OWC (Other World Computing) just unveiled a couple of products: A brand new and full-sized Thunderbolt 4 Dock, a smaller USB-C Travel Dock and two storage solutions. One of them, the Envoy Pro FX, sports a universal Thunderbolt 4 connection, the other one, called U2 Shuttle, acts as a classic 3.5″ HDD enclosure but with modern NVME M.2 SSDs in it.
OWC has been pretty active lately, with the announcement that all of their latest Thunderbolt docks and storage solutions are compatible with modern M1-powered Macs, and now they have four new products coming your way. Their flagship Thunderbolt Dock has been upgraded to support Thunderbolt 4. There’s also a new USB-C travel dock and two new ultra-fast storage solutions.
OWC Thunderbolt 4 Dock
First up is a new dock in town, and it’s equipped with the latest Thunderbolt 4 (40Gb/s). The kicker is that this Thunderbolt 4 dock supports up to three independent daisy chains. So you can connect multiple devices and even disconnect one device in a chain without affecting the other chains. The dock also supports multiple bus-powered storage devices in the chain. A very handy feature in my opinion!
The dock itself offers 11 different ports:
- 3 x USB-A (10Gb/s)
- 3x Thinderbolt 4 (40 GB/s)
- 1 GB/s Ethernet
- SD card slot (312 MB/s)
- 3.5mm Audio
- 1x USB 2.0
- 1x Thunderbolt 4 uplink to computer (40 GB/s)
- Kensington lock (and Nano Security Slot) for security
If you’re using a Mac, you’ll need a recent Mac running macOS 11.1 BigSur, even if the computer only has a Thunderbolt 3 port. If you need a dock for earlier versions of macOS, check out OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock. If you’re using a Windows machine, any PC with a Thunderbolt 4 port will work with this dock.
The Thunderbolt 4 Dock offers up to 90W of charging power via the Thunderbolt 4 ports. As a nice feature, you can eject multiple connected drives with a single click using the OWC Dock Ejecter app.
The dock can fuel a single 5K/6K/8K display or up to two 4K displays (although I’m not sure how this interferes with the limitations of M1-powered Macs, which can officially only run an external display). One last nice touch: OWC includes a 0.8m Thnderbolt 4 cable in the box.
This dock is $249 and it is on pre-order right now. It’s scheduled for a mid-February delivery. More info here.
OWC USB-C Travel Dock E
Next up is the OWC USB-C Travel Dock E, which is sort of the little brother of the larger Thunderbolt 4 Dock. It is meant to be used on the go, while the Thunderbolt 4 Dock is mainly meant to be placed on the desk. The Travel Dock features USB-C as an uplink with an integrated cable and offers a number of ports that you need on the go:
- USB-C Power Pass-Thru (100W)
- HDMI 2.0 (up to 4K)
- 2x USB 3.2 (5GB/s)
- SD Card Reader (312 MB/s)
- 1GB/s Ethernet
The inclusion of Ethernet is the main selling point for this updated dock, as the previous version didn’t offer wired network connections. And of course, since this unit supports USB-C, you can use it with your iPad or other tablet/smartphone!
The uplink cable is integrated into the device, so you have a total of 6 ports that you can use. The downside might be that if the built-in cable breaks, the whole device becomes unusable, but it is often quite convenient not to have to search for a cable on the go.
The OWC USB-C Travel Dock E sells for $64.99 and it’s available for pre-order now. It should ship in Februrary this year. More info here.
OWC Envoy Pro FX & U2 Shuttle
Last but not least, here are two new storage devices from OWC to discover: The Envoy Pro FX and the U2 Shuttle.
The Envoy Pro FX is a Thunderbolt 4 external drive that focuses on both speed and ruggedness. Available in 240GB / 480GB / 1TB and 2TB variants, it offers speeds of up to 2800MB/s and is IP67 (MIL-STD810G) rated. OWC’s own Aurora SSDs are used inside here.
The Envoy Pro FX is $169 (240GB), $199 (480GB), $299 (1TB) and $479 (2TB). More info here.
Finally, the OWC U2 Shuttle is a kind of special product. It comes in the form of a regular 3.5-inch hard drive, but offers a completely different set of features inside: There are no moving parts and slow transfer speeds here! Instead, you can install up to four NVME M.2 SSDs yourself.
This results in much better transfer rates and you can even set the internal drives to act as a RAID array (modes 0, 1, 4, 5 or 1+0) to meet your specific speed/protection needs. Once that’s done, you can use the resulting 3.5″ drive as you would any normal hard drive, such as installing it in a NAS.
The enclosure itself is $149, but you also can pick and choose a pre-filled enclosure:
- 1 TB: $339
- 2 TB: $449
- 4 TB: $749
- 8 TB: $1,349
- 16 TB: $3,379
Yes, that’s right: you can use these U2 Shuttle devices with up to 16 TB of fast NVME M.2 SSD storage. That gets expensive pretty quickly, but if you need 16 TB in just one drive, with optional RAID, and with great transfer speeds: this U2 Shuttle could be a decent solution.
For more information, head over to OWC.
All of these new devices seem to be quite handy for media professionals, offering different use cases for both the studio and on the go.
Link: OWC website
What do you think? Are these new products worth a closer look? Do you need/use Thunderbolt Docks. And what about fast external storage? Share your experiences in the comments below!