Performance

I feel like the most common usage model for any Thunderbolt storage device is for accessing large files that would benefit from high speed sequential IO (e.g. movies, photos, music). For those use cases, even the big hard drive based Thunderbolt enclosures perform fine if you just throw enough drives at the problem. While mechanical storage can hardly deal with heavy random IO, sequential speeds are still acceptable - especially in a multi-drive RAID setup. With 6Gbps SSDs however, it only takes a couple to deliver outstanding sequential IO performance. Despite the Pegasus J2's diminutive size, it delivers sequential IO performance that rivals the Pegasus R6:

128KB Sequential Read

Sequential read speed is a strong suit of the J2. When running on external power the J2 is even faster than the 12TB R6 at nearly 800MB/s. Even on bus power the J2 is among the fastest Thunderbolt enclosures we've ever tested, and you can fit it in your pocket.

128KB Sequential Write

Write performance isn't as solid, which is unfortunately due to the Phison controllers. The J2 is still fast here but the R6 is faster, and some of the hard drive based solutions get close when running on bus power alone.

QuickBench echoes what Iometer tells us about sequential IO performance on the Pegasus J2:

We see the same drop when we go to bus power on the J2:

4KB Random Read (QD=16)

Random read performance is pretty good on the J2, although LaCie's SSD based Little Big Disk manages better performance thanks to its use of Intel SSD 320s. There's no competition from the hard drive based enclosures.

The real problem is random write performance:

4KB Random Write (QD=16, 8GB LBA Space)

I actually had to stop the random write test early because performance got too erratic. Under heavy random writes the Phison controllers easily drop into the 200 - 400KB/s range. It's bad. The other problem is if you're writing anything but sequential files to the drive, you'll see a reduction in performance over time. The Phison controllers seem to do an ok job of recovering performance after sequential write passes, which is good given that there's no native TRIM support for the drive under OS X.

TRIM enabler will work on the drive however, and at least pass TRIM through if you format the individual RAID slices. It's unclear to me whether or not Apple's software RAID-0 will pass TRIM through to an array.

Introduction & Chassis Final Words
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  • nealibob - Sunday, September 02, 2012 - link

    I'll take an empty one for $100 Reply
  • ammar.m - Sunday, September 02, 2012 - link

    it's ridiculous how insane the prices on all these thunderbolt drives are. why can't they make a regular 320GB/500GB external drive using thunderbolt and give us blazing speeds for 150$? because if they can't do that then this technology is next to useless. Show me how many people would prefer to purchase a 8TB drive over a regular 500GB one

    A macbook(where thunderbolt is commonly found) is a consumer based laptop, NOT something you'd expect a budding business to purchase for its employees. so why do drives that cost more than the freakin laptop itself continue to popup? who buys these? I would love to see some sales figures on this.
    Reply
  • Zak - Sunday, September 02, 2012 - link

    The prices indeed need to come down or TB will be a failure. But I hope this won't be another FireWire 800 since Intel is behind this. Once the interface is on every OEM PC and every mobo the tech ought to become affordable. Reply
  • dsumanik - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    Fail Fail Fail

    Fail 1: Two Cables

    Intel created thunderbolt to provide a high bandwidth link for display, peripherals, and storage on a single cable. Why create a product which defeats the intended design spec to begin with? Management should have caught this one, its simply a facepalm, find a SSD that can work in the power envelope and design a passive chassis that doesnt require a fan?

    Fail 2: Crap controller in a shiny box.

    Two junk SSD in raid 0. What could possibly go wrong?

    Nuff Said.

    Fail 3 : Unseemly, greedy and outrageous price markup.

    Yet another company trying to cash in on the Apple design mentality, make it metal, shiny and well constructed...fill it with the same generic parts as everyone else and then up the price tag 250%.\

    Where The *uck is my plain jane, sub 50$ empty and BUS powered external aluminum TB chassis.

    Please, nobody buy this...teach them a costly lesson.
    Reply
  • inplainview - Sunday, September 02, 2012 - link

    I can afford it easily but I won't. The price is crazy, Reply
  • jwcalla - Sunday, September 02, 2012 - link

    Throw me in the ring as a bit of a doubter myself. If it's going to be pushed as primarily an interface for peripherals, I have to say "meh" for now, considering the cost. Just use eSATA for something like external disks.

    Give me something like 10 GbE over TB, and my ears perk up. That seems like something of value. I don't think we'll see Intel go there though.

    The whole spec seems kinda proprietary and locked down.
    Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    Agreed, Intel/Apple's decisions are going to either kill this standard or relegate it to a firewire niche. Their decision to restrict to Apple use only for the 1st year along with their stupid nanny policy of 'You have to certify with us first before we'll let you release it' have really slowed adoption down. Latest dumb move is when they didn't allow mobo manufacturers to devise a discrete GPU thunderbolt pass-through interface. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    what's ridiculous is all the retired baby boomers blowing their social security income and pensions on this overpriced tech to match their overpriced apple crap Reply
  • tech6 - Sunday, September 02, 2012 - link

    The problem with the J2 is that a normal SSD for less than $1/Gb is plenty fast enough for even the most I/O intensive work. The marginal value of this Thunderbolt/RAID-0 setup is questionable - particularly if is comes in at $3/Gb. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, September 02, 2012 - link

    "Two are beneath two of the rubber feat"

    Pesky spellcheck!
    Reply

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