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REVIEW: OWC ThunderBay 4
Thunderbolt 2.0 RAID solution

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

Other World Computing has two Thunderbolt 2.0 RAID storage solutions. Back in December 2014 we reported on the ThunderBay 4 mini which sported four SSDs totaling 4TB. We also were able to test the ThunderBay 4 designed for 3.5" HDDs. We chose four Seagate SSHDs totaling 8TB for this test session.

raid 0 = OWC ThunderBay 4 with four 2TB Seagate SSHDs in RAID 0 set
raid 5 = OWC ThunderBay 4 with four 2TB Seagate SSHDs in RAID 5 set

raid 0 = OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB Mercury Electra 6G SSDs in RAID 0 set
raid 5 = OWC ThunderBay 4 mini with four 1TB Mercury Electra 6G SSDs in RAID 5 set

SoftRAID 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.

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

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.

Though this article features the ThunderBay 4 with 3.5" drives, we included results for the ThunderBay 4 mini with 2.5" SSDs to remind you of the top speed attainable with both large sequential and small random transfers. Either model of ThunderBay can be pre-configured with SSDs totaling up to 4TB if you crave speed over capacity.

If capacity is as important or more important that maximum attainable speed, you can order the ThunderBay 4 pre-configured with up to 24TB of HDD storage. We chose four Seagate 2TB hybrid SSHDs totaling 8TB for our testing.

Unlike some storage makers, OWC lets you buy the ThunderBay 4 mini either populated with drives or empty. Whether you go with the larger ThunderBay 4 with built-in power supply or the smaller ThunderBay 4 mini with power brick, both come with a quiet cooling fan and locking front panel for easy access to the drive mounting brackets.

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Order directly from Other World Computing either 'empty' for $475 or pre-configured with total storage capacities ranging from 1TB to 24TB.

OWC also offers the ThunderBay 4 mini that takes 2.5" drives. It can be purchased empty or pre-configured with SSDs or HDDs.

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copyright 2015 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"