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Thunderbay Mini with SSDs as a Photoshop Scratch Disk

OWC Thunderbay Mini

Thunderbay Mini configurations start at about $379 without drives. Thunderbay Mini RAID-5 edition also available.

MPG tested the real-world speed using Photoshop CC 2014 with the diglloydHuge benchmark.

The diglloyd Huge benchmark uses a mix of the core Photoshop operations with a file size that requires about 56GB of memory usage in Photoshop.

With only 16GB of memory in the MacBook Pro Retina (the max), performance depends mainly on the speed of the Photoshop scratch drive.

The built-in 1TB SSD on the MacBook Pro Retina is a very fast SSD. But as shown, a 4-drive SSD stripe in the OWC Thunderbay Mini is significantly faster for Photoshop than the Apple 1TB SSD, a result strongly suggested by the very high bandwidth seen in other tests. A RAID-5 fault-tolerant configuration delivers very good performance, though at a lower level than the other two.

OWC Thunderbay Mini performance: Photoshop scratch disk vs MacBook Pro Retina 1TB internal SSD

Speed and capacity

Photoshop users with maxed-out memory or anyone looking for maximum I/O speed will find the Thunderbay Mini with OWC Extreme Pro 6G SSDs an attractive solution, both for speed and higher capacity.

As a RAID-0 stripe setup, the Thunderbay Mini has lots of capacity range:

  • 4 X 240GB = 960 GB (largest Apple SSD in any Mac, deeming it “1TB”)
  • 4 X 480GB = 1.92 TB
  • 4 X 960GB = 3.84 TB

Multiply the above numbers by 0.75 for a RAID-5 configuration (one drive is used as parity).


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