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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

REVIEW: ThunderBay 4 mini RAID

Originally posted December 19th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Other World Computing has a Thunderbolt 2.0 RAID storage solution that offers both speed and capacity and a small footprint. Meet ThunderBay 4 mini.

GRAPH LEGEND
SSD
raid 0 = OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB Mercury Electra 6G SSDs in RAID 0 set
SSD
raid 5 = OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB Mercury Electra 6G SSDs in RAID 5 set
SSD
raid 1+0 = OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB Mercury Electra 6G SSDs in RAID 1+0 set
HDD
raid 0 = OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB Travelstar 7K1000 HDDs in RAID 0 set
HDD
raid 5 = OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB Travelstar 7K1000 HDDs in RAID 5 set
HDD
raid 1+0 = OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB Travelstar 7K1000 HDDs in RAID 1+0 set

SoftRAID version 5 was used to configure the RAID sets. Test mule was a 'late 2013' Mac Pro 8-core.
RED graph bar means the fastest overall in Megabytes per Second.

LARGE SEQUENTIAL TRANSFER TEST
We used AJA System Test to test file level sequential transfer speed using a 16GB test document.

SMALL RANDOM TRANSFER TEST
We used a range of 4K to 1024K blocks in the Standard Random test in QuickBench as a predictor boot volume 'house keeping' performance and a simulation of an application that does multiple small random transfers.

INSIGHTS
The ThunderBay 4 mini fills a slot missing in the Thunderbolt 2.0 storage sphere. Though some Thunderbolt RAID boxes offer adapters for 2.5" drives, the ThunderBay 4 mini is designed exclusively for 2.5" drives. You no longer need to tolerate a big box with noisy fan just to have a fast Thunderbolt RAID solution. Its small footprint measures 7.5 x 3.5 x 4.25 inches. With four SSDs, it weighs only 3 pounds.

We featured the Mercury Electra 6Gbps SSDs in the graphs above to drive home the narrative that you can have both speed and capacity. With four 1TB Electras in a RAID 0 set, you have a 4TB volume.

With four 2TB notebook HDDs, you attain 8TB total volume. However, with HDDs like the Hitachi Travelstars we used, your large sequential transfer speeds are not nearly as fast as the SSDs. And your small random transfers will be much slower.

Unlike some storage makers, OWC lets you buy the ThunderBay 4 mini either populated with drives or empty.

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WHERE TO BUY THE THUNDERBAY 4 MINI
Order directly from Other World Computing either 'empty' for $379 or four SSDs totaling 4TB for $2399 or with four HDDs totaling 8TB for $895.

OWC also offers the ThunderBay 4 that takes 3.5" drives totaling 20TB.

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copyright 2014 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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