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OWC’s Envoy Pro SX Thunderbolt Bus-Powered Portable SSD Is A Fast and Durable Portable Drive


A Portable Computer Needs A Rugged Portable Drive

There was a time when computers were chained to the desk — heck if you want to make the point you could say how the first computers used to inhabit entire rooms. Of course a desktop by definition isn’t going to crowd you out of a room, but it certainly did restrict where you could be when using it. And that went true for the peripherals it used, for example hard drives.

But then along came laptops and suddenly a hard drive could travel outside of the house or office and go…just about anywhere. And that was a good thing too, what with laptops being tasked to handle workflows with video and audio and photography, among others. But soon, real soon, it was discovered that the external hard drive that worked so well indoors just wasn’t cutting it; for one thing it wasn’t durable enough to handle the abuse of being out and about — a hard drive acting up like a needle jumping off a vinyl record (i.e., being bumped or thumped, etc.). Then there was the weather itself which wasn’t all that accommodating — the outside not being a controlled environment like it was indoors. And finally there was the speed of transferring data to/from the hard drive to the laptop — a slew of connections needing to change over the years in order to be faster, faster, faster. So here we are with OWC’s Envoy Pro SX Thunderbolt Bus-Powered Portable SSD, whose name pretty much answers every need we just now complained about. But because blanks do need to be filled in, let’s get cracking.

Solid State Is Better For A Drive

To being, the SX is not a hard drive — there are no moving parts. Instead it functions using digital technology, which means it is solid-sate (hence the SS in the name).A solid-state drive is inherently more stable because of the lack of mechanics, and so can withstand being abused. More importantly, the all important data that is being contained is safer should someone start playing soccer with a solid-state drive. So it’s fine to take this type drive pretty much anywhere, as long as you don’t exceed sensible standards like keeping it out in 105 degree sun for 10 hours. The other concern is temperature control of the drive’s interior, because even without moving parts there will be heat build up. The SX looks at that issue and deals with it through the design of the chassis. By having a grooved fin design, this acts as a heat sink to direct the heat away from the interior components (look Ma, no fan). Another issue is the power that needs to be inputted to the drive. In the old days a separate power supply would be attached to the drive, separate from the data cable going to/from it and the computer. The SX avoids that altogether because it is bus-powered (it’s in the name). What that means is that the SX gets its power from the same cable that the data is being transferred from. Of course that means a drain on the laptop’s battery, but it’s a fair trade off because no power supply means no added device to have to bring along (or forget) and obviously no need for a wall outlet which inhibits where the drive could be used.


Connectivity Means Speed

Now earlier connectivity was mentioned and that’s where speed is important, because data has to get its behind going quickly with the tasks that the drive is going to be participating in. Thunderbolt is the latest connectivity savior — faster than ridiculously and useless slow USB 2.0 or even the newer 3.0 — but does employ a caveat: the laptop (or computer) that the SX is to be used with must have TBolt built in from the ground up, because it’s not something that can be updated or added in via a firmware push. BTW, this also means USB 4 is compatible. So what kind of speed are we talking about? Like data transferring speeds of up to 2847MBs a second — in real world terms that is fast enough to handle anything being thrown at it, like 4K video, etc. wherever it happens to be. Oh and because OWC isn’t out to sell you another SX because the TBolt cable gets kinked or chewed (puppy), the cable connecting to the SX isn’t built-in but removable so as many backup TBolt cables as needed can be procured.


Size Is A Choice

Speaking of being built-in, this applies to how much storage the SX has to work with. Because whatever amount you buy it with is what you will have period. That doesn’t mean you can’t download from the SX to another drive, but if you want 240GB or 480GB or 1 Terabyte or 2, that’s what you have to get from the get-go. It ain’t fast food that you can supersize.

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The Envoy Pro SX Thunderbolt Bus-Powered Portable SSD is pretty tiny and makes some smartphones look clunky big in comparison. Plus the matt black aluminum chassis weighing in at about a 1/2 lb means it doesn’t add any real weight and certainly doesn’t cause the back to wrench out when lugging a backpack. That material also adds to its overall durability as well as the IPX67 water, dust and dropping resistance. A nice touch are the rubber feet to help it stay put when placed down. There’s also a LED to show that it’s working, but that was expected. For more details go to


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