I'd like to update my five year old Mac Pro with one of the new Mac Pros when they come out this fall, but I'm one of the people who's going to miss having internal expansion for optical drives and hard drives. I don't want to have to settle for a stack of external drives hooked up with a tangle of cables and a pile of power bricks.
My wish is for a 5-6 bay expansion chassis into which I can install two optical drives and 3-4 hard drives.
Ideally, all I'd need to hook up my new expansion chassis is a power cord and a single Thunderbolt cable. If it makes a significant difference in performance, maybe two thunderbolt cables. I'd certainly hope that the Thunderbolt performance and bandwidth is good enough that I won't want or need a dedicated Thunderbolt connection for each drive.
I could easily buy a stock mini PC case, throw in a power supply and my drives, but then how would I make the data flow? I've googled "thunderbolt sata adapter", but haven't found anything that really suits my needs. What I'd need is something that splits a single Thunderbolt connection into six SATA connections. I don't want it to be a PCI card because I don't want this expansion chassis to require a motherboard. If I have to settle for two such adapters because a single adapter only handles 3-4 SATA connectors, so be it.
The closest existing pre-built item I've seen is some Thunderbolt RAID arrays, but they're only similar in form factor to what I want, not in function, and way too pricey to hack into service for my needs even if possible.
I'm guessing that a new Mac Pro is going to cost me $2500-$3000, maybe even more depending on what options I choose for number of cores, speed, size of internal SSD (something I have mixed feelings about -- I don't like the data security issues of SSD storage). I don't want to have to spend another $1500-2000 just to get the kind of expansion I used to be able to enjoy from the Mac Pro itself.