WICKED FAST: Magma ExpressBox 3T
Thunderbolt 2.0 + Fast Flash Cards
Originally posted Monday, June 16th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
The Magma ExpressBox 3T PCIe Expansion Box has been upgraded to Thunderbolt 2.0. We ran some benchmarks using flash storage PCIe cards to measure the maximum real world throughput.
XP941*2 TB2 = Two Samsung XP941 blades on two separate Lycom DT-120 PCie x4 adapters in a RAID 0 set and installed in the ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt 2.0.
XP941 TB2 = One Samsung XP941 blade on one Lycom DT-120 PCie x4 adapter and installed in the ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt 2.0.
Accelsior_E2*2 TB2 = Two OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2s in RAID 0 set and installed in the ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt 2.0.
Accelsior_E2*2 TB1 = Two OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2s in RAID 0 set and installed in the ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt 1.0.
Accelsior_E2 TB2 = One OWC Mercury Accelsior_E2 installed in the ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt 2.0.
The 2013 Mac Pro 8-Core was the test mule.
SIMULATED 4K VIDEO CAPTURE and PLAYBACK
We used AJA System Test to test file level sequential transfer speed of a 16GB test document. It also simulates capture and playback of a 4096x2160 10-bit RGB video. (HIGHEST number means FASTEST in Megabytes per Second.)
Even though two 512G Samsung XP941s in a RAID 0 set are capable of an aggregate speed of 2231MB/s, the Magma ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt 2.0 connected to a single Thunderbolt 2.0 port (single bus) topped out at 1346MB/s. We saw the same limitation when we connected one LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2.0 (with dual XP941s) to one Thunderbolt 2.0 port.
Maybe 1345+MB/s is fast enough for your needs. But if you need faster transfer speeds, the only way to get external Thunderbolt 2.0 storage devices to go faster is to bridge multiple Thunderbolt 2.0 busses on the 2013 Mac Pro. We demonstrated that strategy in the LaCie LBD TB2 article. You can do the same thing with multiple ExpressBox 3Ts, but if you are only using half-length flash storage cards, a less expensive expansion box is the OWC Helios 2 Thunderbolt 2.0.
You may have noticed we included the results for dual OWC Accelsior_E2s striped (RAID 0) in both the ExpressBox 3T Thunderbolt 1.0 and 2.0. The real world transfer speed of Thunderbolt 2.0 is not twice that of Thunderbolt 1.0.
The main advantage of the Magma ExpressBox 3T over less PCIe expensive expansion boxes is the ability to support three full-length PCIe cards and the inclusion of auxiliary power connectors for cards that require more than bus power.
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