc.com/solutions/express-1m2

    Product doesn't appear on OWC's website at all, did they announce it prematurely?
    There is a link in the piece and has been since the start. "starting at $119.99." That's the link that OWC gave us. We're in the process of figuring out why the link is dead.
    edited December 2023 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,236member
    Try https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-express-1m2 It's on their website. You have to remember that OWC is MacSales so start at the retail website. Everyone needs to read all the information on their page since it talks about limitations when connected to certain devices.

    "Because we’re widely considered the Thunderbolt experts, we must know all the little details that others purposefully overlook or hide. For a bus-powered enclosure to be Thunderbolt certified, it must meet Intel power certifications. As such, speeds are limited to 1500MB/s. While many no-name brands claim to be USB4, they are in fact Thunderbolt 3 solutions that do not follow Intel specifications. Unlike those budget brand pretenders that will leave you feeling fooled and disappointed in far lower speeds, the Express 1M2’s true USB4 connectivity assures you of an astounding doubling of Thunderbolt’s speed."
    • Supports M.2 2280, M.2 2242, M.2 2230 "M Key" drives
    Drives bought with included NVMe drives use "OWC Aura Ultra IV PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 2280 SSD" https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/S3DIG3P4T10/ higher capacity drives available.

    Now we just need OWC/MacSales to upgrade their 4 blade 4M2 enclosure to handle USB4.
    edited December 2023 timpetusmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Respite said:
    Bit odd how the image in the article above seems to show two cables, but a picture circulating of the opened enclosure only show a USB-C port, suggesting it's bus-powered…
    o
    To me the "second cable" looks like a reflection that has been enhanced badly. So I would say single cable

    timpetusRespitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,236member
    stuartf said:
    Respite said:
    Bit odd how the image in the article above seems to show two cables, but a picture circulating of the opened enclosure only show a USB-C port, suggesting it's bus-powered…
    o
    To me the "second cable" looks like a reflection that has been enhanced badly. So I would say single cable

    It is a single cable. Check out the link I mentioned above to see several photos of the product.

    disclaimer: I don't work for OWC/MacSales, I've just bought way too much stuff from them over the last two decades (or more).
    timpetusmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,834administrator
    rob53 said:
    Try https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-express-1m2 It's on their website. You have to remember that OWC is MacSales so start at the retail website. Everyone needs to read all the information on their page since it talks about limitations when connected to certain devices.

    "Because we’re widely considered the Thunderbolt experts, we must know all the little details that others purposefully overlook or hide. For a bus-powered enclosure to be Thunderbolt certified, it must meet Intel power certifications. As such, speeds are limited to 1500MB/s. While many no-name brands claim to be USB4, they are in fact Thunderbolt 3 solutions that do not follow Intel specifications. Unlike those budget brand pretenders that will leave you feeling fooled and disappointed in far lower speeds, the Express 1M2’s true USB4 connectivity assures you of an astounding doubling of Thunderbolt’s speed."
    • Supports M.2 2280, M.2 2242, M.2 2230 "M Key" drives
    Drives bought with included NVMe drives use "OWC Aura Ultra IV PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 2280 SSD" https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/S3DIG3P4T10/ higher capacity drives available.

    Now we just need OWC/MacSales to upgrade their 4 blade 4M2 enclosure to handle USB4.
    Yup, that's where we found it and the link has since been updated.
    timpetuswilliamlondonwatto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 8 of 16
    Respite said:
    I'd complain about there not being a link to the product anywhere, but it appears that every other news article for this enclosure contains a dead link anyway: https://www.owc.com/solutions/express-1m2

    Product doesn't appear on OWC's website at all, did they announce it prematurely?

    ——

    It’s on OWC’s macsales.com website:

        https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-express-1m2

    It’s been some years since OWC actually sold anything on its OWC.com website., which is primarily about solutions for the video industry these days. Don’t know where the link you cite came from.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    Nice. Looks like the bus-powered offspring of their ThunderBlade enclosure design. 

    I have their previous fastest space grey Envoy Pro FX TB3/USB3 enclosure, and the photo Respite posted shows this new Express 1M2 should be an upgrade in terms of cooling.

    The previous Envoy Pro FX had the top of the SSD blade facing downward toward the bottom of the enclosure, so only the aluminum cover plate on the underside of the enclosure is able to contact the SSD blade as its primary heatsink.

    And the underside of the SSD blade has no heat dissipating contacts. At least on the 240GB model I got which came with a single-sided SSD, which I upgraded with a larger double-sided WD Black SN850X 4TB SSD. Easily done although OWC doesn’t sell it as a user-upgradable enclosure.

    The top part of the Envoy Pro FX’s aluminum case (which is the vast majority of its mass) doesn’t really make any good contact with the SSD blade, and so seems more for aesthetics than any functional benefit. It does get warm, so I guess there is some heat transfer happening, but it could be better. (photo attached)

    On the other hand this Express 1M2 design shows the SSD blade facing upward so the chips on the top side of the blade can contact and benefit from the large heatsink cooling fins in the top of the enclosure. Unfortunately I still don’t see any affordance in that photo of the 1M2 for cooling the underside of the SSD blade on double sided SSDs. 

    But given that the bus-powered Envoy Pro FX is marketed as Intel Evo + Thunderbolt certified with speeds up to 2800MB/s, I gotta say it’s pretty strange that OWC’s marketing copy claims: 
    Up to 2X Thunderbolt Performance
    Don’t Get Fooled
    Because we’re widely considered the Thunderbolt experts, we must know all the little details that others purposefully overlook or hide. For a bus-powered enclosure to be Thunderbolt certified, it must meet Intel power certifications. As such, speeds are limited to 1500MB/s. While many no-name brands claim to be USB4, they are in fact Thunderbolt 3 solutions that do not follow Intel specifications. Unlike those budget brand pretenders that will leave you feeling fooled and disappointed…
    Not sure why they want to claim this enclosure is 2x faster than other Thunderbolt SSDs, when they advertise speeds only like 12% higher than their own previous Thunderbolt SSDs. Typical OWC hype, they’d be a lot better off if they toned down the exaggerated marketing. 

    I also just noticed that on any Intel Mac, the Express 1M2 will only run at 10Gb/s USB 3.2 speeds, that’s a big caveat. It requires an Apple Silicon Mac or PC with USB4 ports to run at full speed. For anyone who might need to connect to an Intel Mac I’d recommend their Envoy Pro FX instead, which runs at 28Gb/s TB3 speeds on Intel or Apple Silicon Macs or PCs with TB3/4 ports, and is also USB 3.2 compatible at 10Gb/s speeds on any computer’s USB port that doesn’t have Thunderbolt. Despite its less effective cooling design, in the end Thunderbolt speeds are less than half of the top speed of the latest PCIe 4.0 SSDs anyway, so it’s not like they’re running at full throttle. 



    edited December 2023 watto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 10 of 16
    RespiteRespite Posts: 111member
    Respite said:
    I'd complain about there not being a link to the product anywhere, but it appears that every other news article for this enclosure contains a dead link anyway: https://www.owc.com/solutions/express-1m2

    Product doesn't appear on OWC's website at all, did they announce it prematurely?
    There is a link in the piece and has been since the start. "starting at $119.99." That's the link that OWC gave us. We're in the process of figuring out why the link is dead.
    ???

    No there isn't.  Neither on the forum or in the main site. The text you've quoted isn't even in the article.  The only link is to a (pretty redundant) keyword search for "Mac".  
    edited December 2023
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Respite said:
    Bit odd how the image in the article above seems to show two cables, but a picture circulating of the opened enclosure only show a USB-C port, suggesting it's bus-powered...


    Sorry for the confusion. The main image showed a shadow of the cable attached to the unit making it appear like there were two cables. This is a bus-powered unit with only a single cable. You can see more pictures of the unit here:  https://www.owc.com/solutions/express-1m2
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    HrebHreb Posts: 76member
    For $120 you could also get an entire PC motherboard with *two* m.2 slots (directly on the PCIE bus).
  • Reply 13 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,834administrator
    Respite said:
    Respite said:
    I'd complain about there not being a link to the product anywhere, but it appears that every other news article for this enclosure contains a dead link anyway: https://www.owc.com/solutions/express-1m2

    Product doesn't appear on OWC's website at all, did they announce it prematurely?
    There is a link in the piece and has been since the start. "starting at $119.99." That's the link that OWC gave us. We're in the process of figuring out why the link is dead.
    ???

    No there isn't.  Neither on the forum or in the main site. The text you've quoted isn't even in the article.  The only link is to a (pretty redundant) keyword search for "Mac".  
    Yes, in the forum, and yes on the main site. As I said before, this anchor text has been there since the beginning, and like I said earlier in the thread, we fixed the link when we found the right one, as OWC gave us a bad link for embargoed text prep.

    If you can't see the link, it's a problem local to you, somehow. It has been on the page from the start.


    edited December 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,834administrator
    Hreb said:
    For $120 you could also get an entire PC motherboard with *two* m.2 slots (directly on the PCIE bus).
    Yup!

    You probably can't get a case, CPU, or RAM, though.
    watto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Hreb said:
    For $120 you could also get an entire PC motherboard with *two* m.2 slots (directly on the PCIE bus).
    With a heatsink and thunderbolt 4 that you can carry around with you in a backpack?  Sweet! :)
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 16 of 16
    HrebHreb Posts: 76member
    Hreb said:
    For $120 you could also get an entire PC motherboard with *two* m.2 slots (directly on the PCIE bus).
    Yup!

    You probably can't get a case, CPU, or RAM, though.
    True, however, if you're in the market for a USB m.2 enclosure, there's a really good chance you've already got a case, CPU, and RAM.

    Bottom line, the absence of m.2 slots in Apple's product lineup, particularly the Mac Mini and Mac Studio, represents a serious loss of value.
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