SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD Enclosure and ECU06 Expansion Card Review
Portable storage drives are getting faster each year. Today, portable storage devices are faster than ever with the use of the latest interfaces and technologies including NVMe protocol to reach speeds exceeding the SATA III interface. We will be looking at one of SilverStone’s latest and fastest NVMe SSD enclosures, the SilverStone MS12. SilverStone has also provided the SilverStone ECU06 USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 PCIe expansion card to achieve maximum speeds with the high-speed USB 3.2 Gen2x2 interface.
The SilverStone MS12 uses the USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C interface delivering up to 20Gbps SuperSpeed+ transfer rate. The enclosure supports three M.2 SSD form-factors – the M.2 2242, M.2 2260, and the more common M.2 2280 form-factor. On the other hand, the SilverStone ECU06 USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 PCIe expansion card complements the use of the SilverStone M12 enclosure if you do not have a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C port available on your device. The expansion card allows you to fully utilize the maximum speed of the enclosure if you put in one of the high-performance NVMe SSDs available today. For this review, we will be using one of Samsung’s latest NVMe offerings – the Samsung 980 NVMe SSD.
SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD Enclosure Features
- Latest USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C interface up to 20Gbps SuperSpeed+ transfer rate
- Support various lengths of M.2 SSD (22x42mm, 22x60mm, 22x80mm)
- Support BOT and UAS Protocol
- Support TRIM command set
- Support NVMe: SCSI Translation Reference Rev. 1.5
- Support NVMe Error Reporting & Recovery
- S.M.A.R.T drive monitoring
- Compliant with PCI Express Base Specification Rev. 3.1a
- Compliant with NVM Express Base Specification Rev. 1.3c
- Aluminum alloy case and built-in thermal pad
SilverStone ECU06 Expansion Card Features
- SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps
- PCI Express Gen3 x4 lanes, transfer rate up to 32GT/s
- Compliant with PCI Express Base 3.1a specification.
- Compliant with eXtensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) specification Revision 1.1
- Compliant with USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) Revision 1.0
- Includes optional low profile slot cover for supporting low profile cases
Closer Look – SilverStone MS12
First, we take a look at the contents of the SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD enclosure. It comes with a couple of accessories and extras. You’d get two extra thermal pads which are different for each side. You’d also get four extra screws just in case you lose some of the eight screws used on the enclosure.
The SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD enclosure comes with a screwdriver you can use for opening the enclosure. The screws uses a hexagonal screw pattern, a 1.0mm hex driver to be specific.
The MS12 enclosure comes with thermal pads pre-installed internally. These thermal pads ready for SSD installation, all you need to do is peel the protective plastic sheet on the visible surface of the thermal pads.
Closer Look – SilverStone ECU06 USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Expansion Card
The SilverStone ECU06 SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps / USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 PCIe expansion card comes bundled with a half-length rear I/O shield for compact PCs. The expansion card does not require a driver installation and works as soon as plugged into a PCIe slot. It uses a PCIe x4 slot and works on Gen3 and Gen4 PCIe lanes.
The SilverStone ECU06 has a single USB-C port on the rear I/O which supports USB 3.2 Gen2x2 with SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps transfer speed support.
Unboxing and Installation Video
The Samsung 980 NVMe SSD 500GB model is capable of delivering up to 3,100 MB/s sequential read and up to 2,600 MB/s sequential write speeds. I tested the SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD enclosure with Samsung 980 NVMe SSD on the type-C port on my ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate which uses a USB 3.1 Gen1 interface. Then, I’ve tested the enclosure and SSD combo on the SilverStone ECU06 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 PCIe expansion card’s Type-C port. The SilverStone ECU06 expansion card’s Type-C port delivered faster read and write speeds as seen in the CrystalDiskMark screenshots below.
To understand and experience the quantifiable difference between the two interfaces, I will be doing a file transfer test using the available interfaces I have. Aside from a desktop setup, I will also be testing how fast the SilverStone M12 + Samsung 980 NVMe SSD external storage solution can go in Thunderbolt 3 using a Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2017) laptop. I will also be doing the same file transfer test using a Kingston HyperX USB 3.0 flash drive which is the fastest USB flash drive I have at the moment. The file transfer test will be using a total of 14.6 gigabyte of data – 266 files in 12 folders which includes audio files, raw video, our website’s backup, and others.
The SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD enclosure with Samsung 980 NVMe SSD performs fastest on the SilverStone ECU06 expansion card having fully utilizing its USB 3.2 Gen2x2 PCIe interface. It was able to transfer 14.6GB of data in just 22 seconds. Using the Type-C port on the rear I/O of my ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate delivered a reasonable time of 31 seconds and the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 on the Razer Blade Stealth 13 completed the file transfer in 39 seconds. USB 3.0 flash drives are significantly slower in completing the task which yielded above the 2-minute mark.
Building an external storage device with the SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD enclosure doesn’t only give you the fastest file transfer speeds you can attain today but also flexible storage capacity options. SilverStone claims the MS12 can support any capacity of NVMe solid-state drive – even with the likes of a Sabrent Rocket Q 8TB NVMe SSD. The SilverStone MS12 might be one of the largest NVMe SSD enclosures you can find in the market today but it offers superb passive cooling for high-performance NVMe SSDs. Furthermore, it comes with extra thermal pads so you can have no worries about changing NVMe SSDs in the future.
If you are a content creator dealing with large files on a regular basis, building your own high-capacity, high-speed storage is easy with the SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD enclosure.
The SilverStone MS12 allows you to get the most out of high-performance NVMe SSDs with its support for USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C interface up to 20Gbps SuperSpeed+ transfer rate. Most of the NVMe SSD enclosures available today are limited to a 10Gbps transfer rate. The SilverStone MS12’s faster speeds definitely offer one of the best performing NVMe SSD enclosures to date.
At $69.99, the SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD enclosure is quite pricey – a premium price for its premium performance. There are very few alternatives for this enclosure with its maximum 20Gbps transfer rate. Even offerings from Sabrent and the ASUS ROG STRIX Arion (priced at $56.99) only give you a 10Gbps transfer rate. Aside from performance, the SilverStone MS12 comes with extra thermal pads and screws so you don’t need to worry about losing screws or upgrading the NVMe drive in the future. Users can easily slap a fresh pair of thermal pads when necessary. For its price, you are getting superior performance to what’s available in the market today.
If your computer doesn’t have USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C that can support 20Gbps, the SilverStone ECU06 PCIe expansion card is a good addition. The expansion card might not be necessary for average users with older-generation USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C ports or a Thunderbolt 3 port. But if you deal with a lot of data files, having the extra speed might save you some time. The SilverStone ECU06 is available on Amazon for $64.55.
Buy the SilverStone MS12 NVMe SSD enclosure at Amazon