DockCase’s USB-C M.2 SSD enclosure: How does it stack up?

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DockCase is again with its newest product, a USB-C M.2 SSD enclosure. The machine packs some nice SSD safety and monitoring options right into a smooth metallic and glass enclosure with a small display screen to maintain you up to date in your SSD’s well being. However are these options well worth the $99 value (solely $69 on Kickstarter), or are you higher off trying elsewhere?

Final 12 months, I took a take a look at DockCase’s good hub. Just like the launch of that product, DockCase’s NVMe/SATA SSD enclosure is launching first on Kickstarter. Whereas DockCase has been dependable with launching its merchandise, and this newest marketing campaign is already absolutely funded (having raised over $100,000 from practically 1,000 backers), it’s nonetheless a Kickstarter. Transport is predicted to begin subsequent month, after the tip of the marketing campaign in just some days. Simply bear in mind that purchasing the enclosure isn’t precisely like shopping for one of many firm’s completed merchandise off Amazon (although DockCase is working some Kickstarter-exclusive reductions).

The SSD enclosure comes with a detachable USB-C to USB-C cable with a handy built-in USB-A adapter. From the second you plug it in, probably the most noticeable characteristic is the enclosure’s display screen. The display screen shows varied data concerning the SSD and enclosure, and the only button on the aspect means that you can entry much more info. Proper on the high of the display screen, the enclosure shows the state of its energy loss safety – one of many foremost options of the SSD.

The display screen is smaller than the one on DockCase’s hub, in keeping with the slimmer enclosure, and likewise extra noticeable when the machine is turned off.

DockCase’s hub (high) and SSD enclosure (backside).

Putting in the SSD

DockCase’s SSD enclosure doesn’t characteristic a tool-less design like many different enclosures. As an alternative, on the rear of the machine, there’s a small Philips head screw holding on the heatsink. The machine ships with a screwdriver.

As soon as you are taking off the again, you’ll be able to have a look contained in the enclosure. Putting in the SSD is straightforward, with a Philips head screw to carry it down, however I actually assume a tool-less design would have been a pleasant addition. Earlier than getting this enclosure, I used a equally priced Sabrent Thunderbolt 3 enclosure. It makes use of a very tool-less design and contains a number of thermal pads of various thicknesses that you simply stick-on your self. DockCase’s SSD enclosure has the thermal pad pre-installed on the heatsink.

Whereas DockCase’s enclosure might not be tool-less, that design has its personal benefits, as you’ll be able to set up SSDs of varied lengths. It helps 2230, 2242, 2260, and 2280 SSDs whereas the Sabrent enclosure solely helps 80mm 2280 M.2 SSDs.

DockCase has clearly made the enclosure to seem stunning, even when opening it up. The distinction between the black PCB and golden contact pads and lettering really seems stunning. It’s in stark distinction to the cluttered-looking however purposeful blue PCB within the Sabrent enclosure.

Security options

Utilizing a capacitor, the enclosure can maintain the SSD powered up for a number of extra seconds after it’s unplugged. Whereas this received’t allow you to switch any additional info out of your pc, it should enable the SSD to clear the info that’s saved in its cache. Energy loss safety additionally helps make sure the SSD’s mapping desk (principally a desk of contents on the place knowledge is saved on the SSD) stays intact.

The massive capacitor in both of DockCase’s enclosures (the enclosure is available in five-second and ten-second energy loss safety variations) might assist stop points ensuing from unplugging the machine unexpectedly.

The capacitor within the DockCase enclosure that gives the power-loss safety.

When the enclosure is opened, the big purple capacitor offering that power-loss safety is on full show on the finish. It’s labeled “SUPERCAP (EDLC).” The leads on this capacitor are seen, although coated by one other flap of metallic so you’ll be able to’t by chance contact the leads whereas putting in your SSD.

DockCase’s enclosure is fairly particular in its further energy loss safety. I’ve by no means run into points with different exterior SSD enclosures, however that additional peace of thoughts is sweet.

The show additionally is ready to share quite a lot of details about the put in SSD at a look. All the things from the dimensions, kind, storage remaining, and partitions to extra detailed info just like the firmware, power-on hours, and knowledge written/learn. Whereas utilizing a MacOS’s Disk Utility or Window’s Disk Administration makes most of this info obtainable, it’s good actually good to have only a button click on away.

Efficiency

Efficiency is a kind of areas wherein DockCase’s USB-C enclosure, sadly, falls behind. Its two foremost limitations are its USB-C 10Gbps connectivity and the 2TB max capability. The enclosure makes use of the RTL9210b management chip, which is a Realtek USB to PCIe / USB to SATA chip additionally utilized in different M.2 SSD enclosures as cheap as $20.

With increasingly more PCIe 4.0 SSDs like Kingston’s KC3000 being launched, which might attain speeds as much as 7,000MB/s, higher-speed Thunderbolt connectivity would have made this a way more compelling possibility for these trying to get probably the most out of their SSDs.

Is DockCase’s USB-C M.2 enclosure price it?

All issues thought-about, for me, DockCase’s USB-C M.2 SSD enclosure is completely price it even at $99, and it’s at present obtainable on Kickstarter for simply $69. I’ve larger pace choices obtainable, which I’ll positively nonetheless use every so often, however the power-loss safety, glorious construct high quality, further options, and Apple-like aesthetic make the enclosure the right addition to my setup. Very similar to DockCase’s hub has change into my main connectivity machine, I absolutely anticipate an SSD in DockCase’s SSD enclosure remaining my go-to exterior storage machine.

If the extra power-loss safety and slick design don’t converse to you a lot, you’ll be able to go together with one of many cheaper choices and spend as little as $20, or you may get a higher-performing machine for the same price, however these have their very own drawbacks. The $99 Sabrent enclosure I’ve used doesn’t have normal USB help, requiring Thunderbolt 3 compatibility on no matter machine you plug it into, whereas the $79 OWC Envoy Specific has a non-removable cable.

If at any level DockCase comes out with a costlier Thunderbolt model of this, I can be first in line to make the change, however till that time, the 10Gbps USB-C connectivity is sufficient to make this the newest addition to my desktop setup.

Get DockCase’s USB-C SSD enclosure for $69 on Kickstarter.

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