Other World Computing, Inc.– also known as OWC – founded 35 years ago in 1988 at Woodstock, Illinois, USA. They specialize in expansion products and upgrades for Mac computers and are well known for the high quality of both their products and their customer service.
Today we’ll be looking at OWC’s Envoy Pro FX, a 480gb external SSD that is USB & Thunderbolt compatible.
I haven’t tested many products like this for quite some time – as some of you may recall, my previous testing of similar products (including NVMe-to-USB adapters) often ended up with the product failing under stress tests.
OWC’s claims for this unit are quite strong:
OWC assured me that this device is well built, and will handle any torture test I throw at it.
Military Grade Drop Proof
A rated “up to” 2800mb/s data transfer speeds.
Does the Envoy Pro FX actually live up to these claims, and can it actually survive my torture testing?
Packaging and Included Contents and Setup
The Envoy Pro FX arrives in a small box with a bold claim from OWC on the top – “The FASTEST and most COMPATIBLE drive ever made”
Opening the box reveals the drive, protected by a soft covering and molded foam.
Included with the product:
USB-C/Thunderbolt Cord with included USB-C to USB-A adapter
1 Year subscription to Acronis
The included cord has an attached USB-C to USB-A adapter, which can be useful if you don’t have a spare C-type port available.
You’ll run through a quick setup after connecting the unit to your computer which initializes the unit and allows you to opt into telemetry analysis and/or install Acronis Cyper Protect. Once complete it leaves a PDF of the User Guide available on the SSD.
480GB OWC Aura P12 Pro
Intel Titan Ridge
Maximum Data Link Speed
Thunderbolt 3 up to 40gb/s
Mac OS 10+, Windows 10+, Chrome OS, Linux
2 x 11 x 6.5cm
236g (~0.52 lbs)
IP67 (Dust-tight, protected against the effects of temporary immersion in water)
BSMI, CE, FCC, RCM, VCCI, Reach
5C to 35C (41F-91F) for Operation -20C to 60C (-4F to 140F) for non-operational storage
8%-90% non-condensing for operational use, 5-95% for non-operational storage
-304.8 m to 3,048.0 m for operational use, up to 12,192m (40,000 ft) supported for non-operational storage
Durability and Stress Testing
As some of you may recall, I used to test external drives and accessories but largely stopped after so many failed my torture tests. For example, I was blacklisted by ACASIS after I tested their CM073 USB hub which includes a NVME slot and showed how it overheated and failed under my stress tests.
Because of this, I was hesistant to test OWC’s drive. However, there representatives assured me that the Envoy Pro FX would pass all of my stress tests.
On top of that, Other World Computing makes some strong claims about the unit’s overall durability.
The Envoy Pro FX serves up flexible uses in Xtreme environments. Its sleek, heat dissipating aluminum housing is IP67 rated, so you can work in the dirtiest and wettest environments. Take on the urban jungle or a chaotic movie set with supreme confidence that your data is protected by MIL-STD810G certified military-level drop toughness.
This drive is so tough that we sent it into space aboard the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket! Whether you’re dropping it in a puddle or suspending it in zero G, the Envoy Pro FX has all the right stuff.
I personally am unfamiliar with the MIL-STD810G standard. Looking into it, however, there seems to be a small bit of controversy about the consistency in how manufacturers test for MIL-STD 810G compliance. OWC also addresses those concerns:
When OWC products are labeled with a specific certification, they’re authenticated by a third-party testing company. But they don’t just whip up a label and send the stuff back to us. The company sends a detailed report on which tests each product has undergone, any changes that occurred between tests, and before and after photos from the testing process. There are different standards for various certifications, including a temperature cycle test, thermal shock test, humidity test, vibration test, mechanical shock test, free drop test. So, when OWC engineers say that certain OWC products are “crushproof, dustproof, and waterproof,” they mean it.
The “Free Drop Test” is what’s employed for MIL-STD-810G certification. Each product is dropped from 122 cm (about 4 feet). The product is dropped 26 times, each time making sure a different portion of the product was impacted. To be certified MIL-STD-810G, the product has to hold up throughout the testing process, as well as function and look good afterward.
With that in mind, before I began my software based stress testing I decided to do my own durability tests. While I didn’t test it 26 times, I dropped the unit from the window of my 2nd story apartment four times in a row. It survived.
After dropping it from outside my window four times, I plugged the unit in and set it up. Then I ran a battery of software stress tests on the unit to test worst case torture scenarios on the SSD. The drive passed them without error. To be sure, some other units also *initially* passed those tests – so I ran these tests daily for over a week to be sure the device was really up to par. After the 10th day of testing, I stopped trying to kill this drive. The OWC Envoy FX passed all of my torture stress testing.
So now that we know that this product can actually withstand intense workloads and has good durability, how does it actually perform?
32GB (16gb x2) Crucial DDR5-4800 (Sampled by Micron)
Benchmarks & Testing Results
122GB file transfer
EDITED: This portion of the article has been removed because I realized in retrospect the drive was not operating at full speed when I tested it. Since updating to the latest BIOSes for the B650e Taichi, my high speed links have been experiencing bugs. The other portions of this article were tested with an older BIOS which did not experience this problem.
CrystalDiskMark is a great tool for testing, but it’s default profile is more of a “best case” scenario. With read speeds of over 3GB/second recorded, the results here are very good for a SSD that is connected externally – this is comparable to the performance of good PCI-e 3.0 internal SSDs (approximately half the speed of good PCI-e 4 drives, like the Kingston Fury Renegade shown above)
CrystalDiskMark’s “Real World” profile is supposed to represent performance more akin to that encountered in common workloads – and it does well in this test too with read speeds of over 2GB/second.
Final Fantasy’s built-in benchmark records loading times, making it very useful to compare the peak performance of two storage drives. At 11.196 seconds, the external Envoy Pro FX was just a small bit behind the performance I recorded with Sabrent’s Rocket 4.0 which loaded the game in 9.5 seconds when I previously tested it on Intel’s i5-12600k. Even while paired with Kingston’s Fury Renegade, the best result I’ve recorded thus far with Ryzen 7700X has been 8.72 seconds.
Full System Drive Benchmark
UL Solution’s PCMark10 contains a storage benchmark which uses a wide ranging set of real-world tasks to test the performance of a disk drive.
In this test, OWC’s Envoy Pro FX performed at almost exactly half the speed of Kingston’s Renegade Fury FX. This is pretty impressive for an external drive to match half the performance of a high speed PCI-e 4.0 internal SSD.
Data Drive Benchmark
UL’s Data Drive benchmark provided similar results – the OWC Envoy Pro FX performed similarly to the best PCI-e 3 drives at about half the speed of a high end PCI-e 4.0 drive.
Forspoken is a game that has had plenty of controversy, but it’s also ground breaking in it’s use of DirectStorage technology – which can help improve game loading times. Forspoken also includes loading time measurements in it’s benchmark, making it another ideal candidate for testing the performance of different storage drives.
OWC’s Envoy Pro FX did extremely well in this test, providing performance very similar to that of Kingston’s Fury Renegade Internal PCI-e 4.0 SSD. I was shocked by how closely these two performed, given the differences seen in Final Fantasy (which uses a similar game engine).
Other World Computing claim’s their Envoy Pro FX external SSD is one of the fastest external SSDs and that it’s high quality of craftsmanship will allow it to withstand a beating. To test those claims, I ran a battery of torture tests – after having dropped the unit from a 2nd story apartment window a few times….. and it worked well, passing my most intensive stress tests!
On top of that, this portable SSD is truly blazing fast – it keeps up with the best PCI-e 3 drives even in the worst case scenarios. This drive is suitable for quick storage of large files, and it’s fast enough to be used as the install location for any programs you use – even games!
This is the first external SSD I’ve used that I’ve been genuinely impressed by and I absolutely recommend it for folks looking for a fast portable SSD with strong durability. While it’s price tag is a bit higher than more basic models on the market – the quality, durability, endurance, and speed of this device is unmatched by competitors!
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