LaCie, CalDigit, and Promise Announce New Thunderbolt 3 Desktop Storage Systems at NAB 2016

A new 12-bay storage solution by LaCie, four- and eight-bay systems by CalDigit, and four-, six-, and eight-bay systems by Promise announced Monday at NAB 2016, all support Thunderbolt 3, even before Apple has a single device that supports the protocol. That shouldn't be the case after Apple computer announcements expected this summer (or perhaps through a refresh any moment); and some PCs already have Thunderbolt 3 support. But with mass adoption already around the corner, these three companies are showing they're ready to take on the transition to the new standard.

LaCie's 12big Thunderbolt 3 features 12 bays for up to 96 TB of storage with Seagate enterprise-class drives. Through the USB-C-type Thunderbolt 3 connection, this new 12big can get up to 2,600 MB/s throughput, or 2,400 MB/s in RAID 5 for those that prefer data redundancy at a marginal cost in throughput. The 12big Thunderbolt 3 also features redundant cooling fans.

CalDigit's four-bay T4 and eight-bay T8 systems are fairly straightforward, featuring an additional full-sized Display Port connection for connecting a 4K monitor at up to 60 Hz, support for both 3.5" and 2.5" hard disk drives and SSDs, and dual Thunderbolt 3 ports. However, both top out at 1,440 MB/s speeds with SSDs. While that might sound fast, it actually seems rather slow for eight or even four SSDs in any kind of RAID setup. The identical top transfer rates for both systems points to the possibility of a controller limitation. But price may be a major competing factor in comparison to similar products - once that part is announced. Both units will be available late this year.

Promise's standard lineup gains dual-port Thunderbolt 3 support also with its third-generation Pegasus3 R4, R6, and R8 storage systems. These also include a full-sized Display Port, but data transfer rates, availability, pricing, and configurations have not yet been announced. Expect them to be in line with other premium enterprise-class options in similar markets, as Promise historically caters to the creative professional.

Thunderbolt 3 (not to be confused with USB-C, which is the connector used for Thunderbolt 3, but which doesn't necessarily mean support for the standard) is the latest connection protocol and has the capability to replace the standard data transfer ports on many devices thanks to its smaller USB-C-type connector, 40 GB/s throughput, and the ability to carry two 4K display signals as well as higher amounts of power for peripherals.

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