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AKiTiO Node Lite SE Thunderbolt 3 Review

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.

By Tyler Bernath from Oct 15, 2019 @ 11:41 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 79%Manufacturer: AKiTiOModel: T3NL-T3DIZ-AKTUP

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

Performance 85%

Quality 80%

Features 80%

Value 70%

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 11/17/2019 at 9:36 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, please click for very latest pricing
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