Home-built USB SSD

The topic of external SSDs comes up a lot here. For anyone who is interested, I recently built one for myself.

The heat sink gets hot to the touch when under load, but the case dissipates enough heat to prevent thermal throttling. This weekend, I performed a torture test by compiling an embedded Linux distribution (generating a 1.4GB file system image). It took approximately 13 hours to complete. When pointing a fan at the drive (preventing it from heating up), it went only slightly faster (12:45, down from 13:15 - about 4%, well within the realm of experimental error).

Here’s the results of Crystal Disk Mark (run on a Windows PC):

Based on what I’ve seen from other NVMe-USB SSDs, this drive performs on a par with other drives for sequential 1M transfers, but falls a bit short for random 4K transfers. Which is about what I expected for a mid-tier inexpensive SSD.

And it’s more than an order of magnitude faster than the portable hard drive I had been using (which took over 24 hours to compile that same Linux distribution):