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AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Thunderbolt 2 Expansion Chassis Review

AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Thunderbolt 2 Expansion Chassis Review

We take a look at the latest Thunderbolt solution from AKiTiO in the Thunder2. This device allows you to add PCIe devices to your Macbook at full speed.

By Tyler Bernath from Aug 22, 2014 @ 17:05 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: AKiTiO

For the prosumer and enthusiast alike, Thunderbolt has been a way to expand their storage capacity, without taking the traditional performance hit that USB 3.0 encompasses. For those wanting the utmost in flexibility with their solutions or want the very best, AKiTiO has recently launched their latest solution, the Thunder2.

The AKiTiO Thunder2 is a PCI Express expansion chassis, allowing you to install and utilize any number of PCIe solutions with your Thunderbolt enabled Mac. This means you have the ability to install PCIe based storage solutions, or even a multiple port network card, if you so desire. The one downfall of the Thunder2 is that it does not support expansion of video cards.

MSRP of the AKiTiO Thunder2 is listed at $269.99 with a one-year warranty.


Packaging for the Thunder2 houses an image of the chassis front and center, around we have several features listed.


Scope of delivery includes a Thunderbolt cable and power adapter.


The front of the Thunder2 houses a mesh front panel to allow air to circulate inside the enclosure.


The back of the Thunder2 houses dual Thunderbolt 2 ports and the power input below.


Internally, the chassis houses an x16 PCIe slot and room enough for dual slot cards.


The Thunderbolt controller used in the Thunder2 is the four lane DSL5520.


To test the AKiTiO Thunder2, we installed a Samsung XP941 512GB m.2 SSD.


The second device we installed in the Thunder2 was the 960GB OWC Mercury Accelsior.


Here, we have our first benchmark run with the XP941. As you can see, we were able to surpass the original Thunderbolt performance specs and pass into Thunderbolt 2 range at 950 MB/s read and 958 MB/s write.


Moving over to the OWC Accelsior, results came in at 685 MB/s read and 422 MB/s write.

The Thunder2 is definitely one of the most versatile enclosures we have seen in quite a while. In fact, I cannot think of the last time we have seen something that is as flexible. If you are one that wants control of your storage solutions or enjoy video editing and only have the latest MBPr, then the Thunderbolt 2 enabled Thunder2 may be for you. With this device, you can install some of the quickest PCIe storage solutions available on the market, and access them through any Thunderbolt enabled device.

As you saw in our testing using the 512GB XP941, we were able to reach close to 1 GB/s in both read and writes. Of course, your performance will truly depend on what you install, but then again, if you want to use any other PCIe device apart from a GPU, then that option is available as well.

PRICING: You can find the Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box retails for $269.99 at Amazon.



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