4+ Bay 2.5" Drive Enclosures?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by haravikk, May 1, 2018.

  1. haravikk macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    So it's that time again when I'm reevaluating my storage setup, but unfortunately I seem to be in quite a niche area; I need high capacity, directly attached storage, but would like it to be as compact as possible.

    Currently I have two external, bus-powered 2tb USB 3 drives for a 4tb main volume, and a single external 5tb USB 3 drive for Time Machine backups, plus a 6tb NAS as a second backup, but I'm in danger of outgrowing the 4tb main volume (and everything else as well soon after).

    The thing is, I'd really like to not just upgrade capacity, but also add some redundancy on those directly attached drives.

    So I've been looking for USB 3 drive enclosures, preferably supporting four or more disks, and ideally 2.5" disks so that the units can be as compact as possible, but I've been finding the pickings to be rather slim. There used to be the Drobo Mini, which I'd though I might get, but Drobo appear to have since discontinued this, so prices aren't great and items have dubious warranty coverage.

    Are there any good multi-bay units out there? I'm willing to consider 3.5" units as well if there are better options, and four bays is just a minimum, but bearing in mind that I'd like something reasonably compact (unfortunately where I am space is at a premium). Any got anything like this that they're using?

    Onboard RAID support would be great, but not a requirement, as I can always use AppleRAID or OpenZFS for combining disks; I realise over a single connection performance won't be amazing, but it just needs to be good enough for moving large files back and forth from time to time (we're talking maybe 1-5 gigabytes a day, but ever growing).

    My system doesn't have Thunderbolt, and I'd prefer not to go the NAS route for a main volume as I have more than enough networking headaches as it is :)
  2. jdelgado macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    I do not have a specific system to suggest, but you can have a look at Akitio's enclosures.
    I see that in their website they offer a 4-bay enclosure (Thunder3 RAID Station) that has TB, USB and ethernet.
    I have two 2-bay and they work quite well (Duo Pro). Maybe you can consider two of these and daisy-chain them?
  3. oodelay, May 2, 2018
    Last edited: May 2, 2018

    oodelay macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2018
    The AKiTiO is a good option. However the Thunder3 RAID is only a 2 drive solution. You were seeking more. I might suggest the Thunder3 Quad Mini as a 2.5" drive solution. For larger drives, or a combination, the Thunder3 Quad X (Or Thunder2 Quad if you only have Thunder2 port available). These are all JBOD drive enclosures, but you can use your OS or a software RAID if desired.
  4. haravikk thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    The Akitio enclosures do look good, but are they actually USB 3 compatible? I know that Thunderbolt 3 can now use the USB type C connector (I think), but surely I still need a Thunderbolt compatible system to use them? I only have USB3 available, which is what's leading to difficulties; I wouldn't mind an enclosure that can handle both Thunderbolt and USB 3, so I've got the option of Thunderbolt in future, but for now it's USB 3 support that I need.
  5. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Clearly from the product page, https://www.akitio.com/desktop-storage/thunder3-raid-station the Thunder3 RAID Station absolutely needs Thunderbolt 3 to connect to, so it's not a choice for you haravikk. Same applies to the Thunder3 Quad Mini.

    I've never seen a 4-bay 2.5 inch enclosure for USB3 connections, only 3.5 inch drive enclosures.
  6. jdelgado macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    You are correct; my mistake, sorry.
    I got confused because I have a 2011 mini that has a TB/mini display port. I used to connect my monitor there and I forgot it was also a TB port.
    When I bought the Akitios, I use that port to connect to one of my Duo Pros (Mini DP->TB3), daisy chain this one to the other one (TB3->TB2), and from there I go back to my monitor (DP->Mini DP).
    I do not know what system does the OP have, but I maybe the above might be an option.
  7. haravikk thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2005
    Oh they do exist, like I say, the Drobo Mini used to be one, in fact it supported both Thunderbolt and USB 3, but in the time since it was introduced (about a week after I last upgraded my storage) and me wanting one now it seems to be been discontinued. Typical!

    I've found a few myself, for example this by Sabrent:

    Seems nice and compact; though it's billed as more of a docking station rather than serious storage.

    I guess I was just hoping more companies might have released something similar to the Drobo Mini, as it would have been perfect since it's about the size of a chunky 3.5" disk enclosure, but fits four 2.5" drives, so ideal for a setup occupying minimal space. I haven't been able to find out why Drobo are no longer offering it.
  8. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Actually, that Sabrent unit will fit the bill nicely. It claims simultaneous access to all four drives, its compact, has good customer reviews and one claims he is running the drives in RAID without any problems. And that's one of the best prices I've seen for a 4 disk enclosure.

    Otherwise, check out OWC for their available options. Though none will be as cheap as the Sabrent, they are very good quality. I used multiple RAID enclosures (incl. 2.5") from them back in the Firewire days.

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