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


In our last battery of tests, we have set up SoftRAID‘ RAID 5, an exclusive software application that can be purchased with the Thunderbay 4.  Reiterating what we stated earlier, RAID 5 is a striped volume and provides increased speeds commensurate with that.  In our 4 drive configuration, the volume of three drives will typically be used while redundancy confirms data security of the volume.  Remember… should one drive go bad, it can be hot swapped without loss of any data whatsoever. As well, this software is only available for OSX.

SoftRAID Welcome

The opening page of the software identifies the version number and we can attest to the fact that it gets regular updates as we just received notification of one.  Also, you may notice the ‘beta testing’ notification on the bottom which is for our use only.

RAID 4 RAID Options

The main screen identifies the volumes that can be included in the RAID configuration and one can simply right-click for individual drive options, or drag and drop the drive to the right.  We grabbed this shot of the menu screen to show how detailed this software really is.

RAID 5 Optimization

As shown in this screenshot, RAID 5 can be optimized for several different RAID environments.  Now let’s take a look at the tests…

RAID5 QuickBench

Highs of 536MB/s read and 534MB/s write are decent, especially considering we are using 3 hard drives to achieve this.  It doesn’t quite reach OWC specifications that list 675MB/s read and 618MB/s write though.  This could be the result of their use of the dual ThunderBolt 2 MacBook Pro, whereas our iMac uses dual port single ThunderBolt.

RAID5 ZoneBench

We probably wouldn’t have included this, but for the fact that we have displayed it previously and merits comparison for some.

RAID5 DiskSpeed

Once again, Disk Speed Test pushes a bit harder and the results are evident .


  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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