OWC THUNDERBLADE V4 DISASSEMBLY
Disassembly of the ThunderBlade V4 is accomplished by removing the four screws hidden underneath the four rubber posts on the base of the unit. This picture displays the four posts and screws top left and the blue PCB that becomes evident as the base plate is removed.
After removing the four screws that secure the PCB to the case, we can see that the ThunderBlade V4 contains four M.2 SSDs and blue thermal paste which dissipates the heat generated from the SSDs and other ic’s to the exterior case by way of the external case heat sink fins.
The SSDs are screwed into the PCB and are PCIe Gen 3 x 4 and contain the SMI SM2260G 8-channel controller, NANYA 256mb cache and 4 unbranded memory modules that would be 256GB RAW each for a 1TB size for each SSD.
The SMI controller follows the NVMe 1.2 protocol and contains the LDPC (low-density parity check) ECC algorithm. What is very unique about this device is that no active cooling is required, and further, even through vigorous testing, the external casing only became somewhat warm to the touch.
Something else rather interesting is that we did some testing and the SSDs are upgradeable should you require additional storage later on. We successfully swapped the included SSDs with that of two competitors and found all worked perfectly, but for the necessity to reformat and RAID the new volume each time of course.
These SSDs are then routed through an Intel JHL 6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller and to a system which can accommodate Thunderbolt 3. With respect to PC’s, we found that our HP Spectre laptop had Thunderbolt 3 and only specific desktop motherboards have Thunderbolt 3 capabilities where an additional Thunderbolt 3 AIC (add in card) is necessary.
Thunderbolt 3 motherboards will have a switch within the UEFI, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 port to attach a cable from the AIC to the motherboard.