Long time readers know that I have reviewed several different Thunderbolt storage (and other) devices from diverse manufacturers. One of those is OWC, aka Other World Computing. I am now honored to be invited to review their new ThunderBay IV 4-bay 12TB Thunderbolt, system, which can be configured in several different ways and promises to offer quite a punch for its relatively low —and even palindromic— price of US$979. Here’s a first look.
Since the ThunderBay IV 4-bay 12TB Thunderbolt system comes with four drives, a very quick mental calculation indicates that each drive must be 3TB each, and that’s how the total capacity (when unformatted) is 12TB. Which drives is OWC bundling with this unit? They are Toshiba DT01ACA300 7200 rpm 3.5 inch hard disk drives, with a SATA interface.
The ThunderBay IV has an aluminum enclosure. OWC says that the enclosure protects the four internal drives while keeping them cool thanks to its “superior heat dissipation”. There is a locking faceplate to keep the drives secure. There are electronics in the enclosure that convert the SATA ports on the removable drives to Thunderbolt on the back.
OWC states that the ThunderBay IV 4-bay 12TB Thunderbolt system offers sustained reading speeds of 894MB/s (using software RAID) and writing speeds of 863MB/s. The capital B indicates that these are megabytes per second, not megabits per second. Not only is this more than enough for multiple layers of realtime uncompressed 1080p, mathematically it is also enough for multiple layers of true 4K (4096 x 2160) using ProRes 422 HQ. When I do the full review, I’ll be testing the actual speeds and actual performance with my own equipment.
As you may recall from some of my prior Thunderbolt articles and reviews, some Thunderbolt devices are endpoint, meaning they can’t be looped (daisy chained) with other Thunderbolt devices. Since the ThunderBay IV 4-bay 12TB system has looping, you can daisy chain up to six devices plus one monitor, and (unlike many other Thunderbolt devices I have covered), includes a certified, double-shielded 1 Meter Thunderbolt cable.
At present, the ThunderBay IV 4-bay 12TB system offers the options for JBOD (Just a bunch of disks), and one type of RAID. However, there are more features coming in an upcoming —yet unannounced— software update. It is exciting to get all of that storage and performance for US$979. Stay tuned.
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