Anyone that uses a Mac knows that there aren't many options out there to use RAID 5 enabled storage solutions. Apart from the Drobo, I can't really think of a single device that supports RAID 5 for OS X. Today, that changes, as OWC has now come back with its popular ThunderBay IV introducing a RAID 5 Edition.
The ThunderBay IV RAID 5 Edition is quite similar, or in fact, is the exact same device as the ThunderBay IV. On the back of this solution, we have dual Thunderbolt 2 ports, along with a 92mm cooling fan. Being that this is the same basic design as the original ThunderBay IV, we still have the all-aluminium design with a locking mesh front panel.
Accordingly, with this being the same enclosure we reviewed a few months back, albeit with a new RAID 5 option, we will only be testing the new capabilities of this solution here today. You can read the original review here.
MSRP of the OWC ThunderBay IV RAID 5 Edition is set at $649.99 with a one-year warranty.
The RAID 5 Edition carries on the same design as the original ThunderBay IV. Up front we have a black mesh panel to allow adequate cooling.
The back of the ThunderBay houses dual Thunderbolt 2 ports, along with the power connection. In the center, we have a 92mm cooling fan, and a Kensington lock to the right.
The drive trays for the ThunderBay are lettered and made out of steel.
Scope of delivery for the ThunderBay IV includes the Thunderbolt cable, power cord, screws, and reading materials.
In our first test run, we loaded up Black Magic Design, and gave the ThunderBay a run through. Read performance came in at 530 MB/s, with write performance reaching 207 MB/s.
Next, we loaded up AJA System test and ran the ThunderBay through our 720p workload. As you can see, read performance hovered around 650 MB/s, while write performance hovered around 400, but peaked at 500 MB/s.
Our charts began to calm down quite a bit switching over to 1080p. Here read performance hovered around 600, but peaked at 900 MB/s for a split second. Write performance on the other hand was pretty steady around 200 MB/s, peaking around 400 MB/s.
Moving on, we loaded up our 4K workload, and watched as the ThunderBay turned in 600 MB/s reads and 200 MB/s writes.
The ThunderBay IV is a very well built storage solution from OWC, and it certainly is nice to see them offer up a RAID 5 option for those wanting a bit of data redundancy, even if it is SoftRAID. For those that do use OS X, you have most likely heard of SoftRAID, as it is certainly one of the best solutions available at this point in time.
Moving over to performance, I was quite happy to see the ThunderBay IV with the included Toshiba 3TB drives our unit came with reach 600 MB/s on several occasions. While 720p testing results were certainly all over the place, moving from 550 MB/s to 650 MB/s, they began to even out within 1080p, and subsequently 4K testing coming in at 600 MB/s.
For those that may have already purchased the ThunderBay IV before it was offered up as a RAID 5 solution, it may be easier if you want the option to purchase the SoftRAID application from the vendor, rather than spending an additional $649.99 to get a separate, new enclosure.