I'm sure TekQ isn't a vendor many of us have heard of. I myself had not heard of TekQ until they approached me to do this review. In researching this company for this article, I did find a solid product history that includes MFi certified flash drives an entire uCable lineup that allows consumers to go from USB to Lightning or USB to microUSB or USB-C. Their biggest move to date is the product we are talking about today, the Rapide Thunderbolt 3 SSD.
For those of you that have read my articles in the past, you know I have been testing Thunderbolt storage devices from day one. With Thunderbolt 3, we have seen an emergence of high performance portable SSDs hit the market.
Our first look was late last year with the Sonnet Fusion PCIe Drive that we tested with Thunderbolt 2 and has since been updated to Thunderbolt 3. Just recently we had the Plugable NVMe SSD come through which we were able to extract 2700 MB/s read and 1470 MB/s write out of.
Today, TekQ looks to top that with the Rapide, a small form factor portable SSD taking advantage of the m.2 form factor internally and Thunderbolt 3 externally. Marketing performance is said to reach 2300 MB/s read and 1300 MB/s write while being bus powered.
This solution supports both macOS and Windows operating systems using a Thunderbolt 3 connection, USB-C and previous revisions of Thunderbolt will NOT work.
Pricing for the 240GB TekQ Rapide comes in at $319.99 with a one-year warranty. The 480 and 960GB solutions come in at $479 and $899 respectively with the same one-year warranty.
As of February 21st, TekQ is offering a 20% discount on each capacity if purchased through their Indiegogo campaign here
Packaging for the Rapide offers an image of the drive centered with bullet points above for its Gen3 x4 interface and unibody construction. Below we have supported operating systems listed along with its external interface and bus powered design.
The back has a plethora of information on the drive including key features and package contents and down below hardware specifications.
Included in the box, the Rapide SSD and Thunderbolt 3 cable.
The Rapide is a stunning drive, the unibody design is cut from aluminum with all edges chamfered. The top houses a small blue LED for activity and below subtle branding.
The end of the drive offers the Thunderbolt 3 connection with etched graphics on each side.
On the bottom of the drive, TekQ has etched quite a bit of information into the drive case. They have also put a date stamp for media samples but no individual serial numbers.
Removing the screws, we opened the drive up to find a large thermal pad for the Thunderbolt 3 controller and another for the Type-C connector.
The drive in our unit uses a Phison PS5007-11 controller paired with Toshiba MLC.
Using CDI, we take a peek at the drive over Thunderbolt 3. We see it is a E7 powered drive using the NVM Express interface at PCIe 3.0 x4.
Moving into synthetics, we start with CDM and our results at 2735 MB/s read and 1528 MB/s write.
In Anvils, the Rapide produced 9,900 Read IOPS QD1 and 133K Read IOPS at QD16. Sequential came in a touch over 2000 MB/s while write results showed 1250 MB/s. 4K QD1 Write produced 26K IOPS while QD16 gave us 183K IOPS.
Last, we have the "real" data test. The TekQ Rapide was able to move 15GB of photos in 36.8 seconds, this was followed by 15GB of video in 14.8 seconds and 15GB of music in 12.8 seconds.
The TekQ Rapide is perhaps the best-looking Thunderbolt 3 SSD I have ever seen. They really did a superb job in the design of the drive and milling of the enclosure. Unfortunately, choice of materials could have been better as illustrated in the image below.
Aluminum is a very soft metal by nature and after a few drops in a stone driveway, parking lot or sidewalk the enclosure gets very ugly. To remedy this, I would suggest an optional silicon protector for those that are going to use this drive on the go to raise the edges of the enclosure in a dropped drive situation.
Moving on to performance, we had good luck with the Rapide in CDM reaching 2735 MB/s read and 1528 MB/s write while Anvils added to this with a score of 9646.
Going through real data testing the Rapide did quite well moving the 15GB batch of music a full second faster than the Plugable solution but the Plugable did return the favor coming in six seconds faster with photos and 3 seconds faster in video.
Thunderbolt 3 products have always run into issues when it comes to market pricing, it seems to have eased up in the last year but alas these devices are niche products catering more towards the macOS crowd with Windows joining in a bit more with Thunderbolt 3.
That being said, the TekQ Rapide has delivered on the performance with top tier sequential read and write while at the same time being competitive in the current market. With current market pricing, taking full advantage of the Indiegogo campaign, the TekQ Rapide is the best bang for your buck when it comes to Thunderbolt 3 SSDs.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line: TekQ took a giant leap with the Rapide, offering top tier performance for a single drive Thunderbolt 3 solution while staying competitive with its curent market pricing.
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