The Bottom Line
AKiTiO for the longest time has been the driver behind many OEM Thunderbolt 3 solutions. Joining the team at OWC earlier in the year, we have yet to see what's in store for the AKiTiO team but today we look at one of their latest solutions; the Node Lite SE
I was first introduced to the Node Lite Optane in May of 2018. Since then, as mentioned above, AKiTiO has been acquired by OWC putting much of their product line in limbo. To this point, the Node Lite with Optane is no longer available and OWC has resorted to selling the Special Edition enclosure without Optane.
That said, the enclosure is still one of a kind and anyone that wants to build their own Node Lite Optane can do so by purchasing the 905P separately. Specifications include two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a DisplayPort connection for 4K monitor support. Compatibility includes macOS 10+ and Windows 10. MSRP comes in at $289.99 with a two-year warranty.
Packaging for the Node Lite SE would have you assume a drive is included with the performance numbers at the bottom and Intel SSD inside logo to the right.
The back goes into more detail with a full specification list to the right.
Scope of delivery includes the enclosure, Thunderbolt 3 cable and power adapter.
The SE offers a window on the left side, this would normally show off the Optane 905P.
On the backside, we have dual Thunderbolt 3 followed by the DP connection.
Testing performance on the Node, I used a PCIe adapter and NVMe SSD. AJA was used with workloads from 1080p to 5K. Starting with 1080p, performance came in at 1845 MB/s read and 1206 Mb/s write.
Over to 4K, we see 1864 MB/s read and 1218 MB/s write.
For 5K RED testing, we see performance reach 1900 MB/s read and 1182 Mb/s write.
The Node Lite SE is a solid product top to bottom and even though it has come down to being just an enclosure rather than an appliance, build quality has not faltered. We still have a solid steel design, windowed side panel and support for 4K monitors via the Display Port. Further this truly is a limited-edition model as Macsales is showing only 15 left.
I wasn't able to hit peak performance numbers of Thunderbolt 3 or this Node Lite SE, mostly due to the NVMe drive used in testing but was able to reach 1900 MB/s read and 1200 MB/s write with AJA. I also ran through my normal CDM, ATTO etc. testing and came away with peak numbers of 1800 MB/s read and 1220 MB/s write.
Even with all the confusion surrounding the Node Lite SE, its honestly a great buy for anyone wanting to add high performance Thunderbolt 3 storage to their daisy chain.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII Formula X570 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H60 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Corsair MP600 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Node Lite SE is a great enclosure for DIY high-performance storage, but it is a little pricey with Thunderbolt 3 on its way out.
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