Final Words

I really like the uniqueness of the Pegasus J2. Two 6Gbps mSATA drives in a well-built bus powered enclosure that gains additional performance when plugged into the wall is a great way to deliver the best of both worlds. Sequential IO performance, particularly on the read side is amazing. You can get the performance of a 6-drive Pegasus R6 in a fraction of the volume. The chassis is well built and the design is functional.

The big issues with the J2 are its capacity constraints and the Phison controllers used by the integrated SSDs. The former is really a limitation of current NAND die sizes. The best 2-bit MLC NAND shipping today still tops out at 8GB per die, with a maximum of 8 die in a package (64GB per package). It's only really possible to fit 4 NAND packages (256GB) on a standard mSATA board, which limits the J2 to a maximum capacity of 512GB. If that's all the space you need for an external work drive (e.g. as a video project drive for a rMBP or MacBook Air), then you'll be fine, but otherwise it can be an issue.

My other complaint has to do with the use of Phison controllers on the mSATA SSDs. I understand the appeal, but there are simply better options on the market. I'd much rather see something like the Micron C400 mSATA drive integrated into the J2.

The concept behind the J2 is neat and honestly makes a lot of sense. The right way to do this would be to integrate custom form factor SSDs into a tiny Thunderbolt enclosure (e.g. Zenbook Prime/MacBook Air form factor). A larger form factor would allow you to hit 512GB per drive (or more), while sticking with an internal RAID-0 would help take advantage of what Thunderbolt has to offer. You only really need two good 6Gbps SSDs to max out Thunderbolt after all.

Kudos to Promise on breaking the mold with the Pegasus J2, but I'd at least like to see better SSD controllers used inside.

Performance
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  • macuser2134 - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    Clearly the manufacturer wanted to make some high margins here. But until the industry as a whole can wake up to tackling the problem, its pointless. I honestly can't agree with Anand that custom form factor SSDs are the way to go. Just look at all the expense to the consumer with Apple ones. There is no competition there. It should be clear to everyone that we need a standardized form factor, not a custom one.

    Of course the SATA alliance gave us the mSATA form factor. Which would be absolutely perfect except its just prohibitively too short. Add merely 20-30mm of card length to mSATA and it can fit double the capacity (8 NAND packages instead of 4). Or extend again to have what is essentially a Macbook Air gumstick form factor. However with a standardized mSATA connector then it would be trivial to make a single card slot which can accept any of those 3 possible card lengths. So entirely backwards-compatible. You might call that an informal extension of the standard. If you will. But its entirely feasible and rational.

    Consumers need to have an open market like the 2.5" SSD market is today. Because the 2.5" form factor is no longer an ideal size for SSDs, as was designed for mechanical drives. Too wasteful of the space inside newer notebooks - really "ultrabooks". And perhaps short-sighted of Intel not to do anything about this in their "ultrabook" campaign. Until that problem is addressed we will continue to be offered a variety of sub-standard, not very cost effective, and not very upgradeable products just like this one.

    At the moment. For the price of these types of enclosure, most people would be better off buying a pair of 2.5" 512Gb SSDs and installing them into notebook w/optibay. Then RAID'ing the drives themselves (no difference to this thing). No messy bus power AC adaptor or expensive Thunderbolt interfaces required. Twice the capacity, better performance.
    Reply
  • Icehawk - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    I don't know why someone would say this is a good enclosure - first, the shape is terrible - how can I stack anything on top of it? Second, it looks downright huge in the photo on top of the R6 - with mSata this thing should be about the size of a 2.5" or maybe 3.5" drive. Third, it needs a fan? Oy. Make the darn thing all aluminum and have it act as a heatsink if it needs it. Reply
  • philipma1957 - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    I have owned and tested and run

    lacie little big disks

    promise pegasus

    sonnet t-bolt express card adapter

    seagate t-bolt adapter.

    to run a 2 drive 512gb raid0 it will need the external power. this kills it usefulness.

    also the i/o will not be faster. a fan is nuts. it will whine like a female dog.

    a 1 drive 256 gb msata with no fan and a good heatsink would have been the way to go.

    It could have been smaller then a 2.5 inch drive.

    since crucial sells the mSata 256gb ssd for about 225.

    you could have this for under 400.

    it is fully bootable and with mac you can bring it from machine to machine as its osx.

    both a good and bad idea good for connivence bad for security.

    right for my money a lacie little big disk is under 240 refurbished from a major mac seller. buy it pull the fan pull the two 500 gb drives sell the drives used on ebay for 85-110 brings your little big disk down to 135. put in 2x 512gb crucial m4's and a 1tb ssd for under 900 or use 2x 256gb ssds and a 512b ssd for under 500
    Reply
  • InspiredCarpet - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    How can something be "extremely unique"? It's either unique or it's not. You can't have differing scales of unique.

    Think binary: 1 = unique, 0 = not unique.
    Reply
  • dsumanik - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    Same way you can have "jumbo shrimp", believe michael jackson never touched a little boys PP, have a tiger for a house pet, or believe OJ's "if the glove doesn't fit, then you cant commit" defense.... its all so utterly stupid.........but you just gotta roll with it!

    *.evil grin*

    lol!
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    If the ASM1061 only has a PCIe 2.0 x1 connection, how does this device achieve sequential speeds in excess of 500 MB/s? Is there a second ASM1061 on the other side of the board? Reply
  • shunya901 - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

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  • phillyry - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    i think tb ssd's are a good idea and agree with anand re: the form factor and design.

    of course we'd all like to see the price lower but these things take time. new tech is always expensive. it's called the "either pay a hefty premium to be the first or wait a year or two" game.

    like he said, the idea is good. it'll just take a little time for the tech to mature. as a mba user, i could def see the utility in such a product for imovie projects but will personally be waiting until it's avail in 512gb and cheaper.

    good concept but just takes time.
    Reply
  • CalaverasGrande - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    Where are you seeing a price for this box that you guys "won't buy because of the insane price". Aren't you being premature?
    "Promise also isn't releasing any pricing information today, but rest assured that the Pegasus J2 will be expensive."

    I think I'll bite my tongue until actual prices are announced.
    Reply
  • philipma1957 - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    will I can build a 512gb lacie little big disk raid0 ssd for under 500.. 2x crucial 256gb ssds on sale for 180 each is 360. A refurbhshed lacie littleb big disk is 234. comes to 594. I sell the mechanical hdds on ebay for 100 and my cost is 494. if promise sells there 512gb unit for 494 I will eat my hat. By the way my ssds would have 3 year warranty so only part not warrantied is the little big disk which was under 140 in cost..

    I have 3 of these in use for months as osx for mac they are pretty much flawless.. They are also a security risk to any mac user that has thunderbolt as I can plug in and boot there computer and copy the hdd in there computer. BTW this portable boot box is the biggest reason thunderbolt is held back. Think about what you can do with it.
    Reply

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