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haravikk

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 1, 2005
1,495
21
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?
 

Giuly

macrumors 68040
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?

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.
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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.
 
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RVijay007

macrumors member
Jul 20, 2010
88
27
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?
 

matrix07

macrumors 604
Jun 24, 2010
7,671
4,466
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?
 
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haravikk

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 1, 2005
1,495
21
OK. My mini has come, and it mounts. Does anyone know how to check if this cheap box connected with my mini by USB 3?
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.
 

matrix07

macrumors 604
Jun 24, 2010
7,671
4,466
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.

In Storage it just simply said USB



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

 

haravikk

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 1, 2005
1,495
21
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.
 

matrix07

macrumors 604
Jun 24, 2010
7,671
4,466
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.

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.
 

marzer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2009
1,388
111
Colorado
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.

Have you tried running a disk speed test? To see if you are getting better than USB2 speeds?
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,962
122
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.

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).
 

matrix07

macrumors 604
Jun 24, 2010
7,671
4,466
Have you tried running a disk speed test? To see if you are getting better than USB2 speeds?

How can I do that (running disk speed test)?

----------

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).

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

Thank you for you're caution.
 

danny_w

macrumors 601
Mar 8, 2005
4,429
284
Cumming, GA
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.
 

photosmike

macrumors member
Mar 10, 2010
71
1
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