OWC this week began to ship its ThunderBlade external SSDs with a Thunderbolt 3 interface. The new DAS can deliver up to 2800 MB/s read speeds, which is beyond what even USB 3.1 Gen 2 can offer and is designed to play into the bandwidth advantages of TB3. Meanwhile, two ThunderBlades can be run in OWC’s proprietary SoftRAID mode to take a full advantage of the TB3 bus at up to 3800 MB/s.

OWC’s ThunderBlade DAS devices are available in 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB and 8 TB configurations. Based on the images that OWC demonstrates, all the models are based on four Mercury M.2 SSDs (Silicon Motion SM2260, LDPC, 3D MLC NAND) working in concert (think software-based RAID, but this is not something that OWC confirms). The manufacturer specs its ThunderBlade storage devices for up to 2800 MB/s sequential read speed as well as up to 2450 MB/s sequential write speed, which must be sustained speeds.

Customers who need additional capacity can daisy chain up to six ThunderBlade DAS devices to get up to 48 TB of solid-state storage, whereas clients who need extra performance can run two ThunderBlades in the SoftRAID mode (once deployed for particular drives, they can be used on all types of PCs no matter which OS they use) to get up to 3800 MB/s transfer speeds. Keep in mind though that to get maximum throughput, one needs to connect the drives to ports featuring full TB3 bandwidth (i.e., don't connect them to the right-hand TB3 ports of 13-inch MBPs as they have reduced PCIe bandwidth, which is what OWC does on the picture below).

Since relatively portable DAS are usually transported with high-performance laptops to shooting locations, the OWC ThunderBlade drives come in a rugged enclosure made of metal that also acts like a cooling system for the NVMe SSDs.

The OWC ThunderBlade DAS
  1 TB 2 TB 4 TB 8 TB
Number of Drives 4
Internal RAID ?
Sustained Read Speed 2800 MB/s
3800 MB/s with SoftRAID (two DAS are needed)
Sustained Write Speed 2450 MB/s
Ports 2 × Thunderbolt 3
PSU external
Dimensions Width 12.3 cm | 4.9 inch
Length 19.2 cm | 7.5 inch
Height 3 cm | 1.2 inch
Weight 0.7 kg | 1.8 lb
Cables Included Thunderbolt 40Gb/s cable
power adapter + cord
Compatibility macOS 10.13 or later
Windows 10 or later
Price (MSRP) $1,199.99 $1,749.99 $2,799.99 $4,999.99

The new DAS are designed for customers working on Ultra HD video and/or VR content and who need external storage devices with extreme speeds as well as enhanced reliability. Therefore, prices of the drives are fairly high. OWC’s ThunderBlade are available from the manufacturer at MSRPs from $1,199 to $4,999.

Related Reading:

Source: OWC

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  • ಬುಲ್ವಿಂಕಲ್ ಜೆ ಮೂಸ್ - Friday, April 13, 2018 - link

    Yesterday was G-Drive and now Thunderblade

    Both touted as the solution for high performance Video Editing

    So how fast can you copy and paste 100GB over a single Thunderbolt "serial" connection

    First copy and paste to and from the same drive
    Next copy and paste from one drive to a second drive but having both on a single serial connection

    I think the specs on these are entirely misleading

    You might hit 2800MB/sec and 2400MB/sec peak but not in both directions simultaneously during copy/paste test

    You would be lucky if they can hit 1000MB/sec in a copy/paste scenario

    Now, who wants to test them?
  • MDD1963 - Friday, April 13, 2018 - link

    The high 3800 MB/sec claim for two drives is with a pair of them RAIDED thru their software, and TB3 (40 Gigabit/sec, or 5 GB/sec) is faster than a single SSD,
  • ಬುಲ್ವಿಂಕಲ್ ಜೆ ಮೂಸ್ - Friday, April 13, 2018 - link

    Not relevant to the copy/paste question

    If you are not aware that a Samsung 850 Pro can copy and past to the same drive twice as fast as a Samsung 840 Pro or that synthetic tests give different results than real world data, then its time to do some testing on a single Thunderbolt line using one drive and then two

    Real World testing usually gives much better results than just talking!
  • ಬುಲ್ವಿಂಕಲ್ ಜೆ ಮೂಸ್ - Friday, April 13, 2018 - link

    Nice looking drive though....
    If it were a computer case, I might buy it
  • Hurr Durr - Saturday, April 14, 2018 - link

    >usual muh copypaste screeching

    Nobody is bying your XP bastardization, psycho.
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