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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

FAST FLASH for Mac Pro Towers:
Sonnet Tempo PCIe SSD

Originally posted June 12th, 2015 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

The Sonnet Technologies Tempo PCIe SSD is a speedy Samsung SM951 on an M.2 PCIe board. The goal is to provide faster boot or scratch volumes for Mac Pro towers. In this article we compare it to three other ways users have typically sought to speed up internal storage in the past.


GRAPH LEGEND
Tempo PCIe = Sonnet Tempo PCIe SSD in PCIe slot 3 of 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower.
Tempo SP = Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro (Dual 850 EVOs) in PCIe slot 3 of 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower.
Velocity = Samsung 850 EVO 500G SSD on Apricorn Velocity Solo X2 PCIe board in PCIe slot 3 of 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower.
SSD in bay = Samsung 850 EVO 500G SSD in 3Gbps SATA drive bay of 'mid 2010' Mac Pro tower
Tempo TB2 = Sonnet Tempo PCIe SSD in Magma ExpressBox 3T to Thunderbolt 2 port of a 'late 2013' Mac Pro 'tube'
nMP internal = internal 512G (XP941) Flash Storage of a 'late 2013' Mac Pro 'tube'

RED graph bar means the fastest overall in Megabytes per Second.

LARGE SEQUENTIAL TRANSFER TEST
We used AJA System Test to test file level sequential transfer speed using a 16GB test document.

SMALL RANDOM TRANSFER TEST
We used a range of 4K to 1024K blocks in the Standard Random test in QuickBench as a predictor boot volume 'house keeping' performance and a simulation of an application that does multiple small random transfers.

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The Sonnet Technologies Tempo PCIe SSD matches the speed of the fastest single slot PCIe-based storage solutions we have tested to date. Even more to the point, as you can see from the graphs, with the Tempo PCIe SSD, your Mac Pro tower can sport a boot volume significantly faster than the 2013 Mac Pro tube's internal flash storage.

As for you 2013 Mac Pro owners, if you can get your hands on an Apple proprietary SM951 (like the one in the new MacBook Pros), your 'turbo tube' will match the speed of the Tempo PCIe SSD.

Though the Tempo PCIe SSD can be used either to boot OS X or as a blank scratch volume, be aware that there is no TRIM support recognition by OS X. This is true of all PCIe-based flash products unless the firmware provides OS independent TRIM support or equivalent. UPDATE: OS X El Capitan's 'trimforce' command enables TRIM on the Tempo PCIe SSD and other 'non-Apple' flash storage.

As with other SM951 based flash storage products, only PCIe slots 3 and 4 of the Mac Pro tower provide the transfer speeds published above. When installed in slot 2, the link speed dropped from 5.0GT/s to 2.5GT/s resulting in a maximum transfer speed of 790MB/s.

THUNDERBOLT TOO
We included results for the Tempo PCIe SSD installed in a Thunderbolt2-to-PCIe expansion chassis to demonstrate how it adds fast external flash storage to the 2013 Mac Pro (or any Mac with a Thunderbolt 2 port). Again, you can use it as a boot volume or scratch volume. Sonnet Technologies offers seven different Thunderbolt2-to-PCIe expansion chassis products.

BOTTOMLINE: The Tempo PCIe SSD is more good news for the Mac Pro tower owner wishing to extend its life by enhancing storage performance. And even if tower owners 'weaken' and switch to a 'non-tower' Mac, the Tempo PCIe SSD can come along for the ride as a Thunderbolt device.

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WHERE TO BUY THE TEMPO PCIE SSD
Order direct from the Sonnet Technologies Store or from B&H PhotoVideo.

Also check out their Thunderbolt 2 Expansion products compatible with the Tempo PCIe SSD.

OTHER SOURCES FOR SM951 based Flash Storage products
Contact
RamCity for pricing on the Samsung SM951 AHCI M.2 PCie 3.0 x4 80mm SSD. They also sell the Lycom M.2 PCIe SSD to PCIe x4 adapter. One time 5% off discount code: barefeats
(Expires 8/12/2015)

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copyright 2015 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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