Direct-Attached Storage Performance

The Thunder3 PCIe SSD was formatted in exFAT before being subject to our benchmarking routine. In order to evaluate the DAS aspect of the unit, we utilized the testbed outlined in the table below to test the performance.

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

Our testing methodology for DAS units takes into consideration the usual use-case for such devices. The most common usage scenario is transfer of large amounts of photos and videos to and from the unit. The other usage scenario (particularly for multimedia-editing professionals that are the target market for the Thunder3 PCIe SSD) is importing files directly off the DAS into a multimedia editing program such as Adobe Photoshop. Prior to taking a look at the real-life benchmarks, we first check what ATTO and CrystalDiskMark have to report for the Thunder3 PCIe SSD. We see numbers around 2500 MBps for sequential transfers, correlating well with AKiTiO's performance claims.

In order to tackle the first real-life use-case, we created three test folders with the following characteristics:

  • Photos: 15.6 GB collection of 4320 photos (RAW as well as JPEGs) in 61 sub-folders
  • Videos: 16.1 GB collection of 244 videos (MP4 as well as MOVs) in 6 sub-folders
  • BR: 10.7 GB Blu-ray folder structure of the IDT Benchmark Blu-ray (the same that we use in our robocopy tests for NAS systems)
AKiTiO Thunder3 PCIe SSD 1.2TB robocopy Benchmarks (MBps)
  Write Bandwidth Read Bandwidth
Photos 494.17 718.58
Videos 669.56 1444.75
Blu-ray Folder 747.16 1484.67

For the second use-case, we take advantage of PC Mark 8's storage bench. The storage workload involves games as well as multimedia editing applications. The command line version allows us to cherry-pick storage traces to run on a target drive. We chose the following traces.

  • Adobe Photoshop (Light)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Heavy)
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Illustrator

Usually, PC Mark 8 reports time to complete the trace, but the detailed log report has the read and write bandwidth figures which we present in our performance graphs. Note that the bandwidth number reported in the results don't involve idle time compression.

AKiTiO Thunder3 PCIe SSD 1.2TB PCMark8 Storage Benchmarks (MBps)
  Write Bandwidth Read Bandwidth
Adobe Photoshop (Light) 1590.58 307.38
Adobe Photoshop (Heavy) 1425.8 337.42
Adobe After Effects 826.43 333.66
Adobe Illustrator 1343.64 321.70

Some context to the above numbers can be gathered from our last DAS review with the benchmark numbers presented using graphs. Given that the PCIe SSD simply leaves those USB drives in the dust, and the fact that the interface is different, we decided it would not be an apples-to-apples comparison if the numbers were to be presented / compared in the same set of graphs.

Introduction and Setup Impressions Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks
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  • samer1970 - Friday, June 3, 2016 - link

    When you buy SSD look for TBW rating

    intel 750 is bad it has ONLY 219TB writes

    intel P3700 however has 36500TB writes !!!

    for just double the price (3700) you get 166 TIMES the writes of 750 .. so it is NOT EXPENSIVE AT ALL TO GET P3700

    intel 750 is a bad choice ... for double the price you get 166 times better
  • Impulses - Friday, June 3, 2016 - link

    This would actually be pretty sweet for someone heavy into content creation but who prefers a laptop over a desktop... You can obviously make the argument that nobody should have that preference (certainly not at a professional level), but still...

    Having an external 750 that can house say, your Lightroom library, Premier scratch space, and a bunch of photos or 4K video you're currently working on is certainly gonna see some benefits over many internal laptop SSD solutions... If nothing else it gives you more space (w/o a perf. sacrifice) than what most laptops would come with, even if it's an SM951.

    A niche product for sure, but it's actually priced a lot more aggressively than many of LaCie's DAS.
  • invinciblegod - Friday, June 3, 2016 - link

    Is it possible to use an adapter to attach a thunderbolt 1-2 device downwards on the chain?
  • ganeshts - Monday, June 6, 2016 - link

    Should be possible.. I am getting hold of an adapter shortly, and will be able to tell one way or the other pretty soon.
  • poohbear - Saturday, June 4, 2016 - link

    What are these reviews of obscure products? Where's the GTX 1070 review??
  • lmcd - Saturday, June 4, 2016 - link

    Given that different editors do different pieces this is one of the most ignorant Anandtech comments of all time.
  • jabber - Sunday, June 5, 2016 - link

    How many reviews do you need to 'convince' you to buy a product you are already going to buy? Some of us only need to read a couple and then like something else to read about.
  • jbrizz - Monday, June 6, 2016 - link

    One would think this is targeted towards people doing video editing, but 128TBW (70GB per day) seems a bit low for that kind of use case.

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