Akitio may not be a familiar name to some of our readers. The company was founded in 2011 and focuses on high-performance external storage using the Thunderbolt interface. With that kind of history, it's not really a surprise that Akitio is first to market with a four-bay Thunderbolt 3 external disk enclosure, in the form of the aptly-named Thunder3 Quad.
The device is basically an aluminum box with four removable drive sleds that accept 2.5" or 3.5" SATA drives. Once you've installed the disks and connected the enclosure to AC power, you just plug a USB Type-C cable into a Thunderbolt 3-enabled port on your computer, and then plug the other end into the back of the Thunder3. Voilà, you've connected four more disks. Akitio says the enclosure can transfer data at up to 1375MB/s with a four-drive SSD array. This kind of speed should ensure near-native performance for hard drives. The company sells extra trays, too, in case you need spares for quick drive swaps.
The Thunder3 Quad is good for more than just connecting some extra disks, though. There are an extra Thunderbolt 3 port and a DisplayPort 1.1 connector on the back of the enclosure. Perhaps designed with devices like the Skull Canyon NUC in mind, the Thunder3 Quad allows users to connect a monitor and other Thunderbolt devices. One of Akitio's example scenarios shows the box working as a sort of docking station, connecting multiple peripherals to a laptop with a single Thunderbolt 3 cable.
The Thunder3 Quad is already available for purchase at Amazon for $429.99 for the bare enclosure. Akitio will also offer variants with either four 1-TB SSDs or four 8-TB HDDs preinstalled.