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TESTED, OMG: OWC Express 1M2 USB4 SSD Trounces the Fastest Thunderbolt 3 SSD

re:USB4

OWC Express 1M2 USB4 SSD

Holy cow!

USB4 SSDs rock, faster than any Thunderbolt 3 SSD including the outstanding OWC Thunderblade and OWC Envoy Pro FX.

USB4 products are just coming out; here are a couple of excellent articles:

OWC UNVEILS ITS FASTEST PORTABLE DRIVE YET, THE EXPRESS 1M2 WITH USB4

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THUNDERBOLT 3 AND THUNDERBOLT 4?

Form Factor, etc

Fanless and silent. Bus-powered with supplied cable. Fits a large pocket*. Deep heat fins dissipate heat for reliable operation.

* The OWC Elektron is tiny and easily fits into a small pocket.

Capacities

MPG recommends buying the capacity you need already installed, but you can buy the 0GB enclosure and add your own NVMe M.2 2230, 2242, or 2280 SSD.

Test results: 8TB and 4TB models

Below is what my own testing shows on the 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max.

All Apple Silicon Macs should see these speeds from what I understand (M1, M2, M3). Speeds on Intel Macs will be limited to 10Gbps (about 1100 MB/sec) since those Macs do not support USB4, and never will.

Test results: 8TB model

The 8TB model is the highest performer, utilizing more advanced and expensive technology. You do pay a moderate per-GB premium for its high capacity and that fancier tech.

Look at those crazy-fast speeds for both writes and reads, writing the entire 8TB capacity (2 runs shown).

No external SSD I have ever tested can compete with this outrageously fast performance. Not only that, the consistency is breathtakingly solid across the two runs. Remember, this is writing and reading the entire 8TB capacity!

Average Write: 3076 MB/sec
Average Read: 3429 MB/sec

8TB OWC Express 1M2 USB4 SSD

Test results: 4TB model

The 4TB model also offers crazy-fast read speeds, no meaningful difference vs the 8TB model. Read speeds are what count for the vast majority of usage, since most data of significant size is written once and once only (think raw files, video footage, etc).

The write speed starts out at superb speed for about 1.2TB (1200GB), then drops to about 1000 MB/sec. This is typical of most SSD designs and not at all unique to the OWC offering.

This write speed “issue” does not matter of 99% of real-world usage, for multiple reasons. First, when is the last time you wrote 1.2TB all at once, and how often?

Second, given a little time, the drive’s internal housekeeping goes about its business so that future writes are super fast again. For example if you backed-up 2.5TB on Modnay, then on Tuesday made an incremental backup of another 100GB or 300GB or whatever, full ~3100MB/sec speed should be seen for all of it.

Average Write: 2051 MB/sec
Average Read: 3266 MB/sec

4TB OWC Express 1M2 USB4 SSD
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