Mini review of ORICO “USB 4.0” M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure

Orico USB 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure review

ORICO has sent me a sample of a USB 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure for review, which was timely as I did not have a fast USB storage option for testing. In this post, I’ll check out the hardware, show how to install an NVMe SSD, and test performance in UP Xtreme i11 mini PC since it happens to come with a USB4 port. ORICO USB 4.0 M.2 SSD enclosure specs and unboxing The exact model I received is the ORICO M234C3-U4 with a Rose Gold aluminum enclosure (107x50x17mm), supporting M.2 M-Key and B+M Key 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 SSDs (more on that later), and offering up to 40 Gbps through its USB 4.0 port. The device ships with a USB Type-C to USB Type-C/Type-A cable, a thermal pad, a heatsink, two screws, and a multilingual user manual. There’s only one USB Type-C port one the device. M.2 NVMe SSD […]

NanoPi R5S preview – Part 2: Ubuntu 20.04 (FriendlyCore)

I started the NanoPi R5S review with an unboxing, a teardown, a quick try of the pre-installed OpenWrt-based FriendlyWrt, and some iperf3 benchmarks on the 2.5GbE interfaces that were rather disappointing. I test further I switched to the Ubuntu 20.04-based FriendlyCore image since I’m more familiar with Debian-based operating systems, and some tools will not run on OpenWrt. Note the performance is still not quite optimal, and that’s why I call this a preview since numbers should improve in the next few months as more people tweak the software. OpenWrt optimizations? But feature jumping to Ubuntu, I gave an updated version of FriendlyWrt a give as FriendElec told me they had added some optimizations: We have made some optimizations on the new image, such as NIC interrupt settings, and offload support… So I downloaded “rk3568-eflasher-friendlywrt-20220526.img.gz” found on Google Drive, and flashed it to a microSD card with USBImager, and booted […]

Beelink GTi11 modding – PCIe Gen 4.0 M.2 slot, tweaking power limits, and eGPU

Previously I reviewed Beelink’s new GTi11 Intel Tiger Lake mini PC running Windows 11 and Ubuntu 20.04, so in this final part of the review, I’ll cover in more detail some of the features only briefly highlighted before. Specifically, I’m going to look at the PCIe Gen 4.0 M.2 slot, dabble in ‘overclocking’ and explore eGPU options. Hardware Recap The GTi11 is a 168 x 120 x 39mm (6.61 x 4.72 x 1.54 inches) actively cooled mini PC and the review model has an i5-1135G7 Intel Tiger Lake quad-core 8-thread 2.50 GHz Core processor boosting to 4.20 GHz with Intel’s Xe Graphics. The review model also included a 500GB M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe Gen 3.0 SSD drive with Windows 10 Pro installed, two sticks of 8GB DDR4 3200 MHz memory, a soldered WiFi 6 (or 802.11ax) Intel AX201 chip, and dual 2.5Gb Ethernet ports. Interestingly there are another two key […]

Using an eGPU with a mini PC

Mini PCs have grown in popularity in part due to their small form-factor offering low-powered basic computing with sufficient ports for connectivity. As such they are useful both in commercial settings such as digital signage as well as with consumers needing a small-footprint or VESA-mounted low-cost computer. However, one drawback is their limited graphical performance due to using CPUs with integrated graphics which results in the options for playing games being somewhat restricted and ‘AAA’ titles typically being unplayable. Lower-priced laptops often share the same drawback and one of the ways that users have addressed their graphical need is by utilizing an external GPU (eGPU) however the commercially available ones are both expensive and require connecting via a Thunderbolt 3 port. Unfortunately, not many Chinese-made mini PCs currently include a Thunderbolt 3 port however now that they have started to include M.2 NVMe ports this has created the possibility of […]

TerraPi modular case system for Raspberry Pi supports multiple SSD’s, DIN rail, horizontal & vertical mounts

We already have many cases for Raspberry Pi SBC’s. Besides the official one, we already have third-party enclosures such as a KKSB compact fanless metal case for Raspberry Pi 4, Argon One enclosure brings all ports from the SBC to the side, as well as a variant for M.2 SSD’s, and even DIN rail enclosures. But here are more options as INUX3D, a design studio and 3D printing facility based in Slovakia, decided to create its own 3D printed modular case system for Raspberry Pi. The TerraPi module enclosure system supports passive and active cooling, up to two 2.5-inch SSD’s or HDD’s, as well as horizontal or vertical mounting, and there’s also a DIN rail option. Apart from the fanless model targeting uniquely the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, all TerraPi enclosures also work with Raspberry Pi 3 B/B+ models and are especially suited for people wanting to use the board […]

MINIX Unveils USB-C Hub with 960GB SSD, 100W USB Charger

MINIX, the Hong Kong company, is well-known for its Android media hubs and Windows 10 mini PC‘s but in recent years they’ve started designing accessories for Windows & Mac computers and laptops. In the past, we’ve checked out MINIX NEO C Plus USB-C Adapter, an M.2 SSD card pre-loaded Windows 10 Pro for N42C-4 Mini PC, and another USB-C hub with integrated 120 or 240GB SSD. The company has now unveiled four new accessories with three USB-C hubs, including one with a 480GB or 960GB SSD, and one compact 100W USB charger using the latest Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology. This morning, I received two pairs of USB-C hubs with different colors and two 100W USB chargers. The model I did not get – MINIX NEO Storage Pro – is specifically made for Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with built-in SSD storage, HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz, […]

Intel Introduces Thunderbolt 4, Showcases MultiPort Thunderbolt 4 Docks

Intel has just introduced Thunderbolt 4 universal cable connectivity solution for data, video, and power with up to 40 Gbps bandwidth, and USB4 specification compliance. The new standard can support up to four Thunderbolt ports in docks and universal cables up to 2 meters in length. Compared to Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4 doubles the minimum video and data requirements leading to support for two 4K displays or one 8K display, and PCIe storage speeds up to 3,000 Mbps. It also enables PC charging on at least one computer port and allows you to wake your computer from sleep by touching the keyboard or mouse when connected to a Thunderbolt dock. It also adds mandatory Intel VT-d-based direct memory access (DMA) protection to helps prevent physical DMA attacks. The first processors to integrate Thunderbolt 4 will be “Tiger Lake” mobile processors, and the company also announced the Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 […]

NanoPi M4 SBC Metal Case Comes with an NVMe SSD Adapter and Cooling Fan

There are several single board computers that come with NVMe SSD either directly like on ODROID-H2 SBC or indirectly via an expansion board such as M2X extender board for Khadas VIM3.  But if you’d like an enclosure for your system it either further adds to the cost, or you need to develop the case yourself. If you’d like an SBC that takes an NVMe SSD in a fairly compact enclosure and at a affordable price (under $100 excluding the SSD),  NanoPi M4 metal case kit looks to be a good option and sells for $28 with SSD adapter and fan, or just $26 if you already own the SSD adapter. As a reminder, NanoPi M4 is a Rockchip RK3399 SBC that mostly follows Raspberry Pi form factor comes with 2GB or 4GB RAM with price starting at $50. See NanoPi M4 specifications for more details. One selling point of this […]