Computers / Hands-on Review

Akitio: Reliable Storage Solutions for Video and Audio Production

Reliable storage solutions for video and audio production are sometimes difficult to narrow down. There are hundreds of options available, and it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate through all the online chatter on what best suits a user’s needs.

Akitio has been an affordable option that addresses the high-performance requirements for both the desktop editor and a mobile film crew. Manufacturing storage solutions since 1992, Akitio is a subsidiary of inXtron Inc., an international conglomerate that specializes in multimedia players, smart storage enclosures, digital signage solutions and software development. Akitio’s large collection of drives is broken up into four different categories: Thunderbolt, Portable, Desktop, Network/MyCloud, but many cross over into double scenarios. For the scope of this article, we will focus on Akitio’s Thunderbolt and Cloud drives, with a brief summary on the remaining desktop and portable solutions.

Thunderbolt Series

Akitio’s vast Thunderbolt series includes portable, desktop, and RAID storage options, portable docking stations, and PCIe expansion chassis.

The portable drive solution is the Neutrino-Thunderbolt Edition. The small, fanless case utilizes a passive heatsink and holds only one 2.5" drive, available in four SSD capacities (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB). The stackable, bus-powered case eliminates the need to haul an additional power supply.

The Palm Raid is Akitio’s smallest form factor, with a tethered, bus-powered Thunderbolt cable attached to a tiny 4.7 x 3.1" quiet case, less than 1" in height. The 512GB drive comes preinstalled with two 256 mSATA SSD drives and can be setup in RAID 0 or RAID 1, delivering fast throughput up to 700 MB/s.

For those wanting a multi-drive desktop solution, the Neutrino Thunder D3 includes a USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connection with transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps. Available as an empty chassis or models including 512GB, 2TB, and 4TB, these RAID 0 Arrays are designed for 2.5" (9mm - 15mm) internal SATA drives installed on removable trays and come equipped with a built-in fan for active cooling.

An ideal companion for notebooks, the Neutrino Thunder Duo is a compact, portable two-bay solution that is available with or without internal drives installed, letting the user select the wide variety of compatible 2.5" (9 – 15mm) SATA III hard drives or SSDs. Models include 512GB, 2TB, or 4TB that comes with two Thunderbolt ports for easy daisy-chaining of six additional devices.

The Thunder2 Quad is a 4-bay durable aluminum desktop case with top carrying handle and is Akitio’s first model utilizing the faster Thunderbolt 2 port. At 20 Gbps, Thunderbolt 2 delivers twice the speed of Thunderbolt and the Thunder2 Quad comes with two ports for daisy-chaining up to five devices, including addional drives or a single 4K display monitor. The chassis comes equipped with an internal SATA III interface to connect up to four 2.5" or 3.5" hard drives in easy-to-access removable trays, with speeds over 1,100 MBs, according to the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app. Add to this the fact that Thunderbolt 2 incorporates DisplayPort 1.2 support, allowing seamless 4K video streaming, and it’s clear the Thunder2 Quad is an excellent addition for the video editor. The drive also includes a large grip handle for relocating data on and off set, and Akitio’s Data Multiplier application for over 30% faster data backup. 

The Thunder2 Dock perfectly describes what it is: an external docking solution with two Thunderbolt 2 connections that enables owners of the latest Mac Pro to attach older, legacy products dating back years, preserving your initial investment for the foreseeable future. A second Thunderbolt port gives you the option of daisy-chaining up to six thunderbolt devices, including enough bandwidth for a 4K monitor. The Thunder Dock also includes two eSATA, one Firewire 800, and two bus-powered USB 3.0 ports for additional expansion.

Because of the limited expandability of the Mac Pro, the portable Thunder2 PCIe Expansion Chassis is a durable aluminum external chassis that connects one PCIe 2.0 x16 card (half-length, full-length, or double-width) via the included Thunderbolt 2 port for daisy-chaining up to six additional Thunderbolt devices. No tools are required to swap out PCIe cards—just remove the three hand-tightening screws. Compatible cards include the AJA Kona LHe/LHi and Blackmagic Design DeckLink series. 

MyCloud Series

A personal cloud is a server that provides a secure and safe storage area for digital content that can be shared over multiple devices with family and friends. All of the drives in this series come with MyCloud software, supporting network protocols, including UPnP for media streaming, iTunes music server, web-based file browser that is accessible from both Android and iOS mobile devices, and built-in Samba, AFP, NFS, and FTP server. The easy management of data allows users to free up space on their portable devices by moving music, pictures, and video onto a personal cloud, with future access via a wireless connection.

The MyCloud One is a one-bay desktop with a dual-core 750 MHz SoC (system-on-a-chip), integrating CPU, GPU, memory, USB controller, and wireless networking, all on one chip. Because of the smaller size of an SoC, the processor is ideal for smaller form factors like the MyCloud One. The MyCloud Mini is a smaller form factor with an internal bay designed for one 2.5" drive. Each drive comes equipped with two USB 2.0 ports and one RJ45 Ethernet port, with an additional eSATA port included on the MyCloud One and MyCloud Mini.

The MyCloud Duo is a two-bay desktop with a dual-core 750 Mhz ARM processor, 128MB DDR2 RAM and 256MB NAND memory that supports up to two SATA III hard drives with capacities up to 6TB each and RAID 0 or RAID 1. The MyCloud Pro has a dual-core 1.8 GHz Intel® Atom™ D525 processor in a two-bay aluminum housing, with heatsink and fan, and is the only cloud drive from Akitio with USB 3.0.

Desktop Series

Rounding out the non-Thunderbolt desktop series of drives, NT2-U3 (USB 3.0) and NT2 U3e (USB 3.0 & eSATA) are two-bay RAID 0 and 1 enclosures, and at 7.2 x 4.8 x 3.2", may be one of the smaller RAID chassis available today. 

The SK-3501 U3 is an aluminum case that houses one 3.5" hard drive with one USB 3.0 interface. The stackable, fanless chassis comes equipped with a large heatsink for passive cooling and quiet connection.

The dual-bay Taurus Super-S3 LCM includes an LCD info screen and quad interface (USB 3.0, eSATA, FireWire 800 and 400), in a perforated aluminum case with stand that is configurable in RAID 0 or 1.

The Hydra Super-S LCM is a four-bay chassis with configurable RAID controller for JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 3, 5, and 10 levels. Equipped with four 3.5" hot-swappable bays, the Hydra Super-S LCM has an LCD screen for easy device configuration, including temperature readings and fan speed. The quad interface includes USB 3.0, eSATA, FireWire 400 and 800 ports, and has support for up to 4TB per drive (16TB total).

Although categorized in the Akitio Desktop series, the MD4 U3e is a 1U rack-mount chassis that includes a configurable hardware RAID controller with RAID support for SPAN, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10. Equipped with eSATA and USB 3.0 external ports, the 4-bay sheet metal case has an internal SATA 3 controller for up to 6 Gbps transfer speed and is hot-swappable for easy replacement for defective drives.

Portable Series

There are a handful of non-Thunderbolt drives available from Akitio, including the FD-2500 U3 enclosurea slim, compact USB 3.0 drive in a screw-less plastic case, that accepts a single 2.5" (7mm – 9mm) SSD or hard drive.

The Neutrino U3 is a portable aluminum enclosure designed for larger 2.5" drives (7mm – 12.5mm), that is optimized for heat dissipation. The U3 is available as an empty case or 1TB with USB 3.0 (Neutrino U3) or USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 (Neutrino U3+).

Finally, there is the Taurus Mini Super-S3 LCM, a miniature version of the two-bay Taurus Super-S3 LCM, only this version houses two 2.5" (7mm – 12.5mm) drives. The Taurus Mini Super is available with 2TB or as a stand-alone case, and the two drives can be striped in either RAID 0 or RAID 1 via the included USB 3.0, eSATA, FireWIre 800 or FireWire 400 connectors.


Akitio continues to lead in Thunderbolt solutions, with an emphasis on optimal performance, speed, power, and affordability, all in tough and durable form factors. The requirements for the faster bandwidth of 4K production have required manufacturers to step up their game and deliver reliable options. Akitio has a proven track record in the many demanding facets of production work, including video, audio, and photo environments.