Build Your Own Thunderbolt DAS?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by haravikk, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. haravikk macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #1
    Okay so I'm still looking into hard-drive enclosures for a future new Mac Mini or Mac Pro, but I'm very undecided about many of the options I've seen so far.

    What I would really like is to just go for the overkill option of an 8-bay enclosure to take all my various drives and be done with it. Now I know Thunderbolt devices still aren't desperately cheap, but 8-bay enclosures are especially expensive, so not an option unless I win a heap of cash from somewhere.

    However, I've built PCs in the past, and I was thinking that maybe a DIY DAS wouldn't be much harder. Now I've found some guides online, but they're all for Mini-SAS connected devices with RAID cards onboard; although I wouldn't mind having an onboard RAID card all I really want is an 8-bay case with a Thunderbolt port that can expose the individual drives to OS X, as I don't particularly mind just using AppleRAID (though I'll look at hardware support too of course).

    Anyway, does anyone know if there are any DIY guides for building a Thunderbolt DAS of this kind of type, or if there are any components that would be easy to substitute into one of the other DIY guides, e.g - a different storage controller board?
     
  2. Giuly, Oct 28, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #2
    The on-the-cheap option for that would be two ProBoxes and if you run into problems with the on-board USB 3.0 interface (which seem to have been fixed by now, though) two eSATA to USB 3.0 adapters to use the eSATA port.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Each of them connects to one 5GBit/s USB 3.0 channel, which should be plenty fast for four hard drives if you don't put them into RAID0 or RAID5 and expect the utmost, completely unthrottled performance.
     
  3. FireWire2 macrumors 6502

    FireWire2

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #3
  4. RVijay007 macrumors member

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    Jul 20, 2010
    #4
    DIY Thunderbolt2 enclosure?

    I am also interested in this kind of setup, as it would provide extremely fast access to the drives. Does anyone know how one might take the thunderbolt connection out of a cheaper thunderbolt enclosure and hook it up to a SATA backplane?
     
  5. matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #5
    I have this. Do you happen to have a link to how to fix USB 3.0?
     
  6. Giuly, Mar 22, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #6
    It should just work, but if it doesn't, then the USB 3.0 to eSATA adapter fixes it.
     
  7. matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #7
    At least I can mount WD 3 TB. on it. Still waiting for my Mac mini to test USB 3. Wish me luck. :p
     
  8. matrix07, Apr 5, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014

    matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

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    #8
    OK. My mini has arrived, and it mounts. Does anyone know how to check if this cheap box connected with my mini by USB 3?
     
  9. haravikk thread starter macrumors 65816

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    May 1, 2005
    #9
    Apple Menu -> About This Mac -> More Info -> System Report and look under the USB entry on the left. It can be a bit tricky to figure out which device is the one you're after, though if you can unplug other devices it may make it easier.
    Once you've figured that out, just select it at look at the speed; up to 480Mb/sec means it's USB 2, USB 3 should be up to 5Gb/sec I think, both being bits per second, not bytes.
     
  10. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    Location:
    Colorado
    #10
    Maybe you could run Blackmagic Disk test on it?
     
  11. matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #11
    In Storage it just simply said USB

    [​IMG]

    In USB, there is no device listed. I just connect to only one.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. haravikk thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #12
    Try the entry for "USB to ATA/ATAPI Bridge"; that might be it if you're using a hard drive dock, or an enclosure where you supply your own disk. If you've got the right one it should list volumes in the info box (it'll be at the bottom somewhere).

    It looks like all your devices are listed under USB Hi-Speed Buses though, which means you're limited to USB2 speeds.

    If you think that's wrong, i.e - if the drive/drive dock is supposed to be USB 3, then make sure you're not connecting through any external hubs, and that you're using USB 3 cables; I only found this out recently myself but while USB 3 and USB 2 cables can look very similar, they actually have a different number of pins inside, so while a USB 3 cable can support USB 2 devices just fine, a USB 2 will limit the speed of any USB 3 devices you connect with it.
     
  13. matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

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    Jun 24, 2010
    #13
    It's USB 3 cable. I think it will be too good to be true to expect USB 3 speed from this cheap box. :(
    Maybe an adapter Giuly recommended will solve this.
     
  14. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    Location:
    Colorado
    #14
    Have you tried running a disk speed test? To see if you are getting better than USB2 speeds?
     
  15. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #15
    I have 3 of them connected to my 2012 Mac Mini and all are registered at USB 3.0.... Are you sure you bought the USB 3.0 models and not the USB 3.0? Also, if you had something connected to the Mac Mini via USB 2.0 on the same point and then hooked up a USB 3.0 to the same port, last i knew you had to reboot the Mini to get USB 3.0 speeds (limitation of OSX)....

    I should also mention that I did have one bad one, that was quickly replaced (so I was 3 for 4).

    I also can NOT recommend the USB 3.0 to eSATA adapters. I have two and they stink. Sure they are fine for just copying data, but if you want to do any large constant reads and writes (i.e. Blu-Ray writing and/or Reading from one of the hard drives), it can't keep up and will leave you with errors. They are great for files that you read or write, but anything you stream seems to be at question (at least from my experience).
     
  16. matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

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    Jun 24, 2010
    #16
    How can I do that (running disk speed test)?

    ----------

    It's USB 3 model. There're this big words on the box.

    Thank you for you're caution.
     
  17. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #17
    Install and run Blackmagic Disk Speed Test from the App store.

    If your external disk speed is faster than 60MB/s you are running at USB3 speeds. If the hard drives in the enclosure are fairly modern, you should be seeing anywhere from 100MB/s to as high as 150+MB/s.
     
  18. matrix07 macrumors 68040

    matrix07

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #18
    It's USB 2

    [​IMG]

    No wonder I didn't feel the difference.
     
  19. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #19
    Is the ProBox the only thing connected to that USB port on your Mac Mini (no hub)? If so then reboot the Mini and see if that helps.
     
  20. photosmike macrumors member

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    Mar 10, 2010
    #20

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