Alxum Dual M.2 SSD Enclosure USB3.2 Gen 2 Review

Alxum Dual M.2 SSD Enclosure USB3.2 Gen 2 Review

Buy it at Amazon: Alxum Dual M.2 SSD Enclosure USB3.2 Gen 2 [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Convenient, decent speeds, offline cloning, but runs hots.

You’ll receive the drive enclosure, AC adapter, two aluminum heat sinks and silicone thermal pads, one 13-inch USB-C to USB-A and USB-C cable, an extra pair of rubber drive locks, and an instruction manual. The enclosure measures about 3""W x 5.5""L x 3/4""H. The unit weighs about 6 ounces. The body is made from a lightweight aluminum and it has a matte brushed metal, dark grey finish all around. On top there is the logo near the top and towards the bottom are the status LEDs.

Along the bottom face are the one-touch offline cloning button, USB-C power and data port, and AC power port. On the opposite side you’ll find an air flow vent and the locking tab for the drive bay. To open the unit, slide the tab to the unlock position, then push in on the bottom face, and it will eject slightly allowing you to remove the drive bay. The drive bay is made of plastic, and it can accommodate two m.2 form factor SSDs in slots labeled A and B. The flexible rubber drive locks will snap and lock onto the drive in place of a screw to hold them in place. There are two other holes in each bay so you can move the drive lock position to suit the size of the m.2 card that you are using. The middle hole is for 60mm drives; the shortest size is 42mm, and the longest is 80mm. You can install different size drives in the bays simultaneously without a problem.

I used this enclosure with the WD Black SN 850 NVMe 500 GB SSD and Intel 660P NVMe 1TB SSD. I installed the thermal pad and aluminum heat sink on both drives and using them doesn’t add a lot of thickness. If you plan on cloning the drives, be sure to install the source drive in slot A, the drive you’re copying from, and the destination drive in slot B, the drive you’re copying to. The drive bay only goes into the enclosure one way, so make sure to insert it into the aluminum housing arrow side first. Once clicked into the housing, slide the tab to the lock position to prevent accidental ejection. Both the AC adapter and USB cable should be used. Note that speeds may be impacted depending on whether or not the port is USB 3.2 Gen 1, Gen 2, or Gen 2x2.

When benchmarking the enclosure on USB3.2 Gen 2 ports, I was able to achieve around 1000 MB/s read and writes speeds, despite one drive being PCIe Gen 3x4 and the other being PCIe Gen 4x4, and that’s because the speeds are limited by the USB port’s 10 Gigabits per second max speed. That’s still plenty fast though and copying a 4 GB file from my internal NVMe to a drive in the Alxum housing took about 4 seconds at an average speed of 440MB/s; moving files in the other direction was about 50% faster, and transferring files between the drives was about 25% slower. When the drives are being accessed, the A and B lights will flash yellow to indicate operation.

One thing to note is that during operation the enclosure will be hot to the touch, generally between 125-130°F or about 50-52°C. While this is a perfectly fine operating temperature for an SSD, it is hot enough to burn you with prolonged contact, so be sure to set the drive in a spot that gets lots of ventilation and that you won’t accidently bump into it. There is cooling fan inside that runs constantly and it’s not very loud or noticeable at all, although occasionally, the fan will buzz for 15 or so seconds upon startup, operating normally.

For offline cloning, the unit does not have to be connected to a computer. Just press and hold the cloning button for 3 seconds, to copy the entire contents and structure of the drive in slot A to the drive in slot B. Note that the source drive in slot A must be equal in capacity or smaller than the destination drive. If drive B is smaller than A, the cloning procedure will not initiate. Be sure to bkackup any data on the destination drive you want to keep as it will be completely erased. When the enclosure is cloning a drive, the bottom 4 LEDs will flash indicating how far along the process it is. For me, cloning my 512 GB drive to the 1 TB drive, took over 6 hours, so I just let it run overnight. The LEDs will be a solid blue when cloning is complete.

When re-connecting after cloning, one of the drives will have to be marked ""online"" through Disk Management, due to the conflicting identical drive signatures. If your drive was encrypted, for example by BitLocker, you’ll have to provide a key in order to access the drive’s contents. Note that since the cloned drives will be identical, the key used to unlock them will be the same. I found that the cloning procedure worked great and I had an exact copy of the drive incluing partition size and file contents. If the capacity of the destination drive is larger than the source, any excess capacity will simply be left unallocated and won’t be accessible until you allocate it in Disk Management.

Overall, this drive enclosure works exactly as expected. It lets me access two m.2 NVMe SSDs at the same time with decent read and write speeds while also giving me the ability to clone one drive to another without needing to install them in a computer. I love that this enclosure is completely tool-less, from opening and removing the drive bay to installing the drives; you don’t need any screwdrivers so there are no tiny screws to lose. While it’s not compatible with SATA m.2 SSDs, and it does run a little hot to the touch, it’s not a problem for drive performance and even though the cloning process is slow, it eventually gets the job done. Most of the time the fan is whisper quiet, except the odd occasion when the enclosure is starting up.

Buy it at Amazon: Alxum Dual M.2 SSD Enclosure USB3.2 Gen 2 [Affiliate Link]

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