4-bay external enclosure question

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pullman, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. pullman macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #1
    I currently have my data drive and its SuperDuper clone inside my MP (both 3TB). I wish to move both or at least the clone to an external enclosure.

    I am going to need more space in the near future so am looking for a 4-bay enclosure that allows me to use Sata 3 drives.

    Thing is there are so many options and from brands I have never heard of before so I would very much appreciate suggestions on which enclosure to get. Also should I go for an eSata or USB 3 connection? I'm not thinking performance but 1) stability and 2) bootability (I may wish to put a bootable clone on one of the external drives).

    Thanks very much for your thoughts
    Philip
     
  2. Loa macrumors 65816

    Loa

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    #2
    Hello,

    I'm using esata with a very cheap card, and it works really well. On the other hand, it looks like the future isn't bright for esata on the Mac Pro, so maybe going USB3 would be a better long term investment.

    There is a thread called "State of USB3 on the Mac" or something like that in the Mac Pro forum. You'll find all the info you need on the USB3 cards.

    As for enclosures, as long you don't need RAID, just about any enclosure will work. I use Rosewill from newegg and they've been working great for me.

    Loa
     
  3. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #3
    Loa, thank you very much for responding and sharing your experience about this. I appreciate it a lot.

    USB 3 may be the better option in the long run and I'll certainly have a look at that thread (thanks for pointing me to it). The benefit of esata though, as I understand it, is that it is just a sata connection, meaning that no "session" will have to be established each time something happens on it. That appeals to me for some reason, though I don't know why.

    I don't really have a plan to upgrade my MP at the moment but perhaps esata is dead and I shouldn't go for it.

    I don't think I will be using RAID but I might. Would such enclosures cost a lot more or are they more complicated to use?

    cheers
    philip
     
  4. bsbeamer, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013

    bsbeamer macrumors 6502

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    #4
    You may want to stay away from the OWC 4-drive bay. It's reliable in RAID-5, but it's SLOW... excruciatingly slow during large file data transfers. If your just updating clones then you're speed may be a bit better. (I know Carbon Copy Cloner does this update well, assume SuperDuper does?)

    May also want to take a look at this thread for some info on bootable eSATA:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1486752

    Personally have had issues in the past with external bootable reliability on any port other than the built-in Firewire or USB ports (aside from the internal drive bays). Not sure if that matters to you for a clone, but worth mentioning.
     
  5. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #5
    Thanks for this info and for the link to the other thread. Very useful.

    I did once look at the OWC 4-bay enclosure Merucy Elite Qx2 but given the bad luck I've had with their RAM and SSDs I decided not to consider it further.
     
  6. bsbeamer macrumors 6502

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #6
    I know people who use the G-Tech G-SPEED models for video editing work, I believe in RAID-0 mode, but the connections they use vary greatly depending on model, price, and speed. Some connect via Mini SAS, but others are USB, Firewire, and I think eSATA.

    The CalDigit HDElement was a great unit awhile back, but that's probably more than you're looking for. Connects via Mini SAS and would require a PCIe card to be added. (The HDElement may be discontinued, haven't seen available stock in a long time.)

    Unfortunately, neither of these can be bought "bare" as far as I know.

    There will be Thunderbolt options coming in the future, but if they support USB in addition to Thunderbolt remains to be seen. The single and dual drive units to this point have been one or the other only.
     
  7. barmann macrumors 6502

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    #7
    It's a tough question right now; eSATA is dirt cheap and reliable, but has its quirks, and is no mid-long term solution considering the future MacPro .

    On your current MP, USB 3.0 is possibly quirky (see the thread mentioned above), and maybe look here too .

    Either way, I always look for JBOD/Non-Raid capability in multibay enclosures - and silent fans .

    As you said, there are countless brands , but most sell the same products under their own label, or just use a redesigned box .

    Some order those basic or slightly tweaked enclosures, but offer a varying degree of support and quality control, like OWC and Newertech, Raidsonic etc. .

    Sonnet, G-tech and others are reputable, do their own development, but come at a price .

    As for bootable clones in general; you might want to consider a slimmed down system drive or partition, that can quickly be cloned to a small external drive .

    My system and user drive is just under 60GB (no media libraries though), and is SuperDupered in minutes even to a cheap portable USB drive, with smart update in SD .

    Also, all my project files, and frequently used and most crucial data, is on seperate internal drives; all files and data that I don't need access to frequently, and/or doesn't require a fast connection, sits in external enclosures (including clones). Best thing I ever did re file management.

    I don't know your requirements, but I get away with a total of fast 1TB internal disk space; that's 5 drives plus one for Windows .
    I do photography, retouching and 3D modeling, works for me with some file discipline .

    The beauty of it - all 1TB worth of my crucial data, spread over several internal drives, fits on single cheap, partitioned USB drives, and my 1TB external Time Machine drive .
     
  8. pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #8
    Thanks for the great replies, guys.

    I hope I will be able to keep my 3,1 for some time to come so I wish to find a simple reliable solution. And with a q u i e t fan.

    Here in Holland, I can't seem to be able to find anyone selling Sonnet or G-Tech boxes though (here's Tweaker.net's list). Raidsonic exists though - is their IcyBox line any good (bearing in mind rebranding others' tech vs own development)?

    I take it to get Sata 3 speed I would need to put the esata card in the second PCIe slot (closest to the gfx card), right? Unless I'm mistaken slots 3 and 4 are not PCIe 2.0. Or am I completely off here?

    cheers
    Philip
     
  9. Boomhowler macrumors 6502

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  10. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #10
    No. To get SATA3 speed you need to buy a card that supports true SATA3. The cheap cards only get to 4-5Gb. Any PCI slot in the Mac can handle such low speed requirements.
     
  11. DisMyMac macrumors 65816

    DisMyMac

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    Sep 30, 2009
    #11
    If I buy this enclosure and 2 of these hard drives, will I be cool?

    Never done this before.... Do I also need SATA III cables, or do they just magically connect themselves?

    (I know the Pro will only get USB2 speeds in any case...)
     
  12. WSR macrumors regular

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    Jun 9, 2011
    #12
    I find Youtube to be a good source of product info.

    I searched Youtube under "ICY DOCK MB662U3-2S" and found the following that might give you the info you want.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxIHIm57lEY (Shows inserting drives withOUT cables)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o180LaOfgFE

    I just bought a Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2 ProBox 4 Bay Hard Drive Enclosure with USB 3.0 & eSATA with 2 WD Red 3T drives. It didn't need SATA III cables and what others I looked at also didn't. You just attached a provided spacer and slid them into a bay. The connector is at the back of the bay. So you basically just plug it in.
     
  13. DisMyMac macrumors 65816

    DisMyMac

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    #13
  14. pullman, Oct 2, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015

    pullman thread starter macrumors 6502

    pullman

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    #14
    I'll resurface this thread because it's now come to a point where I really need to add more drives.

    The Icy Box IB-3640SU3 enclosure gets good reviews over at Amazon. Well, with the exception of the cooling system -- the fan is ineffective because the front door doesn't have holes/a mesh to let air through. It's about 190€. Many users write that they drill holes in the door or leave it open.

    The other option is the OWC Mercury Elite Pro QX2 which has a mesh and should have better cooling. It is also 100€ more expensive at 280€. Plus it is an OWC product which I don't like (see my earlier post). I've seen there are also OWC Thunderbay models but I don't have Thunderbolt on my Mac Pro 3,1.

    NewerTech has a cool-looking and -named Guardian Maximus. It's a 2-bay enclosure; there doesn't seem to be a 4-bay version. It's got a mesh on the front so the cooling should be OK. It's priced at 125€ so I could get two for the price of the OWC, but that would use up ports on the computer.

    Are there other 4-bay enclosures with acceptable cooling that I should have a look at?

    EDIT: What about 4-bay DOCKs, such as this one? And there's a Silverstone TS432 which looks rather interesting too.

    Thanks very much for your thoughts.
    philip
     

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