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Best Thunderbolt RAID Storage [2022]

Best Thunderbolt Raid 1

A Thunderbolt RAID storage offers the benefits of faster speed and unmatched data reliability. It combines the blazing-fast data transfer speed of Thunderbolt with the dependability of RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). To put it simply, RAID maintains multiple copies of your data on different drives. So even if one drive fails, the data is available from its copy.

The hard drive of a computer or an external hard drive gives you plenty of storage to meet your need. You can easily upgrade these devices as your storage needs grow. In fact, external hard drives also come with the added benefit of portability. As do USB flash drives, and they are far more compact compared to external drives. So, it is easy to think your storage needs are well taken care of by these devices.

However, despite their many advantages, these devices are vulnerable to data corruption due to various reasons. The reasons could range from hard drive crashes and system failures to ransomware attacks and even human error.

This would mean the loss of your photo albums, movie collections, or data file for most users. And at enterprise levels, this could mean the loss of sensitive and invaluable data. Whereas, video editors and content creators could lose hours of content that involved meticulous planning and coordination.

Of course, Thunderbolt RAID storages have their own set of limitations. In more ways than one, they are not pocket friendly. These are expensive and bulky. But the benefits far outweigh the limitations.

We have rounded up the Best Thunderbolt RAID storage devices on the market to suit every need. We will review each one and then move on to our buying guide. Finally, we will close by answering some frequently asked questions about such devices.

Comparison of the Best Thunderbolt RAID storage

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
SanDisk Professional 12TB G-RAID 2 on Amazon
SanDisk Professional 12TB G-RAID 2 RAID Level: 0 and 1
RAID Type: Hardware RAID
JBOD: Yes
Thunderbolt Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3
Capacity: 8TB, 12TB, 24TB, 36TB, and 40TB
Drive Bays: 2
Buy on Amazon
OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini on Amazon
OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini RAID Level: 0, 1, 4, 5, and 1+0 (10)
RAID Type: Software RAID
JBOD: Yes
Thunderbolt Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3
Capacity: 2TB, 4TB, 8TB, and 16TB
Drive Bays: 4
Buy on Amazon
TERRAMASTER D5 on Amazon
TERRAMASTER D5 RAID Level: 0, 1, 5, and 1+0 (10)
RAID Type: Software RAID
JBOD: Yes
Thunderbolt Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3
Capacity: Diskless
Drive Bays: 5
Buy on Amazon
LaCie 2big Dock RAID on Amazon
LaCie 2big Dock RAID RAID Level: 0 and 1
RAID Type: Hardware RAID
JBOD: No
Thunderbolt Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3
Capacity: 8TB, 12TB, 16TB, 20TB, 28TB, and 32TB
Drive Bays: 2
Buy on Amazon
Glyph Atom on Amazon
Glyph Atom RAID Level: 0 and 1
RAID Type: Hardware RAID
JBOD: No
Thunderbolt Ports: 1 x Thunderbolt 3
Capacity: 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB
Drive Bays: 2
Buy on Amazon
G-Speed Shuttle on Amazon
G-Speed Shuttle RAID Level: 0, 1, 5 and 1+0 (10)
RAID Type: Hardware RAID
JBOD: Yes
Thunderbolt Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3
Capacity: 20TB, and 24TB
Drive Bays: 4
Buy on Amazon
Promise Pegasus32 R8 on Amazon
Promise Pegasus32 R8 RAID Level: 0, 1, 5, 6, 1+0 (10), 50 and 60
RAID Type: Hardware RAID
JBOD: Yes
Thunderbolt Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3
Capacity: 32TB
Drive Bays: 8
Buy on Amazon
OWC Mercury Elite Pro on Amazon
OWC Mercury Elite Pro RAID Level: 0 and 1
RAID Type: Hardware RAID
JBOD: Yes
Thunderbolt Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3
Capacity: 4TB, 8TB, 12TB, 16TB, 24TB, 28TB, 36TB and Diskless
Drive Bays: 2
Buy on Amazon

1. SanDisk Professional 12TB G-RAID 2 – Best Overall

The G-RAID 2 finds a mention on every Best Thunderbolt RAID Storage list. It has good reason to. It looks good, offers excellent utility, and comes at a reasonable price.

SanDisk offers the G-RAID 2 with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, and an HDMI port. Thus, you can daisy-chain up to five devices when you want to scale up operations or connect a 4K display.

You can access the two hard drive bays by opening the fold-out front panel with an illuminated brand logo. These bays house the two 7200RPM Ultrastar hard disks from Western Digital that assist workflow and add to reliability. And the G-RAID 2 offers a speed of 500MB/s for read-write operations.

The device offers RAID 0 right out of the box. And using the Hardware RAID controller, you can configure this to choose a more reliable RAID 1. Alternately, the G-RAID 2 offers a JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks) option that frees up the entire storage for added flexibility.

The design features an aluminum body that keeps the device light and protects the delicate HDDs it houses. It comes in five capacity variants, between 8TB and 40TB, and it works flawlessly with Mac and Windows. Finally, SanDisk offers you great peace of mind with a 5-year warranty.

Our Take

The G-RAID 2 is an excellent choice for users who have never used RAID storage. It offers RAID 0 and RAID 1, the most vital forms of RAID implementation. Thus, it provides reliability and couples that with a 5-year warranty to provide you with peace of mind.

PROS
  • Elegant design that adds to the aesthetic of your workstation.
  • RAID 0 and RAID 1 options provide the choice of speed vs. reliability.
  • JBOD provides the option to double the usable storage.
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to scale up the setup and daisy-chain five devices.
CONS
  • The drives are not hot-swappable; thus, you face the inconvenience of unmounting the drive.
  • No RAID 1+0 (10) means you have to choose between speed (RAID 0) and reliability (RAID 1).
  • No physical security for the drives.

2. OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini – Thunderbolt RAID with HDD or SSD

The OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini gives you the power of choice that allows you to choose the specifications. It features a compact design, making it portable and offering one of the fastest data-transfer speeds at 1556MB/s.

The first choice is whether to go for a model which includes the drives or just the enclosure. Technology enthusiasts would love the idea of customizing the drives. In comparison, the convenience of a fully-loaded device means the device is ready to use out of the box.

The second choice comes with the type of drive. The ThunderBay 4 Mini allows you the flexibility to mix and match HDD or SSD drives for storage. Therefore, it is immaterial which drive you use as long as you use a 2.5-inch drive.

The next choice comes in the capacity. The OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini offers four capacity variants ranging between 2TB and 16TB. You also get the flexibility to choose between RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 4, RAID 5, and RAID 1+0. Thus, you can tweak the device to deliver speed without sacrificing reliability.

The design features four bays and comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Hence, you can daisy-chain up to six devices in all. And you needn’t worry about managing the additional devices. You can merge them using OWC’s SoftRAID, allowing you to manage the RAID volumes.

Finally, the device also comes with a 1-year Level 1 data recovery. You also get a 3-year warranty to keep you safe in case of a mishap.

Our Take

The OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini is a versatile device. It offers the best of both worlds with a bare metal enclosure or a fully-loaded device. Hence, newbies and technology enthusiasts would love the device. It allows you to customize different parameters to get the best storage solution possible.

PROS
  • Fast data transfer speeds.
  • The compact and portable design makes it easy to travel with
  • Physical lock to protect the drives from theft.
  • Multiple RAID implementations ensure the perfect mix of speed and reliability.
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to scale up the setup and daisy-chain five devices.
CONS
  • Pricey
  • No video output port means you need to sacrifice the daisy chain or use a hub.
  • No on-off power switch to ease of operations.

3. Terramaster D5 – Thunderbolt 3 RAID Storage enclosure

The Terramaster D5 is a 5-bay enclosure that offers Hardware RAID. The design features an aluminum body that makes it durable and long-lasting. The ports are positioned on the enclosure’s rear panel along with two 80mm fans that provide heat dissipation.

The D5 features dual-Thunderbolt 3 ports and comes with a DisplayPort, all on the rear panel. Hence, you can daisy chain additional devices to expand your storage need. Or, use the second Thunderbolt port and DisplayPort to connect up to three 4K displays.

Remember that the D5 is just an enclosure. So, you have to install storage drives. The Terramaster supports five drives of up to 20TB each. Hence, you can get a colossal 100TB of storage. You can use 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch SATA HDD drive. Or, if you prefer SSD drives, you can use 2.5-inch SATA SSD drives.

The D5 offers a data transfer speed of up to 1035MD/s. You also get RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. Thus, you get the freedom to choose the most appropriate RAID type. Alternatively, you can use JBOD mode to utilize the full storage capacity.

The enclosure is compatible with Mac and Windows OS. You get Hardware RAID, but you need the RAID Manager Pro software to use the device. And because the software is not available for Linux users, they miss out on the utility of the D5.

Our Take

The Terramaster D5 is ideal for users who want to build their RAID storage. It offers 5-bays with a capacity of 20TB per bay. Hence, it is perfect for office use where storage requirements tend to be high.

PROS
  • 5-bays with 20TB/bay mean you can get up to 100TB storage.
  • It supports up to three 4K displays.
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to scale up the setup and daisy-chain six devices.
  • JBOD provides the option to double the usable storage.
  • Multiple RAID implementations ensure the perfect mix of speed and reliability.
CONS
  • Expensive, considering hard drives are omitted.
  • Noisy device, not suitable for quiet environments.
  • No physical security for the drives.

4. LaCie 2big Dock – Thunderbolt 3 RAID storage with multiple ports

The LaCie 2big Dock gives you an excellent selection of ports along with this Thunderbolt RAID storage. In addition to two Thunderbolt 3 ports, you also get a DisplayPort to connect additional displays. You also get a USB-C 3.1 port, an SD card slot, a CF card slot, and a USB-A 3.0 port.

The 2big Dock offers Hardware RAID and supports RAID 0 and RAID 1. So, you must choose between data transfer speed and reliability. However, you could select the JBOD option when you want to maximize the available disk space.

LaCie offers the 2big Dock in many capacity variants, starting with the 8TB and going up to 32TB. It uses Seagate’s IronWolf Pro drives with 7200rpms that are streamlined for high performance and reliability. More importantly, LaCie offers five years of Rescue Data Recovery Service if the unthinkable happens.

This RAID storage is designed to ensure your workflow stays streamlined at every step. You get a data transfer speed of 490MB/s that facilitates fast data transfers. Next, the storage drives are hot-swappable for quick and easy operation. And, you can daisy-chain devices to scale up storage systems. And if that isn’t enough, you can use the USB-A 3.0 hub to charge portable devices.

Our Take

The LaCie 2big Dock is excellent for content creators and media editors. It offers a superb selection of ports, including an SD&CF slot that grants easy access to your media files. But, the icing on the cake comes in the form of the 5-year warranty and Rescue Data Recovery Service.

PROS
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to scale up the setup using daisy chains.
  • JBOD provides the option to double the usable storage.
  • An excellent selection of ports allows you easy connectivity to I/O devices.
  • A 5-year warranty with Rescue Data Recovery Service helps recover your data in case of a crash.
  • Hot-swappable drives add to the convenience of operation.
CONS
  • No RAID 1+0 (10) means you have to choose between speed (RAID 0) and reliability (RAID 1)
  • Noisy device, not suitable for quiet environments.
  • No physical security for the drives.

5. Glyph Atom – Portable RAID Storage

Glyph differentiates itself from the competition with the Glyph Atom. While most Thunderbolt RAID solutions offer bulky devices, Glyph is among the first to provide a compact and portable solution.

Unfortunately, this also means that the Atom offers far less than other RAID storage solutions. For instance, you only get RAID 0. So, you get superfast data transfer speeds up to 950MB/s, but there is no fault tolerance if a drive fails.

Interestingly, the Glyph Atom uses M.2 SSD drives. This is instrumental in maintaining a compact design. And in doing so, Glyph also limits the number of capacity variants to three. You can choose between a 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB drive that you can access via the only Thunderbolt 3 port.

Needless to say, without an extra Thunderbolt port, you miss out on daisy-chaining. And without a DisplayPort, you can forget about connecting your 4K monitor.

But the Glyph Atom is not meant to do these things. It is designed to provide a portable solution for RAID storage, and it does that job brilliantly. It is rugged thanks to its lightweight aluminum body and the protective sleeve it comes with. Thus, it will take a bit of rough handling and still keep your data safe.

Our Take

The Glyph Atom is a handy RAID storage solution for users who are constantly on the move. It provides fast data transfer speed, albeit at the cost of fault tolerance. So, if you often face the challenge of large data transfers in a short time, the Glyph Atom is the go-to option.

PROS
  • Portable and compact design.
  • Affordable price.
  • The 950MB/s speed ensures superfast data transfers.
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows OS
CONS
  • No RAID 1; means the device is not reliable in case of a drive failure.
  • No provision for daisy-chaining or connecting to monitors.

6. G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle – 4-Bay RAID Storage

The G-Speed Shuttle is a 4-bay RAID storage solution. Therefore, it is ideal when you need a large capacity or the RAID implementation requires excellent reliability.

The G-Speed Shuttle comes in two capacity variants, 20TB and 24TB. It uses four WD Ultrastar HDD with 7200rpm and delivery data transfer speed of 1000MB/s. Also, two of the four bays use EV adaptors to facilitate quick offloading of media files.

The device comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports. So, you can daisy chain up to six devices in total. You also get Hardware RAID with support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 1+0(10). Although it comes pre-formatted with HFS+ for Mac, it is compatible with Windows after a quick reformat.

Our Take

The G-Speed Shuttle offers high-capacity RAID storage and comes with Hardware RAID with the option of multiple implementations. It is compatible with Mac and Windows, thus making it excellent for setups that may require high fault tolerance.

PROS
  • Multiple options for RAID implementations allow you to tweak the setup.
  • The 1000MB/s data transfer rates are among the highest.
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to scale up the setup and daisy-chain six devices.
  • EV series adaptor facilitates quick offloading of media files.
CONS
  • No video output port means you need to sacrifice the daisy chain or use a hub.
  • Expensive

7. Promise Pegasus32 R8 – 8-Bay RAID storage for Enterprise Storage Solution

The Pegasus32 R8 offers a colossal 8-bays for storage drives. This is ideal when you need an enterprise-level solution for your storage needs.

Promise Technology offers the Pegasus32 R8 with five HDD capacity variants starting at 32TB and up to 144TB. Alternately, you can go down the SSD route with a 16TB SSD setup.

However, the R8’s biggest advantage is the number of RAID options it allows you to implement. You get RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 6, RAID 10, RAID 50, and RAID 60. And when you want to harness the entire 144TB storage, you can use it in JBOD mode. But you have to be willing to pay the price for these RAID volumes; the R8 does not come cheap.

What it does come with are dual-Thunderbolt 3/USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports and a 4-lane DisplayPort v1.4. Hence, you can hook up an 8K monitor for top-notch video quality.

Our Take

The Pegasus32 R8 is an enterprise-grade solution not meant for relatively smaller setups or individuals. It offers sophisticated RAID solutions which are at home in larger organizations.

PROS
  • Multiple options for RAID implementations allow you to tweak the setup.
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to scale up the setup using daisy-chaining.
  • The DisplayPort v1.4 will enable you to connect an 8K monitor that offers the best picture quality.
  • Apple recommends it, and it is compatible with Mac.
CONS
  • Very Expensive
  • Only 3-year warranty

8. OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dock– Most Capacity Variants

The Elite Pro Dock offers seven capacity variants starting from 4TB and up to 36TB. Alternately, you can buy the enclosure and select your own set of drives. For this, the Elite Pro offers two bays, and you can use 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SATA HDDs and SSDs.

It uses Hardware RAID to offer you RAID 0 (pre-configured) and RAID 1. And when you want to have the entire storage at your disposal, you get the JBOD mode.

The Elite Pro Dock offers seven connectivity ports. These include two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.1 Gen1, one Gigabit Ethernet, an SD card reader, and a DisplayPort 1.2. Thus, daisy-chaining and connecting 4K display is easy.

Our Take

The Elite Pro Dock offers plenty of choices. You can choose from seven capacity variants or select a diskless model. Further, the choice of storage drives allows you to customize the setup. Hence, the device offers tremendous utility to technology enthusiasts and everyday users.

PROS
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to scale up the setup and daisy-chain six devices.
  • Seven capacity variants offer flexibility.
  • Plenty of connectivity ports to connect additional devices.
  • JBOD provides the option to double the usable storage.
CONS
  • No RAID 1+0 (10) means you have to choose between speed (RAID 0) and reliability (RAID 1)
  • No on-off power switch to ease of operations.

Best Thunderbolt RAID Storage – Our Buying Guide

Here are some crucial points to consider when buying a Thunderbolt RAID Storage.

RAID Levels

RAID levels are probably the most critical consideration you need to make. RAID as a concept is designed to organize your computer’s storage so that it provides speed and reliability.

For instance, RAID 0 is designed to give you unmatched speed but fails miserably when it comes to reliability. On the other hand, RAID 1 provides reliability, but it is not great for fast data transfers.

Similarly, the different levels of RAID offer various complexities and come with their limitations.

However, you must look for a device that at least offers RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10(1+0). By ensuring these four levels, you get the best that RAID offers.

Number of Bays

The number of bays is directly linked with the RAID level you want to implement. This is because certain RAID levels need you to have a minimum number of drives.

Type of RAID

There are two types of RAID controllers, Hardware RAID and Software RAID.

Generally, it is advisable to select the devices that come with Hardware RAID. This is because they do not burden the processor with the operations. Further, it often involves flicking a switch on the device to switch between RAID levels. That makes it convenient to operate. But they tend to be more expensive because of the added components.

Software RAID offers the same set of operations, but the bulk of the work happens at the OS level. This tends to burden the processor, which means your system needs to be geared for the added work. Computers with low specifications may not be able to handle the job efficiently.

Ports

The selection of ports and the number of the ports are essential parameters to keep in mind.

Look for devices that offer at least two Thunderbolt ports. These offer you the benefit of daisy-chaining, and you can connect additional monitors for multi-screen setups.

Best Thunderbolt RAID Storage – Frequently Asked Questions

What is JBOD?

Implementing a certain level of RAID involves halving your total storage capacity. This is because data redundancies occupy as much space as the original. For example, a 24TB storage will only offer 12TB storage when using RAID 1.

JBOD or Just a Bunch of Disks is a storage mechanism that eliminates redundancies and offers the entire storage at your disposal.

What is better, a Thunderbolt RAID Storage (Directly Attached Storage) or a NAS?

Both the technologies have their specifics use cases. A DAS makes more sense on small setups that do not require many computers to be connected to it. A typical use case would be a home office.

In comparison, a NAS makes far more sense in a large organization with LAN setups.

Which is the best RAID level to use?

It is difficult to say as each RAID level has pros and cons.

RAID 0: is excellent for speed but poor for data reliability

RAID 1: offers reliability, but this comes at the cost of speed and occupies double the space

RAID 5: provides reliability and speed and does not require double the space, but you need a minimum of three drives. RAID 6 is similar but requires more drives.

RAID 10(1+0) offers the best of RAID 0’s speed and RAID 1’s redundancies, but you need more drives to implement it.

Can I have a Thunderbolt RAID storage with HDDs and SSDs?

Yes, you can buy enclosures like the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dock and the OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini that allow you to mix and match different dives to implement a RAID solution.

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Mr. Reeee
Mr. Reeee
1 month ago

I’ve had a G-RAID Thunderbolt 3 drive for 5 years.

Yeah, it works, BUT, it’s been NOTHING but trouble.

2 drives have failed at different times. I lost as bunch of data.

It goes through periods where it randomly unmounts.

It goes through periods where it absolutely REFUSES to mount.
I’ll be forced to shut it off, turn it on… 3, 4, 5 maybe TEN times to get the thing to mount. I’ve not been able to find a solution… new cables, tried every port Thunderbolt on my MacBook Pro, actually TWO MBPs.

AVOID!

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