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Sonnet Fusion PCIe Fusion Drive 256GB Thunderbolt 2 SSD Review

Sonnet Fusion PCIe Fusion Drive 256GB Thunderbolt 2 SSD Review
Sonnet's 256GB Fusion PCIe Fusion external SSD drive with Thunderbolt 2 connectivity gets tested today, and boy does it perform well.
By: Tyler Bernath | Enclosures/Externals in Storage | Posted: Dec 2, 2015 2:15 am
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Sonnet



Thunderbolt has seemingly taken a backseat over the past year, due to innovations with USB and the launch of USB 3.1 and the Type C connector. However, Thunderbolt 2 is still very much alive and today we take a look at a solution from Sonnet Technology.


The Fusion PCIe flash drive is a Thunderbolt 2 enabled solution available in both 256 and 512GB capacities. Marketing performance of this drive is said to reach up to 1350 MB/s enabling creative professionals 4K workflows while being bus powered and pocket sized. Underneath the aluminum exterior, the Fusion drive houses the latest PCIe Gen 3 SSD technology in the Samsung SM951 m.2 form factor. Compatibility allows both Windows and Mac OS support while also enabling boot support for OS X 10.9.5+.


MSRP of the Sonnet PCIe Fusion Drive in the 256GB capacity is set at $499.99 and is backed by a one-year warranty.




Packaging for the Fusion PCIe carries an image of the drive centered with marketing information down below. We have a mention of the drives performance but no mention of capacity on the box.




The back of the box details the specifications of the drive in several languages.




Above, the scope of delivery includes the drive and a quick start guide.




The front of the drive houses the Fusion branding and blue LED. To the far right, the Sonnet logo hugs the edge of the drive.




For size comparison, we paired the Fusion PCIe next to the 6TB WD Black hard drive.






Above, we have a quick image of the internals of the drive. As you can see, Sonnet has designed a custom PCB to interface with the m.2 form factor.




The chassis is machined from a single piece of aluminum and incorporates heat dissipation through many sets of fins.




To test the Fusion PCIe Flash Drive, we set this solution up on our MacBook Pro. As you can see, the Thunderbolt 2 connection was able to stretch its legs for the first time in quite a while. The Sonnet Fusion PCIe came in at 1285 MB/s read and 1146 MB/s write.




Adding the Sonnet Fusion PCIe to our charts, we find it to be the quickest external SSD we have ever tested, which is saying quite a bit considering we have seen the LaCie Little Big Disk come through that used dual m.2 SSDs in RAID.


The Fusion PCIe Flash Drive is a rather remarkable piece of technology in that this drive's form factor is equal to three 2.5" SSD stacked on top of each other, yet it offers performance higher than three 2.5" SSDs in RAID 0. Build quality is second to none, with a custom milled aluminum chassis that integrates a good amount of cooling capabilities with its heatsinked design. The custom PCB allows a full Thunderbolt cable to be used and in the case that your cable was to get damaged can easily be swapped out for a new one.


The performance of this drive was top notch, a solid 200 MB/s quicker than previously tested solutions including one of my favorites, the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2. In our testing, I was able to peak this solution out at 1285 MB/s in Black Magic but utilizing diglloydTools, I was able to reach 1352 MB/s read and 1150 MB/s write.


Overall, the Sonnet Fusion PCIe Flash Drive is a true top tier solution coming in with blazing performance enabling 4K workflows with ease. Of course, this technology comes at a price, and this solution in its tested 256GB configuration carries an MSRP of $499.99.




Tyler's Test System Specifications


Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Quality including Design and Build91%
General Features90%
Bundle and Packaging85%
Value for Money88%
Overall TweakTown Rating90%

The Bottom Line: It's not often we see an external solution of this caliber in the lab and the Sonnet Fusion PCIe is worth all the hype. It's extremely quick, durable and carries a favorable MSRP for media professionals looking for a portable Thunderbolt solution such as this.

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