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OWC Thunderbay 4 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.

The OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini houses four 2.5-inch hard drives or SSDs in an aluminum case via Thunderbolt 2. OWC supplies a one-meter Thunderbolt cable with the Thunderbay. The unit is bootable for OS X.

See the MPG review of the OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini for the particulars of the OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini enclosure.

About two years after the debut of the OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini, OWC began offering the Thunderbay Mini RAID-5 edition in November 2016 with SSD capacities from 1TB to a whopping forty terabytes (40TB).

MPG tested the about $28000 40TB OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini RAID Edition , consisting of the OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini chassis plus four 10TB Sage Micro “BlackDisk Series” SSDs in the four bays of the Thunderbay 4 Mini.

Sage Micro 10TB SSD mounted in carrier for OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini


40 terabytes!

Who needs 40TB of SSD storage (30TB as RAID-5)? Any professional shooting 4K or 6K or 8K raw video footage. Huge databases, huge collections of photos or sound and so on. Anything where high bandwidth and huge capacity in a compact form factor. For valuable data (e.g. movie footage that cannot be re-shot), it might make sense to have more than one unit for backup purposes in the field. For the right uses the capacity and form factor are unbeatable, and the price is just part of the cost of doing that kind of work.

On top of the huge capacity and extreme performance (about 1200 MB/sec across the 40TB capacity), the OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini is diminutive and very lightweight for the capacity it offers. It can easily fit into small bag, perhaps even into a briefcase. That makes it an incredibly powerful tool for any video professional or similar requiring huge capacity while on shoots. Or airline travel where bulk and weight count.

The next closest thing would be the 40TB OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID Edition, which is quite a bit bulkier and much heavier. But at about $2997 it offers as much capacity in a hard drive format at about 1/9 the cost (and lower performance that drops steadily as the capacity fills, as all hard drives solutions do).

This graphic depicts the relative capacities of a 1TB SSD versus the OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini 40TB SSD. MPG will be testing this 40TB monster starting today. Wow!

Circles whose areas represent 1TB and 40TB


The OWC Thunderbay Mini RAID-5 edition is a solution consisting of the unit itself along withe SoftRAID, which offers JBOD*, RAID-0, RAID-1, RAID1+0, RAID-R, RAID-5 capabilities. Its software RAID approach offers performance up to the limits of the hardware, far faster than many if not most hardware solutions (and much more flexible too).

The Thunderbay Mini hardware is a JBOD* solution: the system sees all four drives as separate drives. JBOD is flexible in that it allows RAID-0, RAID-1, RAID 1+0 and RAID-5 via software, but also supports single drives/volumes. And of course, partitioning can be done whether RAID is used or not.

* JBOD = Just a Bunch of Disks; the SSDs can be used singly (non RAID) if desired.

Below, the four SSDs are setup as a 40TB RAID-0 stripe and/or a 30TB RAID-5.

40TB RAID-0 SSD stripe and 30TB RAID-5 SSD in OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini
OWC Thunderbay Mini
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