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Repurpose your old SSD into a portable drive with this external USB-C enclosure

Silverstone MS12 External SSD Enclosure
(Image credit: Silverstone)
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Silverstone has launched a high-speed external enclosure that supports various lengths of M.2 form factor SSDs, so long as they are of the NVMe variety. Supported sizes include 22mm x 42mm, 22mm x 60mm, and 22mm x 80mm.

A typical NVMe SSD measures 80mm long and is shaped like a stick of bubble gum, like the Addlink S70 and WD Black SN750, two of the best SSDs for gaming. Shorter drives are generally used in some laptops and small form factor PCs.

Silverstone's new MS12 supports the lot of them. It's powered by ASMedia ASM2364 controller and sports a PCIe Gen3 x4 interface, which gets converted to USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C. It has a theoretical max speed of 20Gbps by way of the USB-C interface, which works out to 2,500MB/s.

You inevitably lose some bandwidth with USB due to overhead, though according to Silverstone's own internal benchmarking, users can expect sequential read and write performance to run a little north of 2,000MB/s, depending on the SSD. Silverstone used a Samsung 960 Pro 512GB for its testing, which when installed in a PC, is capable of up to 3,500MB/s of sequential read performance and up to 2,100MB/s of sequential write performance.

The MS12 is made of aluminum and serves double duty as a giant heatsink of sorts. To that end, it also features a built-in thermal pad to help whisk heat from the NAND flash memory modules.

"MS12 is designed to effectively cool high performance M.2 NVMe SSD, even during prolonged burning sessions of 4+ hours, the MS12 can keep installed SSD running at maximum speed and stability," Silverstone says.

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Where I see this being most useful is when upgrading your primary storage. Between next-gen game consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X) and Microsoft's DirectStorage API for Windows 10, game developers have more motivation than ever to leverage faster SSDs, including PCIe 4.0 models that push transfer speeds up to around 7,000MB/s.

If you make the upgrade to a faster SSD, an enclosure like the MS12 can effectively convert your old drive into a portable SSD, with speedier performance than what you would get from a typical USB thumb drive. However, they have to be NVMe SSDs, and you will also need a USB-C port on your PC or laptop (or have a USB-C to USB-A adapter).

So it's a potentially handy item with some caveats. That said, Silverstone has yet to announce pricing or availability.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).