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OWC 40TB SSD: RAID-0 and RAID-4 Sustained Transfer Performance

OWC Thunderbay Mini

The Thunderbay 4 Mini RAID-5 edition is available with SSDs in capacities from 1TB to 40TB. MPG strong recommends the RAID edition.

Thunderbay 4 Mini configurations (non RAID) are also available, as well as hard drive configurations are also available.

See graph below. This is the best performance MPG has ever seen with Thunderbolt 2 (or from any external SSD). It sets the new benchmark by a huge amount in capacity, and with unrivalled and unruffled performance across the huge capacity:

  • RAID-0 Read performance flatlines at 1425 MB/sec
  • RAID-0 Write performance flatlines at 1192 MB/sec

Those are average figures across across a gigantic 39.37TB volume! And through the macOS file system, so the figures are accessible to any properly written application. The performance exceeds that of the internal 1TB SSD in the MPG 2013 Mac Pro while spanning a capacity that is 40 times larger! There looks to be cruising room here for 4K raw video capture. Or any hyper demanding task for writes and even better for reads.

It looks like Thunderbolt 2 has throttled the read performance. MPG expects OWC to offer a similar solution with Thunderbolt 3 in 2017. Tests of the SSDs singly suggest that a RAID-0 stripe should deliver 1600+ MB/s over Thunderbolt 3.

Nothing but cost precludes attaching two (or three) of these monster drives on a Mac Pro and then doubling or tripling the performance (so long as each TB4 Mini is on its own Thunderbolt bus). With a Thunderbolt 3 solution, the performance should be able to double with two TB4 Minis on one TB3 bus).

a> disktester fill-volume

Figures are in MiB/sec. Multiply by 1.048576 for MB/sec. Continues below for RAID-4/5 discussion.

Sustained transfer performance with a 40TB RAID-0 stripe vs 30TB RAID-4 SSD configuration in OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini

RAID-4 (fault tolerance)

RAID-4 is 16% faster than RAID-5 for reads.

The best possible performance one can expect from RAID-4/RAID-5 consisting of N drives is the performance of N-1 drives in a RAID-0 stripe.

The performance here comes within a few percent of that asymptote with RAID-4 (RAID-5 is close, but slower on reads than RAID-4). Many if not most hardware RAID solutions often fail to do anywhere near that well.

This is the best 4-drive RAID-4 performance MPG has ever seen with Thunderbolt 2 (or from any external SSD). It sets the new benchmark.

  • RAID-4 Read performance flatlines at 1224 MB/sec
  • RAID-4 Write performance flatlines at 853 MB/sec

The RAID-4 performance is outstanding in two ways:

  • Flat line consistency across the entire 29.8TB volume.
  • Data rates within a few percent of the theoretical speed.

It’s a superlative performance from four SSDs in the Thunderbay 4 Mini with SoftRAID.

Tested using a> disktester fill-volume --xfer 128M with diglloydTools disktester

Graph shows writes read filling the volume to 99% capacity with 1000 test files.

RAID-0: Write @ 1137 MiB/sec = 1192 MB/sec, Read @ 1359 MiB/sec = 1425 MB/sec
RAID-4: Write @ 814 MiB/sec = 853 MB/sec, Read @ 1167 MiB/sec = 1224 MB/sec
RAID-5: Write @ 814 MiB/sec = 854 MB/sec, Read @ 1003 MiB/sec = 1052 MB/sec

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