OWC announces the Flex 1U4 with rackmount Thunderbolt storage, PCIE expansion, more

Owc Flex 1u
Owc Flex 1u (Image credit: OWC)

What you need to know

  • OWC has announced the Flex 1U4 with Thunderbolt connectivity.
  • The new rackmount chassis supports up to 128TB of capacity.
  • A combination of HDD and NVMe storage can be used.

OWC has today announced the Flex 1U4, a new rackmount solution that offers four bays of storage, PCIe expansion, and more via Thunderbolt.

The new device can house traditional hard disks, NVMe SSDs, or a combination of the two with prices starting at $1,899 with 16TB of capacity via four 4TB 7200RPM drives. Things increase in price from there — going all the way to $9,499 if you spec 32TB of NVMe and 54TB of HDD storage.

All of that connects to devices via Thunderbolt and there is an additional Thunderbolt port for daisy-chaining capabilities. There are advanced RAID features, as you'd expect, as well as a PCIe expansion slot that can be used for various duties.

Owc Flex 1u4 Front Back

Owc Flex 1u4 Front Back (Image credit: OWC)

OWC says that the Flex 1U4 is designed to live in all kinds of business and education environments, whether that's on a film set or in a server room.

The full rundown of features includes:

  • 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

It's safe to say that the OWC Flex 1U4 won't be for everyone. But if it sounds like something you or your business can use you can place an order today. Depending on who you are and what you do, this could well be the best Mac purchase you make this year.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.