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Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter

Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter

10Gbe over Thunderbolt 3, how well does it work?

Tyler Bernath | Apr 20, 2018 at 10:00 am CDT - 5 mins, 30 secs reading time
Rating: 85%Manufacturer: Akitio

Adding to our catalog of Akitio products reviewed, we move on from the impressive Thunder3 Quad X in March to the Thunder3 10G NIC today.

The Thunder3 10G NIC is aimed at consumers that have an available Thunderbolt 3 port and want the quickest network connection possible. Designed to be compact and portable the Thunder3 10G is bus powered offering a recessed Thunderbolt 3 connection along with enclosure protection with a silicon cover.

Along with its prowess as a 10Gbe NIC, the Thunder3 does support multi-gigabit networks such as 1, 2.5 and 5Gbe and is even backwards compatible all the way down to 100M Fast Ethernet including Jumbo Frame 9K support. As mentioned above, compatibility includes Windows and Apple machines with an available Thunderbolt 3 port.

MSRP of the Akitio Thunder3 10G NIC comes in at $279.99 with a two-year warranty.

Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter 21 | TweakTown.com

Akitio has placed a good amount of marketing info down below while above we have an image of the network adapter.

Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter 30 | TweakTown.com

The scope of delivery includes reading material, Thunderbolt 3 cable and the Thunder3 10G.

Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter 40 | TweakTown.com

On bottom edge, you will find the multi-gigabit port using the RJ45 connection.

Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter 50 | TweakTown.com

The top offers up the Thunderbolt 3 connection and Kensington lock slot to the right.

Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter 60 | TweakTown.com

Pulling it apart, I removed the four end screws and slid out the heat sink that includes the PCB.

Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter 70 | TweakTown.com

After I was able to peel the heat sink plate off the PCB, we have the Thunderbolt 3 controller to the far right and the Tehuti Networks 10Gbe NIC on the left.

Akitio Thunder3 10G Network Adapter 20 | TweakTown.com

For testing, I paired the Thunder3 10G with my ASUS C10C 10Gbe adapter using Cat6 cable. To throw data back and forth I used netperf and starting out with 1Gbe, the Akitio Thunder3 brought in 941Mbps. Moving to 2.5Gbe we see 2088Mbps and 5Gbe reaches 4159Mbps. Testing out 10Gbe, performance tops out at 8729Mbps.

The Thunder3 lineup from Akitio spans a broad portfolio of storage, networking and eGPU solutions. As of today, we have tested all three of those solutions and the build quality top to bottom is superb. I enjoyed the unique design of the 10G adapter with large air gaps and the heat sink stack to keep the unit cooled passively but even more, I'm pleased to see Akitio think outside the box and include the silicon sleeve knowing this solution is going to be thrown into a bag daily as you travel.

The performance was quite good with the Thunder3 10G but throughput did fall off as we increased available bandwidth. This is most likely due to the workload as it wasn't heavy enough as the pipe opened up. That said, with 1Gbe we did see 941Mbps and that moves to 2088Mbps with 2.5Gbe. At 5Gbe, results came in at 4159Mbps eventually peaking at 8729Mbps with 10Gbe.

Overall, I did enjoy the Thunder3 10G as it's such a compact bus-powered solution that opens you up to a world of high-performance networking. With that said it does represent a cheaper alternative for consumers wanting to add wired networking to their Thunderbolt 3 enabled MacBook or Notebook as the $279.99 MSRP is nearly $300 dollars cheaper than the next competing solution.

Tyler's Test System Specifications

Last updated: Sep 25, 2019 at 12:25 am CDT

TweakTown award
Performance86%
Quality87%
Features86%
Value80%
Overall Rating85%

The Bottom Line: Akitio rounds out the Thunder3 lineup with a budget friendly high performance multi-gigabit NIC that's ready to travel.

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Tyler Bernath

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Tyler Bernath

Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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