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Flex1U4 wokrstation

OWC Introduces Flex 1U4 4-Bay Thunderbolt Rackmount Storage and Docking Solution

Go beyond the desktop with the most flexible storage and docking solution for any rackmount environment with the capabilities to use SATA/SAS and U.2/M.2 NVMe drives for up to 128TB of capacity and real-world Thunderbolt speeds up to 2750MB/s.

OWC®, the premier zero-emissions Mac and PC technology company, and a respected provider of Memory, External Drives, SSDs, Mac & PC Docking Solutions, Network Attached Storage, and Performance Upgrade Kits, announces the OWC Flex 1U4 4-Bay Thunderbolt rackmount storage and docking Solution. The OWC Flex 1U4 is a highly flexible professional-grade 4-bay Thunderbolt storage and docking solution for gaining powerful new rackmount workflow possibilities. Use a mix of 2.5 or 3.5-inch SATA/SAS and U.2/M.2 NVMe drives in the hot swappable drive bays. Connect gear and charge mobile devices with Thunderbolt and USB ports. Add an audio/video capture, 10Gb Ethernet networking, SSD storage, hardware RAID card, or I/O card to the PCIe slot. 

Since the launch of the OWC ThunderBay desktop storage line in 2014, computer users across the planet have continued to fall in love with it. They embrace its massively powerful RAID capacity and intense performance fueled by time-tested OWC reliability. Its appeal skyrocketed when it was infused with industry-first FLEXibility to create ThunderBay Flex 8. 

Now businesses, institutions, studios, and creatives can go beyond the desktop with the OWC Flex 1U4. This innovative 4-bay rackmount solution is ready to fuel your endeavors with the best combination of storage capacity, Thunderbolt transfer performance, drive flexibility, and device expandability. With FLEX in its name, you can count on the OWC Flex 1U4 to be your rackmount workflow game-changer.

Future Ready 

The OWC Flex 1U4 extends its useful life and maximizes your investment well into the future by not locking you into an inflexible single-task design. When your workflow needs change, the “FLEXpandability” of the OWC Flex 1U4 easily adapts. Add new drives, connect different devices, and install a PCIe card of your choice, like a 10Gb Ethernet networking card or the blistering fast OWC Accelsior 4M2 SSD for expanded performance storage capacity. 

Flex 1U4 4-Bay Thunderbolt Rackmount Storage and Docking Solution

Ideal for All Rackmount Environments 

The OWC Flex 1U4 is like a bolt-in productivity supercharger for new or existing rack environments powered by a rack Mac Pro, rack PC, MacBook Pro, PC notebook, or even a Mac mini. Whether you build your custom drive and card configuration or select one of our convenient ready-to-run solutions, the OWC Flex 1U4 is ideal in a wide variety of settings: 

In-School
: perfect for taming ever-growing collections of digital files with easy integration and future drive capacity and performance scalability.

At Work: add Thunderbolt speed and swappable drives to server closets, server rooms, or colocation center backup capabilities. 

On Stage: handle all the storage and peripheral connectivity needs “front of house” pros require for live performances. 

On Set: easily fits into mobile DIT carts to capture multi-stream, hi-res footage at full framerate while daisy-chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt devices. 

In Studio: expand storage and connectivity options of fixed racks. 

At Home: great for installers creating a high-performance home entertainment server closet. 

Built For U.2

A hallmark of OWC FLEX technology is the ability to use U.2 NVMe SSDs and the OWC ecosystem of U.2 drives and adapters. U.2 NVMe drives are specifically designed to maximize the PCIe bus, and when combined with Thunderbolt, you’ll blast past fast with up to 2750MB/s real-world transfer speed. Whether you use your rackmount setup for complete massive backups, streaming content during a live performance, editing large format video, or running high transactional and complex calculation applications, you can use U.2 drives with the OWC Flex 1U4. 

A Complete Swap and Share Ecosystem

Flex 1U4 4-Bay Thunderbolt Rackmount Storage and Docking Solution

The OWC Flex 1U4 goes with the flow when moving data outside or beyond the local network. With the OWC U.2 ecosystem, moving and sharing data is fast and easy. Swap out and ship a project from field to post in video production workflows. Move back up data to an offline colocation for backup workflows. The combination of OWC Flex 1U4 and the OWC U.2 ecosystem opens a new dimension to data transfer possibilities. 

OWC U2 ShuttleOne: Convert an NVMe M.2 “blade” style SSD into a swappable 2.5-inch U.2 SSD with the peace of mind that your drive – and its content – are protected by the full metal, heat-dissipating adapter. 

OWC U2 Shuttle: Combine four NVMe M.2 SSDs into the world’s first 3.5-inch U.2 carrier shuttle to create a swappable, massive capacity RAID solution. 

OWC Helios 3S with Interchange System: Create an external Thunderbolt powered set to post U.2 solution that safeguards your data while lowering shipping costs. 

OWC Mercury Pro U.2 Dual: Put blazing-fast Thunderbolt-powered storage and backup on a desktop with a compact two-bay footprint that can use U2 ShuttleOne and U2 Shuttles. 

OWC ThunderBay Flex 8: Take control of your media workflow with the world’s first 3-in-1 Thunderbolt storage, docking, and PCIe expansion desktop solution. Easily swaps U2 ShuttleOne and U2 Shuttles to/from the Flex 1U4. 

RAID Made Easy 

Harness the full capability of your OWC Flex 1U4 drive array with the included SoftRAID XT, the most powerful, intuitive RAID management software on the market for macOS and Windows. SoftRAID’s RAID creation and management technology have been finely tuned to perfection with over 20 years of development to provide rock-solid protection of your data and optimize drive performance. It is packed with features like multiple RAID options, validation and verification of drives, and predictive disk failure with SoftRAID Monitor.

Softraid

SoftRAID provides a level of storage performance that you can’t get with hardware RAID and is ideal for anyone who needs to store safely and massive backup amounts of data, including educational institutions, government agencies, businesses, content creators, and M&E professionals. If you need even more power and flexibility, you can upgrade to SoftRAID Pro to spread volumes over two or more disk enclosures – impossible with hardware RAID – for incredible performance.

OWC Flex 1U4 Highlights 

  • Drive diversity: Use SATA/SAS2 and U.2/M.23 NVMe drives for up to 128TB1 of capacity and real-world Thunderbolt speeds up to 2750MB/s
  • Drive flexibility: swap drives quickly and easily if/when needed 
  • Future ready: use U.2 SSDs – an emerging storage standard – in all four bays 
  • Get Maximum: utilize U.2 NVMe SSDs as well as the OWC ecosystem of U.2 drives and adapters for incredible speed and flash density per bay
  • Powerfully easy RAID: create, manage, and monitor advanced RAID sets with OWC SoftRAID 
  • Use it all: connect keyboards, mixers, cameras, displays, and mobile devices such as tablets with (2) USB-C 10Gb/s and (3) USB-A 10Gb/s ports 
  • See more: connect up to an 8K display to the DisplayPort 1.4 port4 
  • Charge: keep your notebook powered with 85W via the upstream Thunderbolt port5
  • Do more: add an audio/video capture, 10Gb Ethernet networking, SSD storage, hardware RAID, or I/O card to the PCIe slot. 
  • Configurable: daisy chain up to five devices or add an additional display with the second Thunderbolt (USB-C) port 
  • Worry-free: Up to 5 Year OWC Limited Warranty

Pricing & Availability

The OWC Flex 1U4 is available now on Macsales.com with solutions starting at $1,899.00


1 Up to 128TB supported via 4 x OWC U2 Shuttles (16 x 8TB NVMe M.2 SSDs) available soon.

2 SAS drives are supported with SAS drive controller card (available separately).

3 Up to four U.2 drives are supported. M.2 drives are also supported with M.2 to U.2 adapter such as the OWC U2 Shuttle and OWC U2 ShuttleOne (available separately).

4 Full DisplayPort 1.4 capabilities depends on host computer support of DisplayPort 1.4 specification through its Thunderbolt 3 connection, host computer GPU capabilities, and connecting cable capabilities.

5 Apple Mac models with Thunderbolt 2/Thunderbolt ports can be connected using an Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter (available separately). This configuration provides data transfer at up to 20Gb/s but does not support notebook charging.



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4 Comments

  • Has SoftRAID fixed the issue of volumes on external hard drives locking up when the computer goes to sleep?

    Needed to prevent the computer from sleeping to prevent the display from turning off.

    SoftRAID blamed Apple for this problem, but seemed incapable of writing software to overcome its poor performance.

  • It appears it still only has one TB input port with a second one for daisy-chaining. Is this correct? Why not multiple TB inputs to make use of the larger MBPs and the Studio Mac, which have multiple TB buses. Of course, I’d need to come up with a workflow that would actually benefit from using multiple SSDs in any kind of RAID using multiple TB buses but I’m sure someone has that workflow.

    It uses SoftRAID, which is fine although I’d rather see a hardware RAID capability, especially when using HDDs (I’d only use these for backup and archiving, never for production).