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OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini Overview
Related: Other World Computing, OWC Thunderbay, OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini, RAID, storage, Thunderbay 4 Mini, Thunderbolt, video
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.
OWC sells and supports a RAID-5 edition of the Thunderbay Mini as a complete software/hardware solution. Otherwise, software RAID is achieved via Apple’s Disk Utility or via Soft RAID, including RAID-5 (SoftRAID 5 only).
The Thunderbay Mini 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, meaning each drive is seen independently.
The fan is quiet but can be heard if the unit is placed on the desktop.
Update December 2015: WOW—the Thunderbay 4 mini is so quiet that when MPG first turned it on, it seemed defective—no noise! To hear the fan, an ear must be placed next to the unit, or the room must be dead quiet.
Finished in a black semi-smooth finish which should hold up well to wear.
The power supply is external with a power brick (unlike its larger Thunderbay 4 sibling, which uses an internal power supply).
The front grill can be locked if desired using the supplied keys.
Status lights on the front indicate the status of each drive, labeled A/B/C/D.
Visible through the front grill are the four bays. OWC sells extra drive carries, and the unit can be used to swap drives out, e.g., for backup purposes.
Drives (SSD or hard drives) are screwed into metal sleds, which then insert into the unit—exactly the same as the Thunderbay 4, but in a 2.5-inch form factor.