Promise carries a wide range of storage solutions from the high-end VTrak and Vess platforms to the Pegasus lineup and Apollo for the home users. In the middle of all of this, they have introduced an NBase-T Adapter that can take your Thunderbolt 3 enabled machine to the next level.
The SanLink lineup started with Thunderbolt 2, enabling PC and Mac platforms the ability to expand to 10Gbe copper and SFP or 16G Fibre Channel. With the latest iteration, SanLink has been upgraded to Thunderbolt 3 with three models being pushed to the market. The model sent for review is the N1 and N-Base T solution offering 1, 2.5, 5 and 10Gbe connectivity. This solution features a single Thunderbolt 3 port for connecting to the host system and single RJ45 copper port for ethernet connectivity.
Compatibility includes Windows 10 along with macOS 10.13 and later. MSRP of the SanLink3 N1 comes in at $249.99 with a three-year warranty.
We kick this solution off with packaging, the image of the SanLink3 is on the front with branding above.
Specifications are located on the bottom of the box.
Included in the box we have the SanLink3 and Thunderbolt 3 cable.
On the right side of the enclosure, you will find the RJ45 port with wide ventilation down the sides. Activity LEDs are integrated into each side of the RJ45 port.
On the opposite end, we have the Thunderbolt 3 port with ventilation above. To the left, we have the indicator for the built-in fan.
I tested the SanLink3 in each of its modes recording performance over a ten-minute period. In the 1GBe mode, I was able to reach 949Mbps on par for the interface. 2.5Gbe reached 2467Mbps again quite good, and 5Gbe reached just shy of 4900Mbps. 10Gbe results gave us right around 9400Mbps
Closing out the review, the Promise SanLink3 offers the highest build quality I have seen on a portable NBASE adapter. This includes the fit and finish along with a choice of materials. Adding to this the SanLink3 is the first I have seen that offers onboard cooling with a temperature activated cooling fan.
Performance of the SANLink3 in each mode was on par with expectations, all reaching the theoretical throughput of the connection rate. That said, the SANLink3 is a single port solution so it will not allow daisy chaining and would need to be the end of the chain device.
As far as pricing goes, the SanLink3 is one of the more expensive Thunderbolt 3 10Gbe solutions at $249.99. For comparison, you can grab the Solo 10G from Sonnet at $179.99 or the OWC model for $149.99.
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
The Promise SanLink3 is a great solution for those that want a viable upgrade path as networking standards increase for the consumer, the NBASE-T capabilities give you plenty of headroom as 2.5GBe is only becoming standard now.