OWC ThunderBay 4 RAID5 Edition Review – Speed, Capacity and Data Security


For our testing of the OWC ThunderBay 4, we will be using our Z97 Test Bench which has the ASRock Extreme11/ac motherboard at its heart.  This motherboard contains dual ThunderBolt 2 ports which should enable our testing of the ThunderBay 4 at maximum speeds.  Please be aware that the ThunderBay 4 is fine tuned for dual ThunderBolt 2 in an OSX environment, that of which only the newest MacBook Pro can provide.

Z97 Test Bench30

Unfortunately, we aren’t equipped with that system and, in this instance, will be using our MacBook Air and iMac, both newest versions to date. Both Mac systems are equipped with ThunderBolt, the MBA a single with the iMac dual port, however both are ThunderBolt capable of a 10Gbps connection only.

iMac with ThunderBay4

This is a brand new test bench and, as such, we would love to thank those who jumped in specifically to help the cause.  Key contributors to this build are our friends at ASRock, Corsair, Kingston with components from past contributors to include In-Win, EVGA, beQuiet, Plextor, SamsungQNIX and RamCity, this still being a key resource in the acquisition of the XP941.  We have detailed all components in the table below and they are all linked should you wish to make a duplicate our system as so many seem to do, or check out the price of any soul component.  As always, we appreciate your support in any purchase though our links!


This Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to the below mentioned manufacturers for their support in our project.  Our choice of components is very narrow, in that, we choose only what we believe to be among the best available and links are provided to each that will assist in hardware pricing and availability, should the reader be interested in purchase.

PC CHASSIS: InWin D-Frame Open Air Chassisblankblank
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Socket 1150blank
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790blank
CPU COOLER: Corsair Hydro Series H105 Extreme Water Cooledblank
POWER SUPPLY: be quiet Dark Power Pro 10 1000W PSUblankblank
SYSTEM COOLING: be quiet Silent Wings 2 PC Fansblank
GRAPHICS CARD: EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked with ACX Coolerblankblank
MEMORY: Kingston HyperX Beastblank
KEYBOARD: Corsair Vengeance K95 Mechanical Gaming Keyboardblank
MOUSE: Corsair Vengeance M95 MMO/RTS Laser Mouseblank
MONITOR: QNIX 27? QX2710 2560×1440blank
HBA HighPoint RocketU 1144C 4 x USB 3.0 20Gb/s HBAblank



We will be testing in both PC and Mac environments today.  Our range of benchmark software will include ATTO and Crystal DiskMark for PC, along with Disk Speed Test, QuickBench and Zone bench for the Mac. In consumer reports, we prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.


Our hard drive media for today’s report consists of four 3TB Toshiba 3,5″ DT01ACA300 consumer hard drives.  This hard drive is a 7200RPM SATA 3 hard drive with a 64MB cache and contains 3 platters, 1TB per platter.  It can be found at Amazon for $139, is considered a low power HDD solution at 6.4W active and 3.7W idle, and should be capable of just under 200MB/s throughput.

Toshiba 3TB 7200RPM 6GBPS DT01ACA300 HDD

For SSD testing, we will be using OWC’s own Mercury Electra 6G 240GB capacity SSD in its newest 7mm format.  The Electra 6G is capable of SATA 3 speeds above 500MB/s and up to 60K IOPS.  While the Toshiba HDD has a disk access time of .5ms, the Electra is much lower at .1ms.

OWC Toshiba Storage Mix

As the ThunderBay 4 is designed for a 3.5″ form factor, we will also be using 4 x Newertech AdaptaDrive adapters.  The AdaptaDrive is of metal construction with a SATA 3 connector on the end, and is priced around $14 per.

NewerTech AdaptaDrive2


  1. blank

    nice, isnt there still a little risk of loosing all data of the discs, when the controller of the thunderbay is dying?

  2. blank

    Wow. 500 dollars for a jbod device.

    • blank

      It comes with Softraid full software worth 180$ usd. So this unit is fair priced.

    • blank

      Not sure about the older units but the one I just bought came with the limited SoftRAID for ThunderBay version which only lets you manipulate drives that are contained within the ThunderBay. It’s plenty powerful for managing those volumes and it seems like a fair deal considering how overbuilt the enclosure is but I would liked to have seen it come with the full software. Upgrading from SRFTB is $99.00.

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