Next up in our lab is a review of the Sonnet Tempo PCIe SSD Card and the Samsung 840 Pro SSD. Once again we leveraged the OWC Helios as part of the test exchanging the OWC Accelsior with the Samsung 840 Pro. The Sonnet Tempo is a 6Gb/s SATA PCIe card that is cleverly designed to have a 6Gb/s SSD installed on it. The Samsung 840 Pro is and designed to be very reliable and deliver excellent performance.
Thanks in large part to the OWC Helios PCIe to Thunderbolt chassis and the performance of the Sonnet Tempo we were for the first time able to drive performance to the manufacturers rating. We saw 320MB/s writes and 430MB/s reads. The Samsung 840 is a flat-out fast drive and so far has proven to be very reliable.
As you can see from the video below the Sonnet Temp SSD card was easy to install and like the OWC Helios required no special drivers or configuration. We installed it in the Helios and booted right up. Both the Accelsior and the Sonnet Tempo allow for direct booting.
The Sonnet Tempo gives us a lot of flexibility in testing drives in the lab. We can swap new SSDs in and go through our constant battery of tests. For example the 840 is now going through our stress test phase where we constantly fill the drive over and over again. After that we will do power failure testing to see how it does in poor power situations.
While this test in this video review focused on the Samsung 840 Pro, every other SSD we have tested in the unit has worked well, although not all have made it as far along in our stress tests as the Samsung 840 Pro has.
The capacity of an Accelsior is now up to 960GB per card, where the 512GB seems to be the limit right now on SSD. The Sonnet Tempo SSD card has the flexibility to allow you to change SSD as the technology develops. They also have a dual card configuration that would give you 1TB of capacity for less than the price of the Accelsior but that card won’t fit in the Helios.
Storage Swiss Take
The Sonnet Tempo SSD is a keeper and we grow increasingly impressed with the Helios. The decision between a Sonnet Tempo SSD Card with a quality SSD like the Samsung 840 Pro versus a OWC Accelsior would be a tough one. The cost of a 480GB Accelsior is about the same price as a Sonnet Tempo SSD Card + the Samsung 840. The performance of the two cards is very close and we would have to do a more detailed performance testing to declare a real winner. Either way you can’t make a wrong decision.