Synthetic Benchmarks

Various synthetic benchmarks are available to quickly evaluate the performance of direct-attached storage devices. Real-world performance testing often has to be a customized test. We present both varieties in this review, starting with the synthetic benchmarks in this section. Prior to covering those, we have a quick look at our testbed setup and testing methodology.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

Evaluation of DAS units on Windows is done with the testbed outlined in the table below. For devices with a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C interface (such as the TEKQ Rapide that we are considering today), we utilize the Thunderbolt 3 port enabled by the Intel Alpine Ridge controller. It connects to the Z170 PCH via a PCIe 3.0 x4 link.

AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH ATX
CPU Intel Core i5-6600K
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 4 F4-2133C15-8GRR
32 GB ( 4x 8GB)
DDR4-2133 @ 15-15-15-35
OS Drive Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 NVMe 256 GB
SATA Devices Corsair Neutron XT SSD 480 GB
Intel SSD 730 Series 480 GB
Add-on Card None
Chassis Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
PSU Cooler Master V750 750 W
OS Windows 10 Pro x64
Thanks to Cooler Master, GIGABYTE, G.Skill and Intel for the build components

The full details of the reasoning behind choosing the above build components can be found here. The list of DAS units used for comparison purposes is provided below. Not all benchmarks are available for all units, as our testing has evolved over the years, and more than three years have passed since the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt and the d2 Thunderbolt 2 - SSD were evaluated. It must also be kept in mind that those two devices were evaluated using the Thunderbolt 2 port from our Z97-based Haswell testbed.

  • TEKQ Rapide Thunderbolt 3 SSD 240GB (exFAT)
  • TEKQ Rapide Thunderbolt 3 SSD 240GB (NTFS)
  • LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt 500GB
  • LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2 - SSD 128GB

Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO and Crystal DiskMark

TEKQ claims read and write speeds of 2700 MBps and 1500 MBps respectively, and these are backed up by the ATTO benchmarks provided below. Unfortunately, these access traces are not very common in real-life scenarios.

Drive Performance Benchmarks - ATTO

CrystalDiskMark, despite being a canned benchmark, provides a better estimate of the performance range with a selected set of numbers. As evident from the screenshot below, the performance can dip to as low as 46 MBps for low queue-depth random accesses.

Drive Performance Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark
Introduction and Product Impressions AnandTech DAS Suite and Performance Consistency
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  • repoman27 - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    “The only current alternative to the TEKQ Rapide in its price range is the OWC Envoy Pro EX / EX(VE).”

    What about the Sonnet Fusion Thunderbolt 3? Only available in 1TB, but pretty comparable.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    Yes, I am aware of the Sonnet Fusion. However, it is definitely not a mainstream market product (as you can guess from the only available capacity point). I would say $300 is the sweet-spot for a high-end portable SSD that still caters to the mainstream market. Reply
  • Vidmo - Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - link

    You can just ignore this Thunderbolt device in you use Windows Server, Intel does not allow Thunderbolt support on Windows Server: https://communities.intel.com/thread/113299 Reply
  • timbotim - Thursday, February 22, 2018 - link

    It would be really nice if there was a commercially available box for using NVMe SSDs (preferably in pairs) externally over PCIe 'cable', along with a PCIe adapter such that you could connect internal PCIe to an expansion slot bracket for the aforementioned PCIe 'cable'. I've had to create a piece of home-brew kit to do this but it's not pretty. All the pieces of the technology are COTS, I'm surprised someone like Startech hasn't done this. Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, February 22, 2018 - link

    So...e-NVMe basically? Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, February 22, 2018 - link

    If such a thing existed that is. We ended up with e-SATA so I guess other options will come along in time. Reply
  • GPUnut - Thursday, February 22, 2018 - link

    Your 6 minute Thermal Test was interesting. I ran a 10 minute cycling sequential read/write using AJA System Test (16G test size, 4K frame size). The write speed of the Rapide dropped from 1200MB/s to 300MB/s at the 6 minute mark and never recovered. The Sonnet Fusion TB3 maintained a steady 1100MB/s during the full 10 minute test. Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, February 23, 2018 - link

    Interesting - but, have you considered that in 10 minutes - you have probably written more than the capacity of the drive itself ? The 6 minute test that I did accesses around 240 GB of data - equivalent to the capacity of the drive - anything more than that is not realistic.

    Btw, the drop in the write speed is probably not due to thermals, but, the nature of the Phison SSD itself. I am willing to bet that if we use the same SSD inside as the Sonnet Fusion, the perf will be similar.
    Reply
  • GPUnut - Saturday, February 24, 2018 - link

    I was testing the 512G version. You are correct about the Phison. I replaced it with a 512G Samsung SM951. No drop in write speed during 10m test. Reply
  • s.yu - Sunday, March 04, 2018 - link

    I wonder where I'd get a single slot 3.5" enclosure with support for up to at least 12TB, right now it's hard to expand the storage of my laptop setup as my old case only supports 4TB. Reply

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