Recently we have taken a long hard look at numerous pre-built external storage solutions and walked away impressed with how far USB-powered, NAND-based storage has come in the past few years. Some were extremely durable, others pretty, and some even combined both and then offered value as a cherry on top. One thing though that they all share in common is their lack of upgradeability. They are a ‘what you see is what you get’ type of deal in that if you later decide you need even more capacity you are expected to buy an entirely new unit. This is where M.2 to USB adapters enter the equation. Of all the various M.2 to USB 3.1 gen 2 adapters on the market a relatively lesser-known company is making waves in certain circles with two specific models. We are of course talking about Orico and their $36 TCM2, and $42 PVM2 NVMe to USB 3.1 gen 2 models.
If you ask a dozen experienced users for their opinions on NVMe to USB you will get a variety of answers on which specific adapter you should get; however, both of these models should be on the list. Their unique blend of aesthetics, performance, build material, and even price really does combine to create two of the better examples of value in this market niche.
Make no mistake, these are not ‘cheap’ adapters. Instead of cutting corners, these two devices offer a lot of features for their asking price. In fact, they both are JMicron JMS583 based adapters which can not only accommodate 30 to 80mm length M.2 devices, but are intended to be paired NVMe and not SATA based M.2 drives. This is why they can actually take full advantage of USB 3.1 gen 2’s bandwidth… and saturate the heck out of it. It is also why they come with multiple heat pads, heat spreaders, and even a copper infused PCB to help keep these hotter running M.2 devices within normal operating temperatures(ish).
While both share the exact same underlying hardware and technology, they radically differ in the aesthetics department. The TCM2 is made from clear Lexan with a colored aluminum heatsink which is focused more towards the Apple crowd – as it is both unique looking and highly attractive at the same time. Whereas the PVM2 is built from billet aluminum, and while it is very reminiscent of earlier LaCie devices in the aesthetics department its main focus is those who value durability and lowered M.2 drive temperatures over shear looks.
On the surface it really is hard to go wrong with either one, but as they are designed for slightly different markets this does translate into tangible, real world differences. Differences in the ease of installation, durability, even cooling abilities departments. So, while either will be a pretty good choice for just about any buyer, one will be a bit more optimal than the other. In this review we will go over the pros and cons of both, and show you exactly what the difference in performance NVMe to USB adapters have to offer over SATA to USB models. Then you can decide what option is best for your needs and budget.