For years, high performance or high capacity external storage was a painful struggle, first with Firewire 400 / 800 (yuck beyond words, fried ports, unreliable cabling), then eSATA (unreliable cables in multi-drive setups, driver kernel panics for a time), miniSAS (obnoxious PCIe card, very expensive and Mac Pro only), and now USB 3: Apple USB3 driver bugs persist to this day, it’s not a good choice for multiple external enclosure RAID though fine for single drives.
It’s simple: you want one unit that is fast, reliable expandable and quiet from a company that knows and tests for and supports Macs. The OWC Thunderbay is what I wanted all those years. Which is why I purchased five of them for all my storage needs.
MPG has observed that there is still confusion out there on the best choice for a Mac with Thunderbolt (reader feedback).
Whether you have a Mac Pro or iMac or MacBook Pro, a quality investment is the way to go: skip the multiple-USB3 hassle or dual drive stuff and just standardize on one or more Thunderbay units (this comment is not addressed at travel needs or single drive backups and so on, but main storage for serious users).
With one Thunderbay, most users can have a main Master drive (main storage, master copies), an Archive volume (overflow as Master fills up over time), a Time Machine backup volume and a spare drive/volume left over. Or RAID-5, and RAID-5 can be partitioned or not. And so on. Beautifully flexible.
For most users, the original $379 original (Thunderbolt v1) Thunderbay IV (“add your own drives” unit) is the deal—one reliable box to stuff drives into. Get the Thunderbolt 4 (Thunderbolt 2) for higher daisy-chained setups and/or get one preconfigured with or without RAID-5, and get extra Thunderbay drive sleds for swapping drives to expand the versatility even more.