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OWC / MacSales.com (highly recommended) has introduced the Express 4M2, a 4-slot Thunderbolt 3 enclosure that takes up to four M.2 NVMe SSD blades.
- Software Requirements: macOS 10.12 or later (SSDs using 512b sector sizes require macOS 10.13 or later), or Windows 10 or later
- Hardware Requirements: Mac or PC featuring Thunderbolt 3 interface or Mac or PC with Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 interface (Host computers with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port require the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter)
- Interface (Chipset): (1) Thunderbolt 3 (Alpine Ridge DSL6540) (2) USB-C and Power Delivery (Texas Instruments TPS65983) (1) DisplayPort.
- Max Transfer Rate: 40 Gbps (5000 MB/sec).
- Display Support: 4K @ 60 Hz.
- Drives Supported: (4) M.2 NVMe or (4) M.2 AHCl (PCle only).
- LED: Yes (Power and Activity)
- Housing Material: Aluminum, black
- Certifications: CE, FCC
- Power Supply: Internal UL-listed universal auto-switching, AC input: 100 ~ 240V, 50/60Hz, DC output: 12V, 7.5A.
- Environmental: Ambient Temperature Operating: 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C) Non-Operating: -4°F to 158°F (−20°C to 70°C).
- Dimensions: Height: 6.0 cm (2.4 in) Length: 11.3 cm (4.4 in) Width: 13.6 cm (5.4 in)
- Weight 800.0 g (1.76 lbs)
NOTE: while the appeal of M.2 NVMe blades is high and very appropriate for many use cases, Lloyd would personally prefer the all-in-one pro-grade OWC Thunderblade 4, excepting the price, for the following reasons:
- DIY kits are unlikely to be as trusty as something custom engineered.
- Warranty and service and quality control for pro audience that must not have failures (eg video producers) = likely more reliable product vs DIY with unknown blades which might nor might not always work well
- 3 year warranty vs 1 year warranty
- If there is a failure, it is one device warranted as a unit. If one blade fails in a DIY rig, it pretty much means buying another blade, because warrant of the blade will take unacceptably long time. taking your RAID out? And you bought the blades somewhere else? Probably 4-6 weeks downtime likely, so you buy a new blade, if you can find a matching one. -
- Silent/fanless, yet engineered for proper heat dissipation.
Infinitely configurable. Infinitely reconfigurable.
You like to explore your own independent path, and digital storage is where you have fun, push hard and spark the imagination. You explore, you refine, and when ready, you share your vision with the world. The OWC Express 4M2 is the external drive built for the journey before you and the path yet to be explored.
Customize your Express 4M2 with up to four NVMe SSDs, RAID them however you wish and connect it all with Thunderbolt 3 — the fastest and most flexible interface around. The sheer performance of the Express 4M2 helps you meet deadlines faster, giving you more time to explore your creativity and push your projects further.
Small in stature. Big on capability. The OWC Express 4M2 is ready to serve with four easy-to-access M.2 NVMe SSD slots customizable for any workflow with vibration damping feet that allow for vertical or horizontal orientation. Install up to 8TB of capacity and experience up to 2800MB/s of mind-bending performance via Thunderbolt 3. The Express 4M2 is an amazingly small digital workhorse with world-renowned OWC quality and award-winning support built in. Ingest and duplicate dailies at breakneck speeds, work with higher resolutions, smoothly scrub through demanding timelines, and plow through thousands of photos with ease. The OWC Express 4M2 is one seriously fast drive to have by your side to take your digital capabilities to a new level.
- Up to 8TB
- Up to 2800MB/s
- Four M.2 NVMe SSD bays
- Compact design
- Advanced SoftRAID engine
- Thunderbolt Certified for Mac and Windows
- Thunderbolt 3 cable
- 1 Year OWC Limited Warranty
Built Smaller and Faster from Input by Pros Like You
The OWC Express 4M2 is designed with superior ease-of-use in mind. We worked with award-winning creatives and listened to the kudos they heaped onto the OWC ThunderBay mini, and we put all that shared knowledge to good use when we set out to build the next-gen Thunderbolt 3 multi-bay drive. The result is the 57% smaller and 2.5x faster OWC Express 4M2. It's smaller and easier to fit into your workflow, studio and on stage. It's faster with four easy-access M.2 slots so you can swap, upgrade or expand your Express 4M2 to configure and reconfigure it to serve any project need.
Game-Changing NVMe SSD Performance
NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a hyper-efficient communications interface protocol built from the ground up to properly take advantage of SSD technology and high-performance connection buses like PCIe. The result is exponentially faster and efficient SSD storage, and the OWC Express 4M2 has room for four NVMe SSDs.
Display connection flexibility is yours with a convenient DisplayPort located right on the rear of the OWC Express 4M2. There's no need to worry about adapters or extra long cables. Just plug your display directly into the Express 4M2 and you're all set.
The OWC Express 4M2 comes equipped with OWC SoftRAID which provides the amazing capability to RAID across multiple drive enclosures. You can also add more Express 4M2 drives to your storage pool using Windows Storage Spaces. Configure and reconfigure your storage however you need by combining multiple OWC Express 4M2 drives together on Mac and Windows.
SoftRAID: Conventional Wisdom Turned on its Head
It's often thought that hardware RAID is better than software RAID, but we've proven that not to be true. We've combined the performance and capacity of the OWC Express 4M2 with our robust SoftRAID engine. Experience breathtaking performance, multi-enclosure capability, advanced drive monitoring, e-notifications and downloadable updates. Once you do, you'll see how hardware RAID doesn't even come close.
The Better and Simpler Way to RAID
We created SoftRAID to make it easier to maintain mission-critical workflows to save you time and money. With SoftRAID you no longer need to be locked into expensive hardware RAID technology that's not upgradeable or expandable. SoftRAID future-proofs your data and storage with software updates that provide cutting edge capabilities and robust stability. SoftRAID takes advantage of your computer's processor versus the slow processors found in most hardware RAID enclosures. The result is a fast and flexible RAID array with no discernible impact to your favorite apps. SoftRAID drive certification tells you whether or not a drive is up to the task before creating a RAID array. Advanced monitoring tools work behind the scenes to keep your RAID running in tip-top shape. SoftRAID protects your data by alerting you to issues before anything happens, ensuring you're protected when you're on a critical deadline. SoftRAID rebuilds your RAID in a fraction of the time it would take a hardware RAID to complete the same task, sparing you from significant downtime when you're ready to upgrade or replace a drive.
RAID and Storage Spaces
The OWC Express 4M2 comes with SoftRAID Lite XT ready to be set up in RAID 0 performance or RAID 1 mirrored drive mode. So you can customize your Express 4M2 for speed or data redundancy. If you need more options, you can easily upgrade to add extra capabilities and RAID modes to meet any workflow demand. The OWC Express 4M2 fully supports Windows workflows as well. Using Windows Storage Spaces you can pool the four M.2 NVMe SSDs together with support for all the Storage Spaces configuration options including the ability to add another OWC Express 4M2 to expand your storage pool on the fly.
Connect to Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 Systems with Ease
The OWC Express 4M2 is fully backward compatible with Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2. Utilize Thunderbolt 3 performance to work at full speed, and step back to Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 whenever connectivity compatibility is needed for your workflow. Add a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter along with the appropriate Thunderbolt cable, and you're all set.
OWC Thunderbolt 3 Cable
OWC Express 4M2 comes with an OWC Thunderbolt 3 cable which is Thunderbolt certified for Mac and Windows, with additional 0.5 meter to 2.0 meter lengths available separately.
Quality You Can Trust
Like all OWC drives, the OWC Express 4M2 is built to the highest standards of reliability and performance and Thunderbolt Certified for Mac and Windows. Because 100% reliability is always the goal, Express 4M2 is rigorously quality tested and backed by our one-year limited warranty plus award-winning, 24/7 customer support.