4-bay HDD enclosures: Thoughts on OWC, Raidsonic and Sonnet?

pullman

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Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
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'(,,,,)°l°
I need more storage space and would very much appreciate to hear your views on the offerings from OWC, Raidsonic and Sonnet.

Thanks very much in advance
Philip
 

ClarkMcCollough

macrumors newbie
Jun 14, 2018
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0
I need more storage space and would very much appreciate to hear your views on the offerings from OWC, Raidsonic and Sonnet.

Thanks very much in advance
Philip
I have 2 OWC 4-bay external drives which I run with 4 3TB drives in RAID5 mode (9TB user data). My first is about 4 years old, my second about 1.5 years old. Never had any issues with the enclosure. I had individual disk failures along the way, but I had bought "spare" drives so I would have identical drives to substitute. OWC service is good.
 

pullman

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Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
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I have 2 OWC 4-bay external drives which I run with 4 3TB drives in RAID5 mode (9TB user data). My first is about 4 years old, my second about 1.5 years old. Never had any issues with the enclosure. I had individual disk failures along the way, but I had bought "spare" drives so I would have identical drives to substitute. OWC service is good.
Thanks a lot Clark. This is very helpful. Are those enclosures also useable as JBOD? I'm asking because I've set up my Mac Pro to clone the internal drives using SuperDuper. Or does the OWC have a hardware RAID controller too?

Br
Philip
 

LorenK

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Dec 26, 2007
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You might want to consider IcyDock as well. I have four of them, two are my 24TB backup in RAID and two are JBODs. I think that I've had them about a year and a half now, they replaced some equally inexpensive enclosures that failed. I use these because they have eSATA ports and I have an eSATA card in my MacPro, but they also have USB-C, so they are flexible. The reason that I went the IcyDock route is that prior cases tended to overheat, and the fans on the IcyDocks and their more open design are less likely to overheat either the case or the drives. I haven't had them long enough to say definitively that they will prevent problems of overheating, but I am happy so far, knock on wood, fingers crossed.
 

ClarkMcCollough

macrumors newbie
Jun 14, 2018
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0
Thanks a lot Clark. This is very helpful. Are those enclosures also useable as JBOD? I'm asking because I've set up my Mac Pro to clone the internal drives using SuperDuper. Or does the OWC have a hardware RAID controller too?

Br
Philip
My models have a rotating switch (screw with various position) that sets the configuration at the hardware level. Raid 0, 1 , 5, JBOD. In checking out their current web site offering, they have moved to softRAID rather than hardware settings. They explicitly support JBOD, and the starting size/set includes a softRAID lite which supports RAID 0,1. SoftRAID 5 requires you purchase the upgraded software. If you want to just run JBOD so you can SuperDuper copy other individual drives to the External enclosure, should work just fine without RAID5 upgrade. I see they also have adopted USBC connections, but typical OWC, they include a USBA to USBC cable to facilitate backward compatibility with legacy systems. When I first went to their web site, I was frustrated as all I could initially see was marketing speak. I added a system to the cart, then clicked on the item in the cart, and up popped the technical descriptions with all the detail I was looking for. I was surprised they didn't have a link directly from the web site to the tech specs, they used to.....
 

pullman

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Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
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Thank you Loren. I had forgotten about IcyDock, so thanks for reminding me. Any particular model you would recommend?

I have a Mac Pro 2008 and no eSATA ports. Initially I considered getting a Sonnet E2P which seems to be an inexpensive way to get it. But perhaps I should get a Thunderbolt card instead? I don't really know the benefits and drawbacks of each, except that Thunderbolt is newer tech. And then there's the USB-C as well to consider.

You might want to consider IcyDock as well. I have four of them, two are my 24TB backup in RAID and two are JBODs. I think that I've had them about a year and a half now, they replaced some equally inexpensive enclosures that failed. I use these because they have eSATA ports and I have an eSATA card in my MacPro, but they also have USB-C, so they are flexible. The reason that I went the IcyDock route is that prior cases tended to overheat, and the fans on the IcyDocks and their more open design are less likely to overheat either the case or the drives. I haven't had them long enough to say definitively that they will prevent problems of overheating, but I am happy so far, knock on wood, fingers crossed.
Thanks again Clark. Is SoftRAID really better? I used to run my internal drives in various RAID configurations using OS X's built-in software RAID. It was stable enough, but I remember reading that this caused extra work for the computer and that a hardware RAID controller would be preferable. I'll probably just JBOD for now, but having RAID as a possibility would be a good thing, I guess.

I guess I should really think of which connection I should use first, and then pick an enclousure. Does anyone have experienc with the Fusion QR?


My models have a rotating switch (screw with various position) that sets the configuration at the hardware level. Raid 0, 1 , 5, JBOD. In checking out their current web site offering, they have moved to softRAID rather than hardware settings. They explicitly support JBOD, and the starting size/set includes a softRAID lite which supports RAID 0,1. SoftRAID 5 requires you purchase the upgraded software. If you want to just run JBOD so you can SuperDuper copy other individual drives to the External enclosure, should work just fine without RAID5 upgrade. I see they also have adopted USBC connections, but typical OWC, they include a USBA to USBC cable to facilitate backward compatibility with legacy systems. When I first went to their web site, I was frustrated as all I could initially see was marketing speak. I added a system to the cart, then clicked on the item in the cart, and up popped the technical descriptions with all the detail I was looking for. I was surprised they didn't have a link directly from the web site to the tech specs, they used to.....
 

rpmurray

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Feb 21, 2017
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Back End of Beyond
I have a Mac Pro 2008 and no eSATA ports. Initially I considered getting a Sonnet E2P which seems to be an inexpensive way to get it. But perhaps I should get a Thunderbolt card instead?
You can't just buy a Thunderbolt card for the cMP. The motherboard would need to support it and for those models the hardware support is not there.
 
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pullman

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Feb 11, 2008
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Thank you, I didn't know this. Then I guess I need to limit myself to eSATA enclosures.

You can't just buy a Thunderbolt card for the cMP. The motherboard would need to support it and for those models the hardware support is not there.
 

LorenK

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Dec 26, 2007
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Silencio

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If you have a Mac Pro 3,1, the best bang-for-the-buck external interface you can add via PCIe is going to be USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB-C). Faster and more flexible than eSATA.
 

campyguy

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Mar 21, 2014
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Lots of storage space in my home and home office. Plenty of SonnetTech products in my company offices, bulletproof so far (need to find wood to knock on now... :eek:). OK, I'm back. Zero experience with the other two vendors.

IMO you should consider a couple of other products, both of which I own and have had zero issues with.

For DAS, I own a few 8TB WD easystore external drives; this drive is offered in 4-8TB configurations, only available at Best Buy, but only buy the 8TB unit - the secret to these are the Red or White NAS drives inside. USB Gen 1 interface, the Red drives have a cache twice the size of that in the stock bare drive, and they're pretty much on rotating sale price around $150-$160 every few weeks or so (the bare Red or White drive alone runs around $100 more than the easystore 8TB drive. There's posts about the 8TB unit and how to tell the difference between the drives with White and Red disks inside, but you'd have to go to a B&M store and look at the SN on the bottom of the boxes - all of mine are Red drives. 16TB of Red NAS drive storage for around $300 - good luck beating that! I use Arq Desktop with these, connected to my Mini Server.

The other drive is WD's own fairly new WD My Book Duo 20TB at $800. These are intended to be DAS, but it's set up pretty much as a NAS but with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface and dual Red NAS drives installed. You might be tempted by the 16TB unit at $600. These are fast units with different RAID modes available. This unit was IMO one of the first WD devices like this with USB 3.1 Gen 1.
 

pullman

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Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
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Thank you, that looks like a very cool enclosure, and good price too. I see Newegg also delivers to Europe these days, great news.

Here's a link to the ones that I have: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817198061

You will need an eSATA card if you want to go that route, but it also has USB 3.0, so that's an option as well. I found one with four ports, so I have four hooked up right now as I said.
Thank you. I've read up a bit on USB-C, that would definitely be the best. Can you recommend a good card? I only have one spot left in the computer, a non-full length spot. I see Sonnet has an Allegro card with USB-C 3.1 Gen 2. Am I right that 3.1 Gen 2 is the fastest implementation on USB-C?

If you have a Mac Pro 3,1, the best bang-for-the-buck external interface you can add via PCIe is going to be USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB-C). Faster and more flexible than eSATA.
Thank you, I hadn't considered WD options and those look great with fantastic prices too. Unfortunately I'm in Europe so a bit constrained by what's available here. Ideally I would like an enclosure that I can populate myself with drives over time.

Lots of storage space in my home and home office. Plenty of SonnetTech products in my company offices, bulletproof so far (need to find wood to knock on now... :eek:). OK, I'm back. Zero experience with the other two vendors.

IMO you should consider a couple of other products, both of which I own and have had zero issues with.

For DAS, I own a few 8TB WD easystore external drives; this drive is offered in 4-8TB configurations, only available at Best Buy, but only buy the 8TB unit - the secret to these are the Red or White NAS drives inside. USB Gen 1 interface, the Red drives have a cache twice the size of that in the stock bare drive, and they're pretty much on rotating sale price around $150-$160 every few weeks or so (the bare Red or White drive alone runs around $100 more than the easystore 8TB drive. There's posts about the 8TB unit and how to tell the difference between the drives with White and Red disks inside, but you'd have to go to a B&M store and look at the SN on the bottom of the boxes - all of mine are Red drives. 16TB of Red NAS drive storage for around $300 - good luck beating that! I use Arq Desktop with these, connected to my Mini Server.

The other drive is WD's own fairly new WD My Book Duo 20TB at $800. These are intended to be DAS, but it's set up pretty much as a NAS but with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface and dual Red NAS drives installed. You might be tempted by the 16TB unit at $600. These are fast units with different RAID modes available. This unit was IMO one of the first WD devices like this with USB 3.1 Gen 1.
 

LorenK

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Dec 26, 2007
384
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Illinois
Thank you. I've read up a bit on USB-C, that would definitely be the best. Can you recommend a good card? I only have one spot left in the computer, a non-full length spot. I see Sonnet has an Allegro card with USB-C 3.1 Gen 2. Am I right that 3.1 Gen 2 is the fastest implementation on USB-C?
Sorry, no recommendation on a USB-C card, but even with the eSATA cards, I always went with the cheapest, and have used cards that were basically add-ins for something else I bought. Generally, it seems most of the cards use the same base chipset, so as long as you have the most recent generation card, it will work. I've never had a PCIe card for either eSATA or USB fail in either of my 3,1 or 5,1. Good luck.
 

chelsel

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May 24, 2007
422
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I would NEVER again in a MILLION YEARS use anything from OWC. I purchased one a couple of years ago and had 4TB of data literally disappear overnight. I literally came home to the thing beeping. Tech support was absolutely useless. I even tried purchasing another OWC and moving my drives into that unit... but no luck. My data was toast. Thankfully I was able to reconstruct most everything from miscellaneous backups.

Now I use a Synology NAS. It is excellent! It even supports apps that will automatically backup your device to Amazon Glacier, S3 and other cloud services so I'll never have to worry about losing my data again. Highly recommended:

https://www.amazon.com/Synology-DS416play-NAS-DiskStation-Diskless/dp/B01GB9ZJ3Q

I need more storage space and would very much appreciate to hear your views on the offerings from OWC, Raidsonic and Sonnet.

Thanks very much in advance
Philip
 

dwfaust

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2011
6,140
6,933
I would NEVER again in a MILLION YEARS use anything from OWC. I purchased one a couple of years ago and had 4TB of data literally disappear overnight. I literally came home to the thing beeping. Tech support was absolutely useless. I even tried purchasing another OWC and moving my drives into that unit... but no luck. My data was toast. Thankfully I was able to reconstruct most everything from miscellaneous backups.

Now I use a Synology NAS. It is excellent! It even supports apps that will automatically backup your device to Amazon Glacier, S3 and other cloud services so I'll never have to worry about losing my data again. Highly recommended:

https://www.amazon.com/Synology-DS416play-NAS-DiskStation-Diskless/dp/B01GB9ZJ3Q
I had a Drobo that went bad... like you, I had almost everything backed up elsewhere, and didn't lose any data... and got the Synology DS418... still trying to get everything configured the way I want it, but loving it so far. My biggest concern with Synology is remotely accessing the data with Synology's self-signed certificate... but it works.
 

pullman

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
476
18
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Thanks Loren. Yes I think I'd be ok with most anywhich card.

Sorry, no recommendation on a USB-C card, but even with the eSATA cards, I always went with the cheapest, and have used cards that were basically add-ins for something else I bought. Generally, it seems most of the cards use the same base chipset, so as long as you have the most recent generation card, it will work. I've never had a PCIe card for either eSATA or USB fail in either of my 3,1 or 5,1. Good luck.
It's funny you say this. I've had two SSDs and several RAM sticks from OWC go kaput so I am very hesitant regarding that company. A compounding factor is that they only sell through a few dealers here in Europe most of which order from OWC which delays the process should something go wrong.

Thanks for the tip on the Synology NAS. Does that play well with Apple TV 3? I often stream my movies from the Mac Pro but it's a bit of a hassle to go flights of stairs to turn it on so a NAS might be what I need.

I would NEVER again in a MILLION YEARS use anything from OWC. I purchased one a couple of years ago and had 4TB of data literally disappear overnight. I literally came home to the thing beeping. Tech support was absolutely useless. I even tried purchasing another OWC and moving my drives into that unit... but no luck. My data was toast. Thankfully I was able to reconstruct most everything from miscellaneous backups.

Now I use a Synology NAS. It is excellent! It even supports apps that will automatically backup your device to Amazon Glacier, S3 and other cloud services so I'll never have to worry about losing my data again. Highly recommended:

https://www.amazon.com/Synology-DS416play-NAS-DiskStation-Diskless/dp/B01GB9ZJ3Q
[doublepost=1529479515][/doublepost]Btw I just had a reply from Raidsonic that they will soon start to sell a 4-bay enclosure from Akitio with Thunderbolt 3. I guess it is this one.
 

pullman

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Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
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Just an update - Sonnet's customer support has written back that the Fusion will be Thunderbolt-enabled later.
 

treestar

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Feb 28, 2010
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I love the Blackmagic MultiDock 2 and I recommend it if you can live with 2.5" drives. It has been 100% reliable for me, allows software RAID configurations, hotswapping, and silent operation. It's a very nice, fan-less Thunderbolt 2 unit. You can get speeds around 1.2 GBps over Thunderbolt 2 with SSDs. It's not the cheapest solution, but I'd say it's reasonably priced and very convenient if you want something more like a dock than an enclosure. I have two daisy-chained.
 
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HDFan

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Jun 30, 2007
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Thanks for the tip on the Synology NAS. Does that play well with Apple TV 3? I often stream my movies from the Mac Pro but it's a bit of a hassle to go flights of stairs to turn it on so a NAS might be what I need.
I've had issues with Western Digital, but when they came out with the PR4100 and the Plex site had an article talking about it's great performance (they even offered a promo price) I bit the bullet and got one. I didn't want to keep my MacPro and disks powered up all the time. Works like a champ with Plex, no problems. Haven't tried 4K though ...
 
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FireWire2

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Oct 12, 2008
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Thanks a lot Clark. This is very helpful. Are those enclosures also useable as JBOD? I'm asking because I've set up my Mac Pro to clone the internal drives using SuperDuper. Or does the OWC have a hardware RAID controller too?

Br
Philip
This may be a little late. But consider other manufacture like DATOptic, Areca...
For JBOD SATA only This is the best as far as cost and feature:
https://tinyurl.com/yas72mvn
It is eight tray-less bays with built-in two eSATA port (6gb). Now you can access eSATA drive anytime
 
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