AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review

AKiTiO's Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 device gets reviewed, but is it worth buying with Thunderbolt 3 being replaced before much longer? Let's see.

Published Tue, Oct 15 2019 11:41 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:57 PM CST
Rating: 79%Manufacturer: AKiTiO (T3NL-T3DIZ-AKTUP)
AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 99 | TweakTown.com

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.

AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 02 | TweakTown.com

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.

AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 03 | TweakTown.com

The back goes into more detail with a full specification list to the right.

AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 04 | TweakTown.com

Scope of delivery includes the enclosure, Thunderbolt 3 cable and power adapter.

AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 05 | TweakTown.com

The SE offers a window on the left side, this would normally show off the Optane 905P.

AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 06 | TweakTown.com

On the backside, we have dual Thunderbolt 3 followed by the DP connection.

AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 10 | TweakTown.com

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.

AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 11 | TweakTown.com

Over to 4K, we see 1864 MB/s read and 1218 MB/s write.

AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review 13 | TweakTown.com

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











The Bottom Line

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.


AKiTiO Node Lite

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* Prices last scanned on 1/16/2021 at 8:57 am CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

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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