Has Bare Feats helped you? How about donating to Bare Feats?


BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Other World Computing
Thunderbolt 3 flash storage

April 10th, 2018, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Multiple Macs with multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports inspired some interesting and useful Thunderbolt 3 storage solutions. In this posting we highlight some creative options from Other World Computing.


(Image of Envoy Pro EX (VE) courtesy of OWC)

GRAPH LEGEND
iMac Pro Internal - 2017 iMac Pro 8-Core internal PCIe-based flash storage 1TB
ThunderBlade - OWC ThunderBlade 4TB Thunderbolt 3 PCIe-based Flash RAID Drive
Envoy Pro EX (VE) - OWC Envoy EX (VE) 1TB bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 PCIe-based flash Drive
Aura Pro X > Helios 3
- OwC Aura Pro X 1TB PCIe-based flash blade with Apple proprietary connector mounted on x4 PCIe Apple blade carrier board and installed in the Mercury Helios Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion chassis.

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

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


(Image of OWC ThunderBlade courtesy of OWC)

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
Other World Computing has been busy producing some useful Thunderbolt 3 storage options for the newest iMacs and MacBook Pros.

We already introduced the ThunderBlade in an earlier article where we striped two of them to get up to 4400MB/s. As a RAID storage with four flash blades, it understandably requires a power brick. Fast, rugged, and available in up to 8TB total capacity, it passed our 10 minute thermal throttling test with flying colors. With speedy READ and WRITE speeds, it is a great auxiliary storage option for your iMac 5K or iMac Pro.

If you prefer smaller, lighter, bus-powered storage, the Envoy Pro EX (VE) is available in capacities up to 2TB. Its 2664MB/s large sequential READ speed is as good as it gets for a single Thunderbolt 3 port. The large sequential WRITE speed was slower than we hoped, but is typical of what we are seeing when Samsung 960 Pro NVME blades are used in a Thunderbolt 3 storage device. It also passed our thermal throttling test with flying colors. It should be considered a serious portable TB3 storage option for your MacBook Pro.

The Aura Pro X Flash Blade was designed as an upgrade for your 2013 Mac Pro's storage and certain other Macs with removable flash storage modules. As you know, Apple blades do NOT have M.2 connectors. They have a proprietary connector.

We happened to have a PCIe carrier board with an Apple compatible proprietary connector. So we mounted the 1TB Aura Pro X and installed it in the OWC Mercury Helios 3 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion chassis. If you use the Aura Pro X to upgrade your 2013 Mac Pro's storage, you could always use the 'old' Apple compatible flash blade with the Mercury Helios 3 setup.

In this application, the Aura Pro X exhibited a slight drop in transfer speed during our 10 minute thermal throttling test. Sequential READ dropped to 1167MB/s and sequential WRITE dropped to 792MB/s. Rather than thermal throttling, the drop in speed had to do with the SLC mode buffer overflowing and starting to write in MLC mode. Normally it has time to do housekeeping and you donŐt see this slowdown.

(OWC Aura Pro X blade on PCIe carrier board with Apple proprietary connector)

(OWC Mercury Helios 3 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion chassis)

Feedback or comments? Feel free to email me,
Also, you
can follow me on
Twitter @barefeats

WHERE TO BUY THE OWC THUNDERBLADE
Order in capacities from 1TB to 8TB direct from Other World Computing (MacSales.com) or from B&H Photo Video.

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

WHERE TO BUY THE AURA PRO X
Order in capacities up to 2TB direct from Other World Computing (MacSales.com) or from B&H Photo Video.

WHERE TO BUY THUNDERBOLT 3 EXPANSION BOXES
Other World Computing has the
Mercury Helios 3 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Expansion Chassis. You also can order it from B&H Photo Video.

AKiTiO has the Node Lite Thunderbolt 3 expander box that is fully compatible with Mac. Order direct from AKiTiO or from B&H Photo Video.

SHOP FOR MACS at APPLE STORE USA
Help support Bare Feats by clicking our Apple display ads or THIS Apple USA link when ordering any Apple product or Apple compatible product. Check out Apple Certified Refurbished products with same warranty as new.

Live outside the USA? No problem. We are also an affiliate of these Apple Stores:

Has Bare Feats helped you? How about helping Bare Feats?

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