OWC ThunderBlade V4 Review (4TB) – Worlds Fastest External Storage

TSSDR TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

SSD testing at TSSDR differs slightly, depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise storage media. For our Thunderbolt 3 testing today, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide. To see the best performance possible, the CPU C states have been disabled, C1E support has been disabled, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) has been disabled. Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch. We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.

SYSTEM COMPONENTS

The components of this Test Bench are detailed below.  All hardware is linked for purchase and product sales may be reached by a simple click on the individual item. As well, the title is linked back to the individual build article where performance testing can be validated.

TSSDR ASROCK Z370 TAICHI TEST BENCH   (link)

PC CHASSIS: Corsair Crystal Series 460X RGB
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z370 Taichi
CPU: Intel Coffee Lake Core i7-8770K
CPU COOLER: Corsair Hydro Series H110i GTX V.2
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair RM850x 80Plus
GRAPHICS: PNY GTX 1080 XLR8 Gaming OC
MEMORY: Corsair Dominator Pl 32GB 2800
STORAGE: Intel Optane 900P 480GB SSD
KEYBOARD: Corsair Strafe RGB Silent Gaming
MOUSE: Corsair M65 Pro Gaming
OS Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit

ASROCK THUNDERBOLT 3 AIC

It is important to note that Thunderbolt 3 has really only became popular within the last few months, the inevitable result of Intel’s ‘loosening the reigns’.  We will start to see much more Thunderbolt 3 devices in the next while than we have in the previous two years since it has been out.  Not only have we this device, but also, another is on its way which will be just as much of a shock as this report is.

As it stands, most motherboards that are Thunderbolt 3 capable have a switch to turn it enable this in the UEFI, as well as a port to plug in an AIC Card.  For our purposes, we purchased the ASRock Thunderbolt 3 AIC for our testing and it worked perfectly.

Installation consisted of enabling Thunderbolt 3 in our UEFI, installing the ASRock Thunderbolt 3 AIC into one of the designated PCIe 3.0 slots, connecting the cable to the Thunderbolt Port on the motherboard, and installing the driver software before plugging the OWC ThunderBlade V4 in.  The ASRock Thunderbolt 3 AIC can be found at Amazon for $89.

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software in use for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of Crystal Disk Info, ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark, AS SSD, Anvil’s Storage Utilities, as well real data transfer testing. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER. 7..5.0

Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.

Crystal Disk Info identifies the RAID as individual drives and confirms that the NVMe 1.2 protocol is in play.  More importantly, it confirms that we are using PCIe 3.0 X4 (four lanes) whereas low results through use of the wrong PCIe lane might be attributed to PCIe X2 (two lane) travel where performance will be much lower.

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Jim

Come on, 3 years?? That should be ONE star!!!! That is a joke! Should be at least 5 year warranty, or better 10 years for that price. For the 3 year warranty, forget it, I will build my own and will be 10 year warranty for the ssd. And it will not bog down with a lot of writes like this one.