Silverstone Technology is a company that most know for it’s SFF CPU coolers and computer cases, but they also make power supplies and a variety of internal and external storage devices. This review will examine their SST-MS12, a NVMe-to-USB adapter which purports to support up to 2gb/second speeds.
Those who have followed my past reviews will recall that I have a habit of destroying devices like this with my torture tests. I was blacklisted by ACASIS after I reviewed their ACASIS CM073 USB Hub with NVMe, Ethernet, and HDMI on AdoredTV (site is down, sorry) and found that it – like many other subpar NVMe to USB devices – suffered from overheating controllers which eventually killed the unit. Other devices, such as those made by ORICO, also failed my testing. Only a few devices, like IcyDock’s ICYNano, passed my torture tests.
Before testing this unit, I warned Silverstone – “I would be interested in testing this, with the caution that when I test NVMe adapters I put them through very intense testing. This testing is designed to stress the adapter’s controller, and many NVME adapters fail these tests due to overheating.” They replied that they were very much aware of the overheating which plagued cheaper poorly built devices and had designed the SST-MS12 to be able to withstand hours of intensive stress testing.
The MS12 NVMe to USB adapter arrives in a small box which opens to reveal the device inside of the package and a few marketing points. Silverstone advertises the following features with this device:
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C interface up to 20Gbps SuperSpeed+ transfer rate
- Supports SSDs up to 80mm in size
- Supports BOT and UAS protocols, TRIM
- Supports NVMe Error Reporting & Recovering
- S.M.A.R.T drive monitors
- Compliant with PCI Express Base Specification Rev 3.1a and NVMe Express Base Specification Rev 1.3c
They also advertise that this unit will keep the temperatures of the drive relatively cool
Included with the Silverstone MS12 are the following:
- 1x NVMe to USB-C adapter
- USB-C Cord
- Extra screws
- Extra SSD mount
- Extra thermal pads
- Warranty Information Pamphlet
The unit and the screwdriver are protected by molded plastic
The enclosure itself is solid black and made of aluminum. There are groves on the bottom and top heatsinks as well as on the sides of the unit.
Using the included screwdriver allows you to remove the top screws, which allows the heatsink to seperate from the rest of the unit. There are three holes on the PCB for the SSD mount, allowing for installation of up to 80mm SSDs.
Taking out the PCB out of the unit and flipping it reveals the ASMedia ASM2364 controller.
Many NVMe-to-USB devices on the market include a thermal pad and heatsink for the SSD installed, but lack proper cooling for the controller. This results in units which overheat and/or fail as a result of moderate to strong workloads. Silverstone accounted for this in their design of the MS12, which has heatsinks and thermal pads on both sides of the PCB to insure that both the SSD and the device’s controller are properly cooled.
Most of my testing is focused on trying to cause the unit to overheat and fail, but I’ve run a few benchmarks to show the the performance of Silverstone’s MS12 NVMe to USB adapter. For both benchmarks and stress testing, I paired it with one of the best PCI-e 4.0 SSDs on the market – Kingston’s Fury Renegade 1GB.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 7700X|
|Motherboard||ASRock B650e Taichi|
|CPU Cooler||BeQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 4|
|Memory||32gb (16gb x 2) Micron DDR5-4800|
|SSD||Kingston Fury Renegade|
CrystalDiskMark 8.0 is a commonly used benchmark to quickly judge the performance of storage drives. The default profile shows more of a “best case” scenario for drives. In this scenario, it performs well – achieving speeds of over 2.1gb/s in sequential reads and over 2gb/sec in sequential writes.
CrystalDiskMark’s “real world” profile is – like the name indicates – more of a realistic benchmark scenario. The write speeds of over 1.7gb/s here are very good, showing the device is capable of handling near it’s theoretical 20gbps bandwidth. The read speeds aren’t quite as good, but they’ll still be sufficient for most uses. I’ve only tested one other high speed external device (which passed my tests), OWC’s Envoy Pro FX 480gb. While it showed superior read performance, it’s write performance was inferior to Silverstone’s MS12 NVMe adapter.
Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker is a popular game and a popular benchmark to test the performance of graphics. I like using this benchmark to test storage performance as it also records loading times. \
The reading performance in Final Fantasy shows Silverstone’s MS12 adapter sustaining 13.2 second loading times, trailing OWC’s Envoy Pro FX 480gb by two seconds. Given how much cheaper the MS12 is in comparison to OWC’s product, we can forgive the slightly slower loading times.
Consistency & Stress Testing
When I test devices like this, I have one goal in mind : causing it to overheat and fail. I know of a few workloads in particular which tend to stress the device’s controller, causing it to become very hot. When I start these test, most units will exhibit signs of failure within 15 minutes. The vast majority of them will show signs of problems within an hour. Only a very few units fully survive my tests without either failing during the tests and/or literally killing the device from overheating.
I also performed many file transfer tests to test the consistency of the unit’s performance over the course of an hour. Read performance remained uniform throughout the testing of the device. Write performance only suffered when the drive’s cache was filled, as to be expected with any modern SSD.
Thermal Dissipation and Cooling
I picked up the adapter to feel how hot the device was a few times during the course of testing. Usually you’ll feel a hotspot concentrated over the controller of a device of this nature, but I found that the heat was distributed uniformly throughout the shell of the adapter. It was very hot to the touch during these tests – you definitely wouldn’t want to hold it for more than a moment or two – but it never once overheated or failed as a result of the heat.
Most NVMe to USB adapters do not pass my stress tests, many units have died as a result of these tests. Silverstone’s MS12 NVMe to USB adapter passed my tests with flying colors. It’s design incorporates heatsinks and thermal pads on both sides of the PCB, resulting in effective heat dissipation that allows it’s performance to remain consistent even after extended use.
I’m awarding this the Silver Tier award for being one of the few NVMe-to-USB devices capable of withstanding my torture tests without failing. If you’re interested in a device like this, it’s currently available on Amazon.com for $69.99