Thunderbay 4 vs Thunder2 vs 2big

carljohnston28

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
33
1
Hi everyone!

I'm looking to get a RAID storage unit and I'm stuck between these units:

1) OWC Thunderbay 4

2) Akitio Thunder2

3) LaCie 2big

Anyone have any recommendations? I'm not super knowledgable in RAID enclosures but I know the low-end solutions have some pretty bad reviews and I want something reliable that will last me a long time (besides the harddrives of course!)

Thunder2 seems to be the cheapest option.
 

ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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Are you thinking about hardware RAID? Large drives and RAID5 don't mix well real world, and if you are going to simply RAID0 a couple drives for performance and mirror the set, then disk utility can easily handle that and you can save some $$. Personally, for home use, I've moved entirely away from proprietary and slow to recover hardware RAIDs. I use CCC to backup the RAID0 set instead of mirror because I can stand a little down time and like the file archives.

Those three are decent products, your call. I've been using the OWC stuff for years and its been pretty good.
 

carljohnston28

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
33
1
I really just want a reliable backup solution.

External hard drives seem to be so unreliable that I figured a RAID1 or RAID5 setup was the way to go.
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
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I really just want a reliable backup solution.

External hard drives seem to be so unreliable that I figured a RAID1 or RAID5 setup was the way to go.
Personally, I've got two of the Thunderbay IVs (the TB1 predecessor) and they are excellent.
 

hfg

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Dec 1, 2006
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Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
Personally, I've got two of the Thunderbay IVs (the TB1 predecessor) and they are excellent.
I also have two of the original ThunderBay IV units and am quite happy with mine as well. Am thinking of getting one of the 4 drive Mini ThunderBay as well. I have a Akitio Thunder Duo box which works quite well too for 2 drives.
 

ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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I really just want a reliable backup solution.

External hard drives seem to be so unreliable that I figured a RAID1 or RAID5 setup was the way to go.
Don't bother with RAID5, just use RAID 1 mirror if you must. I find just using something like CCC for backup to one or two alternate drives has its advantages over mirrored drives. Look for NAS or enterprise drives for those enclosures, not desktops as desktops are not a resistant to the vibration.
 

carljohnston28

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
33
1
Gotcha.

Aren't these drives RAID 1?

Do you guys know why the Thunderbay is so much more expensive than the Thunder2?
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
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Aren't these drives RAID 1?
RAID1 involves a pair of drives. With a 4-bay setup, you can setup RAID10

Do you guys know why the Thunderbay is so much more expensive than the Thunder2?
The price difference between the two isn't much. Are you comparing the Thunderbay 4 RAID edition with the Akitio Thunder2? If so, then the OWC product has RAID software bundled with the enclosure...
 

ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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Gotcha.

Aren't these drives RAID 1?

Do you guys know why the Thunderbay is so much more expensive than the Thunder2?
I buy plain TB JBOD enclosures and use disk utility to RAID1 (mirror) or RAID0 (stripped performance). Works very well and the disks are portable to any Mac or enclosure.

In the case of the less expensive ($427) OWC RAID ready (non RAID) 4 bay enclosure, you can install two drives you like and when you format them you can tell disk utility to set them up as a mirror set. The OS will mount the pair just like a single volume. The other two slots you leave empty or populate as you wish. For example, I have two 2TB drive in RAID0 for 4TB of performance storage, a 4TB drive to backup to the RAID set, and a SSD for scratch.

With the more expensive ($499) OWC RAID Thunderbays you are buying softraid, I think, which is a software RAID app with more features than disk utility. These features are more useful in an enterprise environment.

Other RAID type enclosure have hardware RAID built into the enclosure that format the drives in a proprietary manner. There are several of these about, models range from two to at least 8 drives installed.
 

carljohnston28

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
33
1
Oh okay I see.

Why is a RAID enclosure like Thunder2 or Thunderbay 4 so much more expensive than something like a Sans Digital or Mediasonic RAID enclosure?

What is TB JBOD?
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
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Oh okay I see.

Why is a RAID enclosure like Thunder2 or Thunderbay 4 so much more expensive than something like a Sans Digital or Mediasonic RAID enclosure?

What is TB JBOD?
Because the cheap RAID enclosures only offer slower interfaces via USB and eSATA. Thunderbolt enclosures like the Thunderbay 4 deliver much better speeds.

TB JBOD means Thunderbolt Just-a-Bunch-Of-Disks, which is a configuration where all the attached hard drives appear on your desktop as separate hard drives. Whereas with RAID, a number of hard drives (from 2 to 8 for example) are combined into one 'hard drive' volume.
 

ZeusMutation

macrumors newbie
Feb 25, 2015
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TB JBOD means Thunderbolt Just-a-Bunch-Of-Disks, which is a configuration where all the attached hard drives appear on your desktop as separate hard drives. Whereas with RAID, a number of hard drives (from 2 to 8 for example) are combined into one 'hard drive' volume.



Is there any advantages to being individual hard drives?
Would this allow for 1 to go bad and not affect the others?
Are the speeds the same when individual vs a form of RAID?
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
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Is there any advantages to being individual hard drives?
Not particularly. I prefer using RAID to improve speed and give my storage some redundancy.

Would this allow for 1 to go bad and not affect the others?
If a drive goes bad, you've lost ALL the data on that drive unless you've backed it up elsewhere. With RAID modes like RAID1 or 5 or 10, you can lose a drive, and it will rebuild the array after you replace the dead hard drive.

Are the speeds the same when individual vs a form of RAID?
No, when individual the speeds are just regular hard drive speeds, with RAID5 or 10 you get anything from double to triple the speed.
 

carljohnston28

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
33
1
Thanks so much for your help matreya!

If I don't care about speed so much (just backing up at home occasionally) would the quality difference for the Thunderbay/Thunder2 be much better than something like a Mediasonic/Sans Digital?
 

ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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Quality difference is subjective. USB3 enclosures have their quirks. eSATA may work better, but do you have an eSATA port on your computer?

A standalone USB3 drive, like the Seagate Backup Plus 4 or 5TB (less than $150) is good enough for backups. How much storage did you say you need?

Don't be thinking you need RAID for backup just for the sake of RAID. It just takes so long to recover from a fault and combined with todays inexpensive large drives, RAID does not make much sense for most. They do have their place for performance or massive amounts of storage volumes in an enterprise.
 

carljohnston28

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
33
1
Ah! That's exactly what I was thinking!

I thought I wanted RAID for redundancy.

I have USB 3 but not eSata. I have a retina Macbook Pro 15".

What's a guy to do when external hard drives have such high rates of failure?

Multiple external harddrives?
 

matreya

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
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Ah! That's exactly what I was thinking!

I thought I wanted RAID for redundancy.

I have USB 3 but not eSata. I have a retina Macbook Pro 15".

What's a guy to do when external hard drives have such high rates of failure?

Multiple external harddrives?
There's no such thing as a flawless hard drive, they all fail given time..

So yeah, multiple hard drives are a good measure. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to mirror my important files on separate RAID5 arrays.