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Storage Hardware

OWC's Envoy Pro EX SSD impresses with its speed, small size

What's smaller than a portable hard drive, larger than a thumb drive, and really fast? OWC's Envoy Pro EX, an external solid-state drive (SSD).

Typical SSDs have the same form factor of a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive, but the Envoy Pro EX uses the OWC's Aura Pro SSD that is built more like a RAM module than a drive mechanism. OWC pairs the fast 6G Aura Pro with a Sandforce controller and wraps them in a sleek, anodized aluminum external enclosure with USB 3.

Weighing 3.8 ounces and measuring just 0.4 inches thick, 2.1 inches wide and 4.5 inches long, the bus-powered Envoy Pro EX is perfectly portable. Very similar in size and shape of the iPhone 4S, the Envoy Pro EX is a bit thicker, but weighs one ounce less than that iPhone.

The Envoy Pro EX performed admirably in our speed tests. (We tested the 240GB model.) For file and folder transfers we connected the drive to a 2012 MacBook Pro with a quad core 2.7GHz Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and an internal SSD. The Envoy Pro EX wrote our large 10GB file at 216.8 MBps and read the same file at 181.5 MBps. The Envoy Pro wrote a 10GB folder full of smaller files at 197 MBps and read the folder at 176.2 MBps.

Connected to a 2013 custom 13-inch MacBook Air with 8GB RAM and faster PCIe-connected internal flash storage, the read speeds were much higher, reading the large file at 423.5 MBps and the folder at 318.7MBps.

The AJA System Test scores were also impressive. With speeds of 371.8 MBps writes and 410 MBps reads, these are the fastest AJA USB 3 write speeds we've seen and faster than any single-drive Thunderbolt device we've tested.

Bottom line

Small, stylish and swift, the bus-powered Envoy Pro EX is an extremely portable drive. It offers 240GB of solid state capacity and some of the fastest AJA write speeds we've seen.

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