Akitio Neutrino Thunderbolt 120GB Review

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MrX8503, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2010
    So I've been on the look out for some really fast portable storage. Portable meaning that it must be bus powered and fast meaning SSD speeds. The enclosure should also support 512GB+ SSDs.

    A popular thunderbolt solution is Seagate's thunderbolt SATA adapter, but it doesn't provide enough power via thunderbolt and some users have reported it killing drives. Not Good.

    I haven't seen any reviews for the Akitio Neutrino with a 512GB SSD, so I'd like to contribute. I bought the 120GB version and installed a 512GB Sandisk Extreme II. Since Akitio sells a 512GB version, I suspect it'll be able to power SSDs ranging from 512-1TB. Be warned, this isn't a cheap setup and you're looking at $400-$500 depending on what deals you find.

    Inateck UASP USB3
    black magic: 404MB/s writes, 430MB/s reads

    Disk Test 559.51
    Sequential 361.72
    Uncached Write 724.99 445.13 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 555.72 314.43 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 155.50 45.51 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 690.48 347.03 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 1234.54
    Uncached Write 1235.65 130.81 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 1011.92 323.95 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 2617.19 18.55 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 942.98 174.98 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    Akitio Neutrino Thunderbolt
    black magic: 377MB/s writes, 507MB/s reads

    Disk Test 593.89
    Sequential 389.08
    Uncached Write 671.26 412.15 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 522.60 295.69 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 178.46 52.23 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 785.09 394.58 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 1253.94
    Uncached Write 1105.74 117.06 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 939.26 300.69 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 3299.70 23.38 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1089.50 202.16 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    As you can see, the Neutrino has better reads than the Inateck, but not as fast writes. I wanted TRIM support so I ultimately went with the Neutrino.

    Enclosure itself:
    Inside the enclosure is an Intel 330 SSD, the larger capacities uses Sandisk I believe. There's a 2yr warranty, but you'll void your warranty by replacing the drive. It's not meant to be replaced, but the 8 screws are easy to get to and there's no use of adhesive. The aluminum visually matches well with other mac products, but the aluminum surface is a little rougher. I don't imagine people rubbing their enclosures, just wanted to state that there's a difference in quality of aluminum between Apple and Akitio.

    7mm SSDs will need to use a 2mm bracket on top of the drive to prevent it from wobbling inside the enclosure. This also prevents the drive from having full contact with the enclosure to dissipate heat, but I haven't found any problems with high temperatures. A 9mm metal SSD would get the best cooling (the Intel 330 is a 9mm all metal drive). There's a ~2mm empty space between the PCB and SSD to prevent the PCB from heating up the drive. The other side of the PCB has full contact with the enclosure and is where the majority of the heat comes from.

    The enclosure does a great job of keeping things cool and my Extreme II was around 40-45C. Overall I'm really happy with the enclosure and a bit surprised at the amount of heat thunderbolt generates. Even the cable gets warm to the touch.

    Let me know if you guys/girls want any pics.
  2. chfilm macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    Nice review, thanks! I should've gone the same route, got the inatek enclosure for my crucial mx100 ssd, and it's frustrating because even though on a mba it delivers 450mbs speeds, on my nMP the USB 3 ports cap at 350mbs. And the nMP was what it was intended for :(

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