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StarTech Thunderbolt Dual SSD Enclosure S252SMTB3

Performance

Our test-computer was a Mac Book pro (late 2011) with an internal Intel 160 GB G3 SSD and Thunderbolt-connection. Two 128 GB Corsair Force GS-SSD’s were installed into the enclosure. These have a theoretical max speed of 560 MB/s sequential read and 535 MB/s sequential write. Unfortunately we could not get hold of a PC laptop with Thunderbolt or a motherboard with Thunderbolt 2 on it in time for this review.

setup

We set up the two Corsair SSD’s first with RAID 1 = duplication of data and then RAID 0 = use both SSD’s for storage which means speed but no redundancy if one fails.

To benchmark the enclosure we used the following software:

Internal Intel SSD

Let’s start by looking at the internal drive of the Mac Book Pro so we can get a baseline to compare to.

 

It’s not a super fast SSD, especially since it is quite full but we get read speeds around 173 MB/s and write speeds around 104 MB/s. The theoretical max is 270/165 MB/s seq. read/write.

StarTech Thunderbolt Dual SSD Enclosure RAID 1

RAID1 offers us some data protection as the data is written to both drives and thus if one SSD fails you should be able to rebuild the raid and get the data back. This also means you will not get any speed benefits and in fact the performance, especially when writing, is slightly worse.

DiskSpeedTest_raid_1GB

Right away we see that this is a very nice SSD and that the enclosure has no problems handling the speed. 450 MB/s for reading and 222 MB/s for writing is impressive. This is of course best case situation so lets look at QuickBench which allows us to test the performance when using different .

quickbench4_1

We get an average random read-speed of 171 MB/s and an average random write speed of 137 MB/s. The average sequential write and read speed are pretty similar.

quickbench4_2 quickbench4_3

Testing with different size files gives us a read speed around 450 – 470 MB/s while the write speed clocks in at around 230 MB/s – pretty similar what the BlackMagic software gave us. This is what we expect, while reading should give us similar speeds as RAID0 writing will effectively be halved.

StarTech Thunderbolt Dual SSD Enclosure RAID 0

With RAID0 both discs are used and the system writes to both discs at the same time so that it later can read from both discs at the same time when fetching data. It sacrifices redundancy for speed.

DiskSpeedTest

Right away we see that we get the max speed possible from the SSD’s both when it comes to reading and writing.

quickbench1

We get an average random read-speed of 215 MB/s and an average random write speed of 200 MB/s. The average sequential write and read speed are pretty similar with the random read speed a bit lower.

quickbench2

quickbench3

When we instead look at the average read and write speed when transferring different sized files we see the same picture as in BlackMagic Disc Speed Test. Both read and write now gives us around 470-480 MB/s.

Issues

Overall we did not have any big issues with the enclosure as it just worked. There was one thing though that drove us nuts: the noise from the fan. It might not be loud but has a very annoying pitch which actually made us move the enclosure away from the computer down to the floor.

inside_fan

One solution to this is simply to unhook the fan as it is not needed if you just use SSD’s in it. If you use HDD’s though you might want to keep it running and move the enclosure away from where you are sitting.

Even though it is popular to use a network attached storage sometimes it is nice to have storage closer to the computer, for example for Timemachine backup on a Mac or just as a way to add more storage space on a laptop with a small SSD. The Startech enclosure we are reviewing today, the StarTech Thunderbolt Dual SSD Enclosure S252SMTB3,  comes with a Thunderbolt interface that not only lets you daisy-chain it with several other peripherals but also offers a lot of bandwidth making it a perfect option for increasing the storage space on a…

Review Overview

Build-quality - 9
Performance - 8.5
Features - 8.5

8.7

The StarTech Thunderbolt Dual SSD Enclosure is a great little Thunderbolt-enclosure that not only can daisy-chain other devices but also offers great performance for your SSD-drives regardless if you use RAID0 or RAID1.

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One comment

  1. How this is “Great performance” when those SSDs should go up to 1,2 GB/s in raid 0? Even internal MBA m.2 SSD is getting up to 738MB/s reads. This product looks like “half-way” developed, bacplane, poor fan mounting solution… 225$ ?! For what, 20$ Thunderbolt chip ??!

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