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OWC Thunderbay 4 with SSDs - Turning the fan off

jason_

Member
Hey guys,

I have a Thunderbay 4 here that I'd like to use with SSDs. Was wondering if any of you who have one have had any luck with disconnecting the fan on the back? It's far to loud to have in the studio while recording.

From what I know, SSDs don't get very hot. The Black Magic Multi-dock for instance doesn't have any form of fans, so I would think this would be ok to do and not be hazardous to the drives... Or an I wrong and they'll overheat?

What do you think?
 

babylonwaves

Darth Fader
you can measure the temperature of the SSDs using e.g. SMART Utilities - everything below maybe 40 degrees celsius should be fine. the SSDs will not emit much thermal energy but the power supply might need a bit of cooling. i have replaced the fan on my thunderbays with a silent fans but you might get away without.
 
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jason_

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you can measure the temperature of the SSDs using e.g. SMART Utilities - everything below maybe 40 degrees celsius should be fine. the SSDs will not emit much thermal energy but the power supply might need a bit of cooling. i have replaced the fan on my thunderbays with a silent fans but you might get away without.

Thanks!! Which silent fan are you using and how big of a difference did it make?
Are you using SSDs in your thunderbay?
 

babylonwaves

Darth Fader
i'm using fans by Nocturne but depending on where you're located just get a good and silent fan. i'm using 4x1TB samsung Evo 840 SSDs. the difference is that i cannot hear the enclosure anymore at all.
 
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jason_

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Thats great. It's the enclosure noise that makes it unworkable. Can you send me a link to the exact fan you're using? If you can't hear it at all, then thats the fan I want!

4x1TB Samsung Evo 840 - Lovely !! I'm going to start with 2, but should be on 4 by years end.
 

gpax

Senior Member
My Thunderbay 4, with four sample-dedicated SSDs, puts out heat. As for the purpose of the fan, I’m guessing the unit, designed for larger HDDs (assuming you are not talking about the MINI), is attempting to cool both drives and internal components of the unit itself.

Hence, the Black Magic Multi-dock may be fan-less precisely because of the way it's designed: The SSDs and components are spaced out. The Thunderbay 4 is obviously much more compact, in a toaster sized enclosure. I'd be wary that the TB4 could heat up and adversely impact the SSDs if you removed the fan.

I DO believe Babylonwaves, and I followed the suggestion from another thread and ordered a Nocturne fan. But for whatever reason, even with the specs listing the decibel level as quieter than the fan in the TB4 (and even more quiet if throttled) it was louder. So, I put the old fan back in.

My best investment was a longer Corning Optical thunderbolt cable. Even nine or ten feet can be expensive, but it allows the potential of putting the TB4 unit in a closet or other room altogether.
 
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jason_

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My Thunderbay 4, with four sample-dedicated SSDs, puts out heat. As for the purpose of the fan, I’m guessing the unit, designed for larger HDDs (assuming you are not talking about the MINI), is attempting to cool both drives and internal components of the unit itself.

Yes, talking about the larger one that can take 3.5" drives too.

Hence, the Black Magic Multi-dock may be fan-less precisely because of the way it's designed: The SSDs and components are spaced out. The Thunderbay 4 is obviously much more compact, in a toaster sized enclosure. I'd be wary that the TB4 could heat up and adversely impact the SSDs if you removed the fan.

Thats also very true!

I DO believe Babylonwaves, and I followed the suggestion from another thread and ordered a Nocturne fan. But for whatever reason, even with the specs listing the decibel level as quieter than the fan in the TB4 (and even more quiet if throttled) it was louder. So, I put the old fan back in.

Wow thats no good! :( Sorry to hear that!

My best investment was a longer Corning Optical thunderbolt cable. Even nine or ten feet can be expensive, but it allows the potential of putting the TB4 unit in a closet or other room altogether.

I looked into that but the cost of that cable doesn't seem worth it to me. For that money I might as well just sell the Thunderbay and buy a Multidock.
 

gpax

Senior Member
I looked into that but the cost of that cable doesn't seem worth it to me. For that money I might as well just sell the Thunderbay and buy a Multidock.
Yeah, it doesn't look like anyone is still making the ten-foot lengths, such as I found last year - used - from B&H (even so, it was about $87).
 
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jason_

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Yeah, it doesn't look like anyone is still making the ten-foot lengths, such as I found last year - used - from B&H (even so, it was about $87).

$87 is a steal !! I'd happily pay that. The length I need though to stick the Thunderbay into another room would have to be about 10 meters...So I'd be looking at $300 for the cable alone :/

 

babylonwaves

Darth Fader
I DO believe Babylonwaves, and I followed the suggestion from another thread and ordered a Nocturne fan. But for whatever reason, even with the specs listing the decibel level as quieter than the fan in the TB4 (and even more quiet if throttled) it was louder. So, I put the old fan back in.
the fan I bought included two resistors which you can put in between the fan and the power socket. they call those "low noise adapters". those reduce the reps and therefore the noise. it is a bit strange though, the fan in my TB4 was much louder than the Noctua fan even w/o those resistors.
here's some details on the fan: Noctua NF-B9 redux-1600 - i bought it in 2014, so there might be an updated version.
 

wbacer

A Work in Progress
I have two of the OWC Thunderbolt mini enclosures, both are loaded with 4 Samsung 850 1TB SSDs.
I also found the fan to be noisy and also noticed that the enclosures after running all day were barely warm.
About a year ago, I took the fan out of both enclosures and after running all day, they are still barely warm.
I have not had any issues.
 
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jason_

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I have two of the OWC Thunderbolt mini enclosures, both are loaded with 4 Samsung 850 1TB SSDs.
I also found the fan to be noisy and also noticed that the enclosures after running all day were barely warm.
About a year ago, I took the fan out of both enclosures and after running all day, they are still barely warm.
I have not had any issues.
Thats great news!!
Now I wonder if this also applies to the larger Thunderbay (the one which I have)
 
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jason_

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the fan I bought included two resistors which you can put in between the fan and the power socket. they call those "low noise adapters". those reduce the reps and therefore the noise. it is a bit strange though, the fan in my TB4 was much louder than the Noctua fan even w/o those resistors.
here's some details on the fan: Noctua NF-B9 redux-1600 - i bought it in 2014, so there might be an updated version.

Thanks! I'll look into this one :)
 

gpax

Senior Member
the fan I bought included two resistors which you can put in between the fan and the power socket. they call those "low noise adapters". those reduce the reps and therefore the noise. it is a bit strange though, the fan in my TB4 was much louder than the Noctua fan even w/o those resistors.
here's some details on the fan: Noctua NF-B9 redux-1600 - i bought it in 2014, so there might be an updated version.
Yes, the fan I bought is the NF-A9 92mm, with a silver sticker on the front that says "successor of the award-winning NF-B9." I still have it ready to return. By "throttle," I meant that I also tried the resistors lowering the speed. The whirring of both speeds was simply louder than the original TB 4 fan, oddly, sounding very much like a little fan. Odd.
 

gpax

Senior Member
I have two of the OWC Thunderbolt mini enclosures, both are loaded with 4 Samsung 850 1TB SSDs.
I also found the fan to be noisy and also noticed that the enclosures after running all day were barely warm.
About a year ago, I took the fan out of both enclosures and after running all day, they are still barely warm.
I have not had any issues.
I had a series of lengthy emails and phone conversations with OWC about this, trying to glean how/why the Thunderbay 4 might run hotter and louder than the mini. The rep could not be definitive, and it was a situation where I was actually supplying information to him. I think it's safe to say these are two different units, both in size and weight, and even the smaller fan of the mini is going to run inherently quieter. My concern for the larger Thunderbay 4, even with SSDs using adapter/brackets inside, is that the design itself of the board may actually run hotter and need to be cooled, irrespective of the drives.
 
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jason_

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I had a series of lengthy emails and phone conversations with OWC about this, trying to glean how/why the Thunderbay 4 might run hotter and louder than the mini. The rep could not be definitive, and it was a situation where I was actually supplying information to him.

That sounds like my dealings with them too. All they seemed to know was; "no fan = bad!", but couldn't elaborate or provide me with additional information.

My concern for the larger Thunderbay 4, even with SSDs using adapter/brackets inside, is that the design itself of the board may actually run hotter and need to be cooled, irrespective of the drives.

Exactly my concern. I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this.
 

gpax

Senior Member
It occurs to me, in reading this thread (and a previous one), that the bottom line is the OWC option means working around fans for those of us using them.
I though OWC or StarTech would still have 3m lengths - no?
You are correct. 3m for around $50. I should perhaps clarify that mine was actually 11', and is no longer sold. I recall that it just barely met the distance I needed, with the 3m (9.8 ft) options being about a foot too short.
 
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jason_

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I have two of the OWC Thunderbolt mini enclosures, both are loaded with 4 Samsung 850 1TB SSDs.
I also found the fan to be noisy and also noticed that the enclosures after running all day were barely warm.
About a year ago, I took the fan out of both enclosures and after running all day, they are still barely warm.
I have not had any issues.

Decided to get a Tunderbay Mini and plan to disconnect the fan as you have done. Will just use the regular Thunderbay 4 for my 3.5" drives and connect it up too my MacMini server which is in another room.
 

michaelrohanek

New Member
Hello, this is my FIRST ever comment on this site... !! I just disconnected my fan in the OWC TB mini. Same config as wbacer. Let's see how it goes :)
 
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