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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

The Battle of Bus-Powered Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Storage

February 21st, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
February 22nd - Added Thermal Throttling Graph
and OWC Envoy Pro EX (VE) info

Who doesn't like bus-powered storage? No need to find an AC outlet. No power brick to lug around. Small and light when you travel. But traditionally, bus-powered Thunderbolt drives were slower than AC powered Thunderbolt drives. Not any more.


GRAPH LEGEND
T
ekQ Rapide - TekQ Thunderbolt 3 SSD Rapide PCIe Flash Drive (tested 480G; available up to 960GB).
Sonnet
Fusion - Sonnet Technologies Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive 1TB

LARGE SEQUENTIAL
We used AJA System Test to benchmark file level sequential transfer speed using a 16GB test file.
HIGHER number in megabytes per second = FASTER

small random
Quickbench includes a small random transfer test with file sizes from 4KBytes to 1024KBytes.
HIGHER number in megabytes per second = FASTER

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The latest bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 storage options that use PCie based flash record impressive performance numbers.

The sequential write graph above was a quick snapshot. When we followed up with a 10 minute large sequential read/write test, the Rapide's write speed dropped drastically at the 6 min mark as you can see from this graph:

The Phison PCIe flash blade appears to be the culprit in the Rapide's thermal throttling because when we replaced it with a Samsung SM951 AHCI PCIe flash blade, there was no drop on write speed during the 10 minute test.

The TekQ TB3 Rapide does give the Sonnet Fusion competition in terms of size and weight. Plus, you can easily replace the flash blade with one of your choosing.

We measured the Fusion at 4.1 x 2.8 x 1.25 inches while the Rapide measured 3.75 x 2.13 x .5 inches. Weight without cable? Fusion weighs 10.8 versus the Rapide's 4.5 ounces (311 versus 131 grams).

ADDENDUM: A third bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 flash storage device to consider is the OWC Envoy Pro EX (VE) which is available in 1TB and 2TB capaciity with read speeds up to 2600MB/s. Dimensions are 5.6 x 2.6 x .8 inches. Weight is 10.6 ounces (300 grams). We hope to review this product soon.

ONE MORE THING: Consider the possibility of a pair of bus-powered PCIe-based flash drives striped across two Thunderbolt 3 controllers. On an iMac Pro, that setup produced 4791 MB/s sequential READ with dual Fusion TB3 Bus-Powered PCIe-based Flash drives!

Feedback or comments? Feel free to email me,
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WHERE TO BUY THE OWC ENVOY PRO EX AND EX (VE)
The OWC Envoy Pro EX (VE) with max read speed of 2600MB/s can be purchased directly from OWC in 1TB and 2TB version. The Envoy Pro EX (max read speed of 1800MB/s) is available in 250G and 1TB versions.

WHERE TO BUY THE SONNET FUSION TB3 PCIE FLASH DRIVE
Order from the Sonnet Online Store. B&H Photo Video also carries the Sonnet Fusion.

WHERE TO BUY THE TEKQ RAPIDE TB3 PCIE FLASH DRIVE
TekQ is doing a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo. Estimated first deliveries in April 2018.

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copyright 2018 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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