OWC ThunderBlade X8 SSD offers 2.95GB/sec speeds and less distracting LEDs

Jan 8, 2024

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

OWC ThunderBlade X8 SSD offers 2.95GB/sec speeds and less distracting LEDs

Jan 8, 2024

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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OWC ThunderBlade X8 SSD

Other World Computing has announced the new OWC ThunderBlade X8 RAID SSD (buy here). Designed to sit on your desktop next to your computer, it’s clearly targeted towards video editors. And with speeds like these, they should do just nicely.

It’s available in capacities of up to 32TB, with a usable space of 28TB. This is 4TB more than its predecessor. It also offers up to 16% higher performance than the regular ThunderBlade (buy here) with Apple Silicon-based computers.

OWC ThunderBlade X8 RAID SSD

According to OWC’s datasheet, the new OWC ThunderBlade X8 offers read and write speeds of up to 2,949MB/sec and 2,826MB/sec, respectively. This seems fairly comparable on paper to the standard OWC ThunderBlade.

Where it does shine, though, is that OWC has managed to claw back 4TB of its up to 32TB capacity. The original OWC ThunderBlade accepted up to 32TB of SSDs, too (8x4TB). However, you could only access 24TB of it. With the new ThunderBlade X8, you can access 28TB of it in RAID 4/5.

OWC ThunderBlade X8 SSD

Better performance on Apple Silicon

While the write speeds are fairly similar between the ThunderBlade X8 and the old ThunderBlade, the read speed is a bit faster with the new unit. OWC says that this is thanks to improved performance with Apple Silicon.

Apple M1, M2 and M3-based computer users should expect to see up to about a 16.7% increase in performance.

The OWC ThunderBlade X8 also features an improved power connector, with some aesthetic modifications to the LEDs. The position of the LEDs has been revised to reduce or eliminate them being a distraction on set. Sure, they’re desktop drives, but people are going to use them on location, too, where they can.

OWC ThunderBlade X8 SSD

This is a problem I find with a lot of devices that contain LEDs. They’re positioned in such a way that they’re really obvious, and they’re often too bright. To the point where I have the LEDs of several devices in my home covered with strips of black gaffer tape to make them less annoying.

So, it’s nice to see OWC addressing little quality-of-life stuff like this at the design level.

Price and Availability

The OWC ThunderBlade X8 8TB and 16TB capacities are available to buy now for $1,749.99 and $2,749.99, respectively. The OWC ThunderBlade X8 32TB is priced at $5,479.99 and is still “coming soon”.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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