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


 The OWC ThunderBay 4 Dual ThunderBolt 2 storage device enters the market as a very attractive add-on to any media professional’s environment.  Not only is it capable of single capacities up to 20TB in a very compact single package, but also, its dual ThunderBolt 2 ports allow so much more.  One can daisy chain several ThunderBay’s for enormous end capacity, add-on 4K displays for the ultimate in media work, or use SSDs and connect this to the MacBook Pro for just under 1.4GB/s transfer speed performance, this being key to 4K media editing.

OWC ThunderBay 4 Front Angle

Top performance of the ThunderBay 4 with four SSDs is listed at 1342MB/s, but this is only possible with a device capable of data transfer through a ThunderBolt 2 cable that only the MacBook Pro has in the Mac environment at present.  Our efforts to match that with our test system saw highs of a questionable 1.2GB/s, but definitely above the 1GB/s mark; we could not reach 1342MB/s.  We spoke with OWC at length with respect to this and asked them to run a test and send us the result:

OWC performance

Although this is not our independent test result, it merits posting as we are not in possession of the newest MacBook Pro that would provide for this result.  It definitely validates claims of just under 1.4GB/s transfer speeds.

OWC ThunderBay 4 Back Angled

OWC’s option to include SoftRAID RAID 5 is definitely a very attractive option to the media professional.  RAID 5 is a striped RAID and provides optimum RAID speeds for 3 of the 4 drives in use, or 75% of the space.  The remainder is utilized to provide redundancy that is critical should a hard drive fail.  If one were to fail while in the ThunderBay 4 RAID5 Edition, it could simply be hot swapped and absolutely no information is lost.  Speed, capacity and data security; how much better does it get?

 For us….  Performance above and beyond SATA 3 with 11TB of additional storage and the ability to attach a 4K monitor, all the while in such a small footprint, means this baby is going to be hard as heck to get back to OWC!

Check out the OWC website for pricing on the ThunderBay 4 JBOD RAID Ready version, as well as the ThunderBay 4 RAID-5 pre-configured version


TSSDR Innovation award

Review Overview

ThunderBay 4 Build
Product Features
Warranty (3 Year)

Capacity, Speed and Data Security!

OWC's ThunderBay 4 brings to the market capacities that have yet to be seen in such a compact medium, as well as the performance and data security that only RAID 5 can provide!

User Rating: 4.8 ( 1 votes)


  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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