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This toy race car hides an external M.2 enclosure

SSD enclosure aluminum race carImage: JEYI ThunderRate

M.2 SSDs are amazingly fast and efficient. But if you haven’t built a desktop or upgraded a laptop recently, you might not know that they’re also freakin’ tiny. The 2280 standard, the largest among them, is just 80mm long (a hair over three inches). It makes the chunky hard drives of yesteryear look like bricks in comparison. One Chinese vendor has decided to use the tiny size of modern drives to have a little fun, building an enclosure that looks like — and in fact, works as — a toy car.

The sleek red build of the car hides a Realtek storage controller, with a standard M.2 SSD storage slot with PCIe 3.0 speeds on one side and a USB-C port on the other. That slotted metal body isn’t just for show, either: Since it appears to be a small chunk of aluminum, it should work to passively dissipate the heat of the drive when it’s plugged in. Just try to resist the urge to roll it along on those plastic wheels while you’re actually using it. It was first spotted by Fanless Tech.

It’s really easy to build an external SSD — you can do it in just a few minutes, pairing an enclosure with one of the best M.2 SSDs and a little bit of formatting in your OS of choice. But the end result is, well, a little plastic box, not a whole lot different from the USB flash drives we’ve all been using for the last couple of decades. This enclosure adds a little fun and flair to an otherwise dull product.

Unfortunately, its relatively low speed (bottlenecking a PCIe 4.0 or 5.0 drive quite a bit) isn’t the only downer. According to Tom’s Hardware, it’s only selling in some Chinese online stores at the moment, and for a rather hefty local equivalent of about $55 USD. Hopefully we’ll see someone import this design, or come up with some similarly whimsical enclosure ideas, in the near future.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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