Thunderbolt RAID Array Systems for Mac
Among the first manufacturers to announce support for the Thunderbolt bolt was Promise. With the unveiling of the Thunderbolt port in Apple's 2011 MacBook Pros, Promise displayed a prototype high-capacity RAID enclosure intended to function with the new serial interface. This Promise Pegasus RAID hard drive promised high speed data transfers couple with multiple terabytes of storage. This RAID enclosure comes in two variants (the R4 and R6); either sporting 4 or 6 hard drives. Each of these arrays contains hard-drives operating at 7200 RPM. These arrays are first to an emerging market of high-speed storage peripherals; granted they do bear the price of the professional technology market.
The Promise Pegasus R4 comes in two models: as a 4 TB and and 8 TB RAID enclosure (selling for $999 and $1499). These Thunderbolt RAID arrays deliver transfer rates of up to 500 MBps (of bidirectional data) for near instantaneous movement of media and stored files. The Pegasus R4 even supports RAID 1, 5, 6 and 10 configurations. These RAID settings allow for optimization of transfer speed or data duplication. With either 4 or 8 TB of storage the Pegasus R4 is ideal for disc backup, HD video editing, or use with a small server. The drive bays in the R4 enclosure are hot swappable for easy service, and the integrated disc error handling provides secure data protection.
The Pegasus R6 comes in 6 TB and 12 TB models (available for $1499 and $1999 respectively). This RAID array boasts data transfers at up to 800 MBps (bi-directionally), for high-speed transfer of any file. Like the R4, the drives are hot-swappable, and feature robust error handling. The R6 supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 50, 6, and 10 configurations for maximum storage capabilities.
Both R4 and R6 RAID enclosures include software for easy integration with OS X. These Thunderbolt RAID arrays provide high-speed, secure connections for Apple's media applications (such iTunes, iLife), and other bandwidth laden softwares. With terabytes or storage, and unbeatable high-speed I/O the R4 and R6 are ideal for quick TimeMachine backups of entire drives.
Ridiculously, neither Pegasus R4 or R6 models include a Thunderbolt cable to connect with a MacBook or iMac computer. However, each of the Thunderbolt RAID enclosures is preconfigured to function with Thunderbolt possessing Macs, and features two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chain usage (connect to either other Thunderbolt peripherals or an external monitor). The relatively expensive 6 foot cables ($49 at Apple) rely on copper wiring for bidirectional communication, and each end is tipped with a standard Thunderbolt connector. Unlike USB 3.0 SuperSpeed, there is no incorrect direction to plug in a Thunderbolt cable; and the standard T-bolt cable may be used for daisy chaining multiple Thunderbolt storage devices.
Intel Thunderbolt is redefining high-performance functionality for hardware RAID enclosures and other T-bolt peripherals. This new serial interface offers unparalleled transfer speeds for external devices. While Thunderbolt peripherals and interconnections bear a hefty price, the theoretical 10 Gbps throughput towers over competing technology's bandwidth capabilities. Unfortunately for the average computer user, Thunderbolt enabled devices will take some time to reach affordable levels. If you are however one looking to maximize transfer speed for HD video or mass storage, a Thunderbolt RAID enclosure may be of interest.