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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  • Vatharian - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    I'd actually love to buy enclosure by itself. USB 3.0 to M.2 AHCI adapters are widely available in rather funny prices, while for obvious reasons USB to NVMe are not available at all.

    This would not only give me very fast attachable storage, but also fool proof way to backup/restore NVMe drives without need to shutdown PC every time.
  • MajGenRelativity - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    That's my idea too
  • ZeDestructor - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    I'll second that motion, and also put in a request for a U.2 version of the same.

    ...I buy entirely too much second-hand server hardware.
  • Vatharian - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    You're not alone :)

    As far as I know U.2 (or rather SFF-8639) actually supports hot plug by itself. You can easily drop in external port trough PCI bracket, tie in some power delivery and voila, You'd only need to 3D print or rig some kind of enclosure, or repurpose 2.5" 15mm SATA one.

    Still, I am disappointed, that U.2 didn't already die. It should go away, like now. We have much better standards and more robust, too.
  • Billy Tallis - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    It's a little soon to be asking for U.2 to die. The EDSFF standards are less than a month old and the NGSFF standard is still a few weeks away. U.2 is a transitional standard to bridge the gap between hard drive-based interfaces and form factors, and pure SSD-oriented standards. That transition isn't over yet, and the industry is only just now entering the final phase of that transition.
  • sheepdestroyer - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    But again, there is the power requirement.
    Will USB be able to provide enough juice to the SSD?
  • WinterCharm - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    SSD's generally use less power than HDD's.
  • SleepyFE - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    + USB power delivery can now pump through 100W (5A at 20V).
  • Vatharian - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    I'm not longing for USB NVMe adapter, that's pointless. Thunderbolt has higher power delivery capabilities than USB 3.1 by itself.
  • theopensauce - Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - link

    The best and logical comment I've seen on this site so far. I had the same thought with the NVMe backup/restore. There are no good ways to clone NVMe drives presently unless you use an older SSD via USB 3.0. And I am not patient. Plus if you do IT support or run a business time is money and the more efficiency you have the more profit you have.

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