a ThunderBlade X8 SSD placed between various high-end Mac products

Other World Computing’s ThunderBlade X8 is a fast SSD array that connects to computers over a Thunderbolt port.


If your laptop needs some fast and relatively portable storage capacity, Other World Computing announced a second-generation version of its ThunderBlade system at CES 2024 on Monday.

The new ThunderBlade X8 offers 17% more capacity in RAID 4 or RAID 5 than its predecessor and transfers data 17% faster when connected to Macs using Apple’s M-series processors. Its starting price is $1,750 for an 8TB model.

I’ve tested the first-generation ThunderBlade system, an SSD array that connects to laptops with a high-speed Thunderbolt connection, and found it reliable and fast, good for photo and video editors who need speed, capacity, and reliability. It can protect data with RAID technology that preserves files even if any single SSD in the array fails.

It’s a premium product, but plenty of laptops just don’t have enough storage capacity for serious work, and pros often are willing to pay extra to avoid being slowdowns while waiting for files to load and save.

The system holds up to eight NVMe M.2 SSDs for a raw capacity up to 32TB. Its data transfer speed reaches a rip-snorting 2.9 gigabytes per second.

Like the previous model, it needs to be plugged into the wall for power. It’s not bus-powered, drawing electricity from the Thunderbolt connection to the laptop, a convenient option available for lower performance SSDs. But it’s fast, fanless and has a second Thunderbolt port that lets you connect a daisy-chain of other Thunderbolt devices like monitors or additional storage systems.

Also new with the ThunderBlade X8 is a redesigned power connection and a new LED status light designed to be less obtrusive for people using the system on a video production set. It’s designed to be used on the move and ships in a rugged hard-shell case.

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