Orico ClearLink M.2 DIY 2TB Portable SSD Review: Competent DIY SSD Solution for Home or Office

Orico ClearLink SSD SSD Review – Some Assembly Required.

Orico ClearLink M.2 DIY 2TB Portable SSD

3.5/5 Buy on Amazon

Everyone needs more digital storage these days, especially given that file sizes continue to grow and Let's start with the fact that companies are shipping devices in criminally low quantities. Orico's ClearLink M.2 2TB DIY Portable SSD is an SSD-case duo solution that provides good, but not great, bang for your buck.

The Orico ClearLink DIY 2TB SSD has a sleek and portable design and provides enough storage for just about anyone, from photographers to screenwriters. It has fast enough transfer speeds for large files, but USB-C support may be limited for the most extreme users, and the clear plastic body is vulnerable to scratches, making it more suitable for home or office use.

The Orico ClearLink DIY 2TB SSD is a two-piece SSD with a housing sold separately from the J-10 SSD or as a bundle, like the device we tested. A separate enclosure allows you to replace NVMe drives as needed or take advantage of higher data transfer rates.

Orico ClearLink SSD Review – Placing the Drive in the Chassis.

First, we unboxed the SSD – Orico J-10 PCIe 3.0 2TB NVMe M.2 SSD that can be installed in a variety of machines, including PCs in Tower case. In our case, we paired it with Orico's ClearLink M.2 SSD, which is tool-free and supports USB-C.

In the box, the J-10 comes with a pair of heatsinks and metal plates for a variety of possible configurations. For our testing, we only used one of each type, as there is only enough room in the case for one.

We appreciate the multiple radiators and ease of installation. The J-10's drive circuitry is also polished and won't scratch or fade, and the materials appear high-quality, giving us a positive first impression.

The case also comes with heatsinks, giving us some extra headroom just in case. It also features a short 12-inch USB-C cable with an aluminum plug body and a cord gauge that's thicker than our MacBook Pro's charging cable.

Orico ClearLink SSD review – small enough for portable use.

The part of the case that houses the electronics is made of aluminum, and the rest of the case is made of made of transparent plastic, reminiscent of the late 90s – early 2000s. While we like the look, especially the glowing LED lights, the casing is prone to scratches, especially during portable use.

There's nothing fancy with the Orico ClearLink DIY Portable SSD, as it has very few parts, no buttons or dials, and a single port for connecting the drive to devices. It has a sleek form factor and takes up less space than even compact USB-C docking stations.

First impressions are promising, even if the case has some scuffs.

Orico 2TB Portable SSD

The Orico 2TB DIY Portable SSD features a clear, tool-free design. Buy on Amazon

Separating the Orico ClearLink M.2 SSD case is not difficult, It is enough to move its upper half at a distance from the rest of the body. Then, to install the J-10 drive, align the pins on the connector, insert the drive into the port, and secure it with the rubber pin.

Orico ClearLink SSD review – essential tools and know-how.

The J-10 SSD features an M-key interface, and the chassis also supports SATA drives with a B+M key, allowing for SSD capacities up to 4TB. After installing the drive, the upper half returns into place with a decent click.

Although the ClearLink M.2's tool-less design promises easy installation, there is some play between the two parts of the case from side to side and top to bottom. Separating the components isn't harmful for home or office use, but it does mean the ClearLink DIY 2TB SSD isn't as reliable as reliable alternatives.

Connecting the ClearLink SSD to our MacBook Pro was also a direct connection to the USB-C port, with no adapter or anything in between. However, with any new external hard drive, we had to format it in order for it to work properly with our computer.

Luckily, the macOS software makes formatting easy and even helps you set it up as a Time Machine backup drive if you plan to use a ClearLink SSD for that purpose. Once formatted, we were pleasantly surprised by the available capacity of 2.05TB, whereas other drives we use often have smaller capacities.

Although Orico has other Thunderbolt-enabled drives, this particular model, ClearLink case M.2, rated as USB-C 3.2 only with transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps. However, this DIY enclosure sells for a much better price per TB than off-the-shelf external drives.

Indeed, Orico cases only cost around $15-$25, and a 2TB drive sells for around $100. In fact, unless you're future-proofing your setup or building a reliable backup system, spending a fortune on a Thunderbolt 4 drive doesn't make sense, since USB-C 3.2 speeds are usually sufficient for most users.

Review of the Orico ClearLink SSD – compact and convenient on the desk.

In practice, we use a MacBook Pro M1, which has five to ten applications open at the same time . We do not have special equipment or conditions — Essentially, we work in everyday conditions.

Using the Orico ClearLink DIY 2TB SSD in such circumstances yields positive results. For example, we were able to transfer a 9.58GB file containing over 600 RAW and JPEG images in just 18 seconds, demonstrating the potential time savings when editing photos and videos.

By comparison, transferring the same file between a high-speed SD card and a MacBook Pro took almost four minutes. Likewise, the transfer took almost six minutes when using an external hard drive.

Naturally, we needed to get more accurate speed measurements, so we downloaded the Black Magic drive speed test app. Using a maximum load of 5GB, we got a 2TB Orico ClearLink DIY SSD with average read speeds of 837MB/s and write speeds of 807MB/s.

Orico ClearLink SSD review – speed tests show decent real-world numbers.

Compared to the aforementioned SD card, which couldn't even provide 100MB/s, the Orico SSD was leaps and bounds faster. Not to mention, our MacBook's internal SSD isn't far behind, with read speeds of just over 2,900 MB/s and 1,600 MB/s write.

These results were obtained using real world conditions and your results may vary depending on a number of factors. These factors include your computer's processor, the remaining space on your SSD and internal drives, the types of files you're transferring, and even the temperature of your workstation.

Orico 2TB ClearLink DIY SSD The TB has a slim and low-profile design, making it portable enough to take to the office, library or home. It offers fast data transfer speeds, especially when compared to other storage options such as SD cards or hard drives.

The Orico ClearLink 2TB DIY SSD is easy to assemble and doesn't require any tools or special knowledge. Likewise, pairing it with a MacBook Pro for the first time was a breeze, and we unlocked over 2TB of storage.

Although the Orico ClearLink DIY SSD is a portable solution, it is less reliable than other external storage devices because it is based on removable components. The plastic casing can also get scratched, ruining the cool retro design.

Overall, the Orico ClearLink DIY 2TB SSD does what it promises, but we recommend using it at home or in the office to protect it from damage. The DIY nature leads to vulnerabilities that can lead to damage if you choose to transport it too often.

  • Sleek design for easy transportation.
  • Fast real data transfer speed.
  • Easy installation without tools.
  • The plastic case is susceptible to scratches and abrasions.
  • The case has some play between the halves.
  • Competes with more durable alternatives.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Readers looking to purchase the Orico ClearLink DIY 2TB SSD and tool-free enclosure can find the kit on sale on Amazon for $139.99. At the time of publication, customers can receive a 10% discount by using code 88L9H7Z5 during checkout.

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