OWC Thunderblade

Good morning everyone! Have a few questions for anyone rocking the OWC Thunderblade setup. Interested to hear how people use them. Any pointers or things to watch out for etc.

I have just purchased an 8TB OWC Thunderblade. I travel around a lot doing both shot work or finishing entire spots on my M1 Macbook Pro. So far I have been working off my local disk or an external drives.

Can I treat this both as my framestore and also make project folders on for me to download clips etc. As I am on the move a lot I don’t often get given a drive and 99% of the time downloading files.

I want this to be my local frame store, but interested to hear how other people may use it. Do you use the software RAID or just format it as you would an external drive? Are there any downfalls to working one of the other.

Archiving? I don’t usually have the capacity to carry about an 12TB or 20TB drive to archive too. Ideally i’d love to automate this - Can I setup chronosync for the drive to be synced to Wasabi or something?

Right now I archive my setups to dropbox every-night but ideally I’d like everything to be covered.

Any information or tips much appreciated.



My advice is to work fully uncached since you’re reading off that drive anyway. Set your framestore to the drive but avoid using it. Write nodes instead of render nodes and all that. There’s not any value in stonifizing media if it’s all on the same drive. As an upside, your archives will be tiny (just metadata and setups) and all your media will be human-readable EXR sequences.

I use the software raid that ships with OWC gear, and I’ve got it set up as Raid10. Less space than Raid 5, but quicker to rebuild should anything go wrong.


Hey Andy

Yeah I always try work uncached. Definitely need to get into the habit of using write nodes for denoise, pre comps etc. I’ve bought an 8TB drive - will Raid10 halve it?

Hey @mikeysmith. The drive will present itself as A disk, not many. So you won’t be able to RAID it.

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Other flavors of the OWC external drive offering, like the Thunderbays, WILL offer themselves as individual disks and you can chose either the OWC offering SoftRAID or just use Mac’s built in RAID Assistant in the Disk Utility to RAID 0, 1 or 10 it. But of course, those aren’t exactly portable.

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It would have, but it looks like Randy is correct that you can’t raid that one. I have one of the m2 enclosures, which I thought was named Thunder-something (cos they fucking ALLL are), but I guess it’s different and I can raid it.

Aww shucks Im on fire today, totally neglecting your cloud/backup question.

So, direct upload to Wasabi is okay, but not amazing. Plus, I kinda sorta think you’d want another local backup. Have you ever considered a Synology? You could rock a really simple 4 or 6 disk solution and as you travel and have good or bad internet, turn on and turn off syncing from your OWC drive back to something more robust. Based on your laptop, which is a single point of failure that when its down your entire world is down, I’d strongly consider having a local backup that doesn’t stink too bad. The Synology would be a great place to SHR-1 (RAID 5) or SHR-2 (RAID 6) or even RAID 10 it. With your smaller storage requirements then the world’s your oyster. THEN from the Synology, Hyper Backup THAT to Wasabi.

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One thing to test - one of the guys in our colorist group picked a different OWC TB enclosure Express 4M2 and wasn’t getting good performance w/o configuring as a RAID. Apparently they split the TB PCIe lanes and use one per blade. His SoftRaid he had before on a different blade was giving him consistency check errors (due to bad Samsung EVO SSDs) but it was a pain to diagnose and get to the bottom off.

His old Sonnet Softraid got him 7GB/s, the OWC w/o Softraid only gave him 600-800MB/s.

Anyway, love OWC products, but test properly in your config to make sure you get optimal performance and what you paid for.


ACK! I’m a liar! I totally mixed up in my head the OWC Envoy and the OWC Thunderblade.

Game Show Thank You GIF by Kinda Funny

@randy -lol phew!! I wondered if I was happening. I was looking at my Thunderblade which comes pre formatted as a RAID

Unfortunatley - even after installing the Softraid software. The Thunderblade still isn’t recognized. I’ve seen a reddit post about how to fix it but still isn’t playing ball. I spoke to @Jonhollis and he has just formatted it as a single drive. Perhaps that’s the best way to go. Keep it simple. I can imagine wanting to plug this into my iMac to be able to do shots etc. Assume when it’s softraided that becomes harder?

I’ve just given up using softraid on my OWC devices. It’s OK in a really fixed environment, but if you’re gonna be moving it between machines it’s a hassle. I think it needs to be installed on every machine you want to use the hard drive on. But even with softraid installed, my new Mac studio wouldn’t recognise it. I just restriped my ThunderBay 4 mini with apples raid assistant. Works fine.


Yeah not really enjoying trying to get the drive to connect via the softraid. I think i’ll just format with the apple raid assistant too.

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also not sure if you purchased already but this came out and you swap the drives and gives a little more flexibility OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual High-Performance... at MacSales.com

Thank you for the help all. I ended up just formatting the drive RAID 0 with the mac instead of using the softraid software. So far so good and super fast.


We bought into the OWC hype. 2 weeks with the Thunderblade Softraid/Raid5. Scrubbing a timeline, suddenly checkerboards, then spinning wheel of death. Upon reboot Thunderblade won’t mount. Softraid says everything looks good and wants to rebuild, but can’t until it mounts, and it won’t mount. OWC support basically says “sorry bruh, the APFS filesystem is corrupt”

So now… wipe and do Apple Raid0 and just make automatic backups?

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Had a mixed experience with OWC recently as well. Some degree you expect with any high tech product made in big quantities, but it left a mixed taste.

My LTO drive, which is a OWC Mercury Pro enclosure was down for 2+ weeks. I had re-installed some software and it would not recognize the drive at all. First had ticket open with Hedge, and they said there’s an issue with the SAS HBA in the enclosure and the driver. Tried a hundred different things, had ticket with OWC which for the majority of those two weeks pointed me at Apple KB articles which I had long covered already. In the end, it turned out that my unit which dates back to the Covid supply chain era, actually has a different HBA card - LSI and not ATTO. Yet OWC’s latest software download for this unit doesn’t include it. Always wants to load the ATTO driver which then doesn’t see any hardware. It wasn’t until this way escalated, that I got an email with a custom download link via Dropbox - “use this driver instead”… Working again, but what a face palm moment. I mean, ok, so you have a few units out with a different card. That’s ok. But then keep those linked on the website download page for the product or at least put a note out there that certain units may require a different driver.

Luckily those two weeks I didn’t need to do any emergency restores, or would have had to buy another drive to solve it.

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I’ve had huge issues lately with OWC. Basically had support tickets for ArGest go dead for months and months after long communication and sharing of logs. Gave up on using them for LTO.

My SoftRaid experience was pretty bad as well. Constant errors, rebuilding, updating, then MacOS security fighting with updates.

For such a history of great products, they seem to have a lot of trouble managing the software end of things.

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I’m always a bit suspicious of software based RAID solutions.

Software seems to experience a lower QC threshold because it’s easy to update if a problem is found, inviting a bit of the customer is the final QC mentality. Also software lives in a complex ecosystem with may more variables than any hardware solution.

That is all fine and good for your average tool and productivity app. If it crashes on a project, you can often work around it, and total work lost is minimal.

But RAID is one of these mission critical components that sits at the intersection of a lot of valuable data. And if it goes side-ways, it’s a major disaster zone in terms of impact and recovery (I don’t mean a hard drive going bad and getting rebuilt, I mean the whole RAID going bad). Building software RAIDs should be reserved for the best of the best organizations. The ones that make operating systems, not some folks that write drivers for putting a few OEM hardware components into an enclosure with maybe a custom FPGA or whatnot…

That doesn’t apply necessarily to RAID 0 or 1, but definitely any of the ones that compute parity.

So far my RAIDs all have been either hardware based (HighPoint, etc.) or the RAID is managed by the hardware, where it’s a known environment, whether the controller is actually hardware or possibly software (e.g. Synology).


Support’s final word: “Sorry bruh.”

We’re gonna stripe these idiot drives RAID0 via Apple Disk Utility, and I’m going to set up automatic cheap USB drive backups.


Indeed, but I sort of gave up on both. Archive to cloud is the way forward. If I had a client that requires it, then yes. But no.