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Thunderbolt 3 Bus-Powered Flash External Storage Update

October 23rd, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
October 25th, Updated pricing on TekQ Rapide

A popular accessory for the MacBook Pro is fast, external, bus-powered storage devices useful for backup, archiving, and/or "sneaker" net. Two new Thunderbolt 3 bus-powered products entered the fray: Samsung X5 and G-Driv mobile Pro. Let's see how they compare to the competition.


(Image of the Samsung X5)

GRAPH LEGEND
Envoy Pro EX (VE) - OWC Envoy Pro EX (VE) bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 1TB PCIe flash Drive
Samsung X5 - Samsung X5 Portable bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 1TB PCIe flash Drive
G-Drive mobile Pro - G-Technology G-Drive mobile Pro bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 1TB PCIe flash Drive
Rapide Phison E12 - TekQ Thunderbolt 3 SSD Rapide PCIe Flash Drive (Phison E12 480G)
Rapide 970 Pro - TekQ Thunderbolt 3 SSD Rapide PCIe Flash Drive (Samsung 970 Pro 512G)
Plugable TB3 SSD - Plugable TBT3-NVME480 NVMe Thunderbolt 3 480GB PCIe flash Drive
Fusion TB3 - Sonnet Technologies Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash 1TB Drive

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 = FASTEST

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The large sequential READ speed of these Thunderbolt 3 bus-powered flash drives rivals that of the 2018 MacBook Pro. However, the large sequential WRITE speed is slower -- and varies wildly from product to product.

The newest drives, the Samsung X5 and G-Drive Mobile Pro, are advertised as "Up to 2800 MB/s Sequential Read." The best average we measured was 2648 MB/s. The best peak speed was 2672 MB/s. (NOTE: Those numbers were using a .5 meter TB3 cable. When we used a 2 meter cable, the maximum reached was a slower 2533 MB/s.)

The G-Drive Mobile Pro disappointed us when it exhibited thermal throttling of write speed even in our 6 second test using AJA System Test. As you can see from the image below, it would start has high as 2453MB/s and drop to 1400MB/s after 2 seconds and briefly dipped as low as 500MB/s. In a 20 second run, it stabilized at 1400MB/s so we published that number in our graph.

Samsung X5 Portable NVMe SSD. Size: 4.7 x 2.4 x .8 inches. Weight: 5.3 oz; MSRP for 1TB = 699USD.

G-Technology G-Drive mobile Pro SSD - Size: 4.41 x 3.15 x .67 inches. Weight: 7.1 oz; MSRP for 1TB = 700 USD

OWC Envoy Pro EX (VE) features a Samsung 960 Pro NVMe PCIe flash blade - Size: 5.6 x 2.5 x .8 inches; Weight: 8.5 oz; MSRP for 1TB = 699 USD.

TekQ Thunderbolt 3 SSD Rapide PCIe Flash Drive (Phison E12 controller) - Size is 3.75 x 2.12 x .5 inches; Weight: 4.5 oz. Updated pricing: 960GB = 430 USD, 480GB = 287 USD, 240G = 205.

Plugable TBT3-NVME480 480GB external NVMe SSD - Size: 2.5 x 4.25 x .5 inches; Weight: 6 oz; MSRP 435 USD.

The Sonnet Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive - Size: 4.1 x 2.8 x 1.25 inches. Weight: 11.5 ounces. MSRP 799 USD for 1TB.

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WHERE TO BUY THE SAMSUNG X5 PORTABLE SSD
It is in stock at B&H Photo Video in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities.

WHERE TO BUY THE G-TECHNOLOGY G-DRIVE MOBILE PRO
It is in stock at B&H Photo Video in 500GB and 1TB capacities.

WHERE TO BUY THE OWC ENVOY PRO EX (VE)
Order direct from Other World Computing (MacSales.com) or from B&H Photo Video in capacities from 1TB to 2TB.

WHERE TO BUY THE TEKQ RAPIDE
The updated version with the NEW
Phison E12 TLC flash blade is sold on Amazon. If it shows as 'unavailable,' it means 'temporarily out of stock.' If you don't want to wait, contact Alister Chen (alister@tekq.com) at the factory in Taiwan.

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

WHERE TO BUY THE PLUGABLE TB3 NVME SSD
Order direct from the Plugable website
(480GB is only capacity)

WHERE TO BUY THE SAMSUNG 970 PRO NVME FLASH BLADE
Order from B&H Photo Video.

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