The AKiTio Thunder2 Quad Is a Powerhouse Thunderbolt Hard Drive Enclosure

The AKiTio Thunder2 Quad is a 4-bay external hard drive enclosure with dual Thunderbolt ports that is able to transfer data up to 20 Gbps or 1,375 MB/s.   It has a large handle on top as well as a carrying bag for easy transport. This sturdy hard drive enclosure, perfect for professionals, retails for $499 with no storage included.

Akitio Thunder2 Quad Cover

The Thunder2 Quad supports up to four 3.5” or 2.5” hard drives or SSDs, and it has a large fan that operates at a low-speed for quiet cooling of your drives. Speaking of cooling, the outer case is made of high quality aluminum to allow for optimized head dissipation to keep the heat away from your drives.

Everything included with the Thunder2 Quad.

Everything included with the Thunder2 Quad.

In order to open the enclosure to install hard drives, you have to hold a button on the bottom of the unit to release the enclosure and it slides forward half-an-inch. Then you clip the front cover off in order to expose the four hard drive bays. You unscrew the hard drive bay locks and then install each individual hard drive. You’ll want to make sure you use the included screws to ensure the hard drives will not move around inside the enclosure. What I will say about this enclosure, is that it feels like it is built to last. Only small parts of the interior of the enclosure are made of plastic, while the rest is made of high quality metal. I’ve been very impressed with the build quality of the Thunder2 Quad.

The front.

The front.

The Thunder2 Quad comes with the enclosure itself, a Thunderbolt cable, power adapter, setup guide, hard drive screws, carrying bag, and Velcro cable strap. You’ll need to purchase hard drives separately in order to start using your external enclosure right away. If your computer does not have a Thunderbolt port, you’ll need to look elsewhere, as the Thunder2 Quad can ONLY use Thunderbolt cables for data transfer. The Thunder2 Quad cannot directly connect to a network like Network Attached Storage systems can, so if you’re looking to share your data center throughout your network, you’ll have to enable drive sharing through your computer.

It is important to note that the Thunder2 Quad does not support Hardware RAID and only supports Software RAID. Hardware RAID means that a controller inside the hard drive enclosure creates and manages your RAID configuration. In this configuration, you can remove a hard drive from one enclosure and install it into another Hardware RAID enclosure without loss of data. In Software RAID, the RAID configuration and data is dependent on the system it’s running on and cannot be accessed by another system. For more information on RAID configurations and the difference between Hardware and Software RAID, see Akitio’s support page dedicated to this subject.

The back.

The back.

Unfortunately, my review unit did not come with any hard drives for testing, so I had to test with the hard drives I had available. What I had available was a single Hitachi HDS723020BLA642 2TB 7200RPM hard drive. It’s a decent drive, but I did not expect to see fantastic transfer speed results in my testing. I tested with a Macbook Air, and you’ll see my data transfer speed test results below. Obviously, my testing environment was not the best possible scenario to test the power of the Akitio Thunder2 Quad.

8-Akitio Thunder2 Quad Gear Diary

As you saw above, the test speeds I witnessed were about 102 MB/s write and 103 MB/s read. Since AKiTio advertises speeds up to 1,375 MB/s, I would have to conclude that my test results are not average and should not be considered when deciding whether to purchase the AKiTio Thunder2 Quad. Unfortunately, however, it is not known whether the 1,375 MB/s that AKiTio claims is only achievable in the optimum environment with SSDs and a monster-spec’d PC.

The underside of the Thunder2 Quad.

The underside of the Thunder2 Quad.

Overall, I think the AKiTio Thunder2 Quad is a great external hard drive option for the professional who is looking to do video editing and needs fast data transfer speeds between his PC and the storage device. It has huge storage capacity, great heat dissipation, and should have excellent data transfer speeds under the right conditions. You just need to make sure that your Mac or PC has a Thunderbolt port.

You can purchase the Thunder2 Quad at prices starting at $499 directly from AKiTio, or starting at $379 from our Amazon Affiliate Store.

Source: The AKiTio Thunder2 Quad was provided to me as a review sample by the manufacturer.

What I Like:  Easy to set up; Easy to use; Heavy aluminum provides for great heat dissipation; Huge storage capability; Great alleged transfer speeds.

What Needs Improvement:  The enclosure is heavy; Sort of clunky to open enclosure to install/uninstall drives.


About the Author

Perry Brauner
I'm an architect by trade, but the overarching theme of my life has always been trying to keep up with the newest, coolest technology. Ever since I picked up an NES controller, I've been hooked on the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos, and toys. Whether it's gaming, mobile phones, and accessories, or PCs and Apple products, I'm interested. I use many Apple products in my daily life, such as the iPhone, iPad, and my MacBook Pro. I've also built a few PCs in my day, so I'd like to say that I'm a pretty well-rounded techie.