Anyone using Lacie 5Big or 2Big Thunderbolt? I have a question.

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by iBug2, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. iBug2 macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    I'm thinking of buying the Lacie 5Big or 2Big Thunderbolt. I have several questions.

    1. Can you actually swap the hard drives without fastening them with screws to the trays? I know you are supposed to but would it be possible for faster operation to the whole thing without using any of the screws? I have tons of hard drives which I want to swap quite frequently so I don't want to waste 2 minutes for every swap.

    2. How big is the noise of the device? Is it annoying enough?
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Bother the wife and I have 2Big Thunderbolt 6TB running in RAID 1, 3TB mirrored. We both have 3TB drives that backup both our internal SSDs and our respective 2Bigs.

    Don't know as neither of us have had any reason to open the cases. Why would you want to rotate drives? Put in a pair or 3TB or 4TB. If you need more storage, go to a 5Big using 3TB or 4TB drives. Give the older small drives to family/friends you can't afford a 2Big or 3Big.

    The only noise is when I wake it up in the morning. Sitting on my desk beside my ATD, I don't hear anything from it. Same goes the the wife's unit.
  3. iBug2 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    I have approximately 100TB's of data. That's why. :)
  4. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    You need to use the brackets and fasten with screws.

    For simple testing, I have set the unit on it's back with slots facing up, and you can insert a bare drive. But note well, there is nothing supporting the drive, and if you are not careful, you could break the SATA connector.

    I've even tested mine with various SSDs but you will need skinny hands and nimble fingers to insert the drive and extract them. The slots are quite narrow, and the SATA connector is quite deep inside.
  5. iBug2 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    What about if you just put the drive in the bracket and then with the bracket slide it in, without screws? Would that work?
  6. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    A 3.5" drive can be slid in if you are careful, but without the screws, it will be a bit difficult to extract the drive. You will pull out only the bracket.

    If you shoud bump or move the 5big chassis while the drive is unsecured, youmay damage the connector.

    You are trying to save a little time. You won't be happy if something goes wrong. You will forget at some point that the drives are not secure, and you will be sorry.

    As a shortcut, perhaps you could use only two of the 4 screws. screws. :D

    Here is a pic:

    Attached Files:

  7. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Or find a source of cheap trays and have each drive wearing one. Then you are moving whole trays back and forth.

    The key bit actually is making sure every box is setup for separate drive operation so the intelligence does try to combine any of your units.
  8. g4cube macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2003
    There is no intelligence inside the 2big or 5big Thunderbolt.

    Just Thunderbolt to SATA interface using the ASMedia PCIe to SATA bridge chips. The Thunderbolt controller is Thunderbolt to PCIe.

    Apple Disk Utility is used to directly access each drive individually, and OS X either treats the 2big and 5big as JBOD, RAID-0, or RAID-1 depending on the formatting options used with Apple Disk Utility.
  9. iBug2 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    Actually this might make sense. I have 35 hard drives, if I could find those trays for 5$, that'd be a steal.

    My current setup is using two eSATA docking stations for my drives, I can swap them easily as there are no screws. However for each docking station I need a separate eSATA or USB port, which is nonsense, and I can't have more than 2 drives mounted at a time, I'd have to add more and more docking stations and more and more ports for that.

    Lacie 5Big solves my problem as it uses a single Thunderbolt port and I can have 5 drives mounted at a time. But when I'll want to swap, it'll take time. But with 5 drives I'll swap less than a 2 drive setup, nevertheless when I do swap, I don't want to spend 2 minutes checking each drive.
  10. Flat-Line macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2013
    LaCie trays are hard to find for cheap, especially the anodized black ones for the 5big, since they won't sell the trays/sleds without the hard drive.
    I use 2big's myself and had some sleds I repurposed for swapping out drives from some older 2big's (Triple, Dual) that I retired.
    35 drive sleds is probably going to be costly and hard to find. One route you could explore is a LaCie eSata Thunderbolt Hub and two toasters. It has two eSata ports you could connect two toasters to and two Thunderbolt ports to daisychain additional sets (1xLaCie eSata Thunderbolt Hub+2xToasters). This setup will probably run about $150'ish per Hub+Toasters.
    Or a Seagate Desktop Thunderbolt adapter and plug the bare drives into it toaster style but they'll be a bit uneven. For proper fit you can find the GoFlex/BackUp enclosures for around $5. This also has two Thunderbolt ports for daisychaining and I believe is around $150'ish. This may be a cheaper and easier solution for you but it all depends on your usage and needs.
    They all work sufficiently from my experiences for moving data around quickly. I was in the same boat as you, well a much smaller boat since i only had a handful of drives from a couple of Raid sets, archives, backups, etc..compared to your 35 drive yacht. For my needs I ended up using 2big's/LittleBigDisk's for Raid sets, media library to shared volumes, Seagate Desktop adapter with bare drives on top when needed.
  11. Flat-Line macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2013
    You could also grab a 2big or 5big and leave the slots empty and attach SATA cables directly to the board and each drive. You could probably get away with 1 out of 4 screws per sled this way.
  12. ellsworth macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2007
    Has anyone found a good source of purchasing the trays alone?

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