CalDigit Quality/Warranty?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by danny_w, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #1
    I currently have the 4TB OWC Mercury Elite Dual (TB) running in RAID 0 mode and am pretty pleased with it except that the fan is rather loud and it is only a 2-bay case that must be opened to change drives. Now that CalDigit has started shipping their T3 RAID I am tempted to give it a try, but am worried about the short (read: stingy) 12-month warranty compared to the OWC 3-year warranty. Also the OWC uses hardware RAID but the CalDigit uses only software RAID which I have never used before.

    I guess I am just looking for a little bit of assurance before I place my order, since I will be paying return shipping for whichever one I return, and I want to know if the CalDigit is worth the effort.
     
  2. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #2
    Well I bit the bullet and ordered a 3TB T3 today. I will compare it to the OWC but I am almost certain it will be a better deal for my use.
     
  3. thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #3
  4. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #4
  5. williamh macrumors regular

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    #5
    i read couple caldigit reviews from the internet and this is why I didn't order a T3:

    All the caldigit hard drive module are NOT user serviceable, they use the custom security screw to lock the drive on the module and it's not possible to remove the drive or swap your own drive.

    The price for individual drive module is quite expensive.

    I email Caldigit regarding which drives they sport in the T3 and this is what's inside:

    6TB - Toshiba DT01ACA200
    9TB - Toshiba DT01ACA300
    12TB - HGST HDS724040ALE640 (P/N: 0F14681)
     
  6. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #6
    Well FedEx just delivered my (very cold!) CalDigit T3! I am super excited but must wait for everything to warm up before I can try it out.

    williamh: Yes you are correct that they do use their own drive caddies and they do use security screws, but I don't plan to change drives anytime soon anyway. Yes you do pay extra but you are getting not only the drive but the drive caddy. I found from my searches that t is actually a better deal to buy a new drive with a system; for example, CalDigit wants $229 for a 3TB drive and caddy, but Amazon has the 3TB AV Pro USB3+FW800 for $239, so that is the route that I would go if I ever wanted another drive. Besides, security bit sets are readily available many places if you want to do it yourself and void the warranty; just get the cheapest T3 (3TB for $449) and replace the drives yourself, then you can reuse the 1TB drives elsewhere.
     
  7. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #7
    Well everything warmed up enough ti finally get the T3 installed as my iTunes media hosting drive. It came pre-configured as a RAID 0 set using the built-in OS X software RAID support (3 1TB drives giving a single 3TB volume). Speed tests were not as quick as CalDigit advertises (BlackMagic shows about 430-450MB/s compared to the claimed "up to" 550MB/s) but it is still plenty fast. The unit is quite compact and quite heavy to boot, with a very solid feel to it. The single large fan is much quieter than the smaller fan of the OWC, and much lower pitched so it is much less annoying as well. The power and activity LEDs are very unobtrusive, unlike many competing drive boxes; there is a power LED and an activity LED for each of the 3 drives. Of course there are no fault indicators since this uses software RAID of your computer.

    So far I am very impressed with the T3. It appears to be a very high quality product, built very well, with replaceable drive trays. My Mac Mini recognized it immediately upon power on and it has been operating quietly ever since. I have no experience using software RAID so I plan to monitor it for a few days and see how it goes. If all goes well I expect to return the OWC for a refund.
     
  8. analog guy macrumors 6502

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    #8
  9. williamh macrumors regular

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    #9
    Does T3 switch off when you shut down the computer?
     
  10. thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Thanks! Sounds like a CalDig external to me ;)

    BTW, my experience with several AV Pros leads me to believe you would see the top rated speed IF there were 5 platter 4TB drives in the case. I noticed a 2TB version of the AV (with a Toshiba) only gets 80-85% of the rated speed and all the 4tb I tested (with HGST) made the top speed and over just a bit in some cases.

    And yes, a torx security will release the drive on the day you go out and buy those 4tb drives from amazon. Then again, the ones from Cal are vetted from a batch and come in a nifty orange, padded, labeled case for storage.
    Close call when you factor in the extras, but I've considered swapping one at some point.
     
  11. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #11
    Yes it did switch off. When I came upstairs this morning the computer was asleep and all of the T3 lights (and fan) were off. When I woke the computer the T3 cam alive immediately.
     
  12. Helsen macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I have received the new Mac Pro and I am looking for the right external storage solution. The Caldigit T3 seemed perfect until I read in this thread that putting in your own disks voids the warranty. My initial plan was to buy the 3x 2TB HDD model and replace one HDD with an SSD 256GB disk.
    Is there anything on the market which is more or less the same as the T3 and lets you put in your own drives?
     
  13. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #13
    The nearest that I have seen is the new OWC but it is considerably more expensive and still only TB1, not TB2:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/ThunderBay-IV

    You can get a bare case but it is a whopping $495! The T3 was $449 and included 3 1TB drives in trays; the closest in the OWC is the 4/1TB model for $700. OWC also has a 2-bay chassis for $300 empty but you have to open the chassis to change the drives, and the performance is not as good since there are only 2 drives; I have a 4TB version here about to send back to OWC (I'm keeping the T3!).
     
  14. williamh macrumors regular

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    #14

    If you are using mainly ssd, pegasus j4 from promise technology might be a better option for you.
     
  15. Helsen macrumors newbie

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    #15
    I only need one small ssd to put my ongoing projects on. One hdd to store my archived projects and one hdd for TimeMachine. With the T3 this seemed to fit into one single thunderbolt case.
    Maybe there is even a better solution for what I need since I don't really use raid? All suggestions are welcome.
     
  16. thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Running JBOD on this box would likely be slower on the HDs than separate USB3 externals. The SSD would still speed along though. It's a nice option for someone who needs the flexibility, but if you don't need RAID some of the time, it's probably not the right fit.
     
  17. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    #17
    Sorry I don't understand your throughput statement. The T3 is a JBOD enclosure since all RAID functionality come from OS software. So what is the difference? My understanding is that each drive has a separate dedicated SATA III controller for the fastest throughput.
     
  18. thedeske, Feb 8, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Single Drive Mode
    It's an educated guess, but TB externals with Platter drives are either no faster or in some cases slower than a USB3 external with the same HD installed. Keep in mind I'm assuming Late 2012 and newer Macs with UAS support and USB3 cases with the same UAS chip support when I talk about transfer speed. Again, a SINGLE drive - no RAID.

    It is known that a 4tb 5 platter HD in some external USB3 cases (CalDigit AV Pro is one of a few) with reach 190-200 up and down. Smaller drives with less platters will be a little slower. Since you have a T3 at hand, you could take a single drive out of the RAID config and run Blackmagic on it to find out how it does.

    An SSD in the T3 will be very fast. You can't make any HD go faster in single mode. If you get something higher, I'd love to hear about it. So would Caldig. The box is designed to task in RAID.

    These are the numbers from Mac Performance Guide (so far the only review)

    MB/sec:
    Single drive: 184 write / 181 read
    2-drive mirror: 184 write / 198 read
    3-drive mirror: 184 write / 271 read

    Note the write speed is constant - interesting is the fact that I have the exact same drive in one of my AV Pros (USB3) and get a slightly higher number.

    This test is with 2TB Toshiba/HGST (Really Hitachi) drives, so larger than the 1TB and likely a little faster. The 4TB drives I tested over USB3 were HGST 5 Platter and my results were much like what Mike at BareFeats published. Very close to 200.
    Real world performance will be up and down from the top numbers.

    Obviously, the RAID speeds and versatility are where the action is on the T3.
    Once you determine it's a quality device, the numbers fade and you work...Happy ;)
     
  19. analog guy macrumors 6502

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    #19
    until one needs 1TB SSDs....which don't work on the j4. :(
     
  20. williamh macrumors regular

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    #20
    Maybe just wait for OWC to release the 2.5" thunderbolt enclosure. That's kinda solution I'm also looking for.
     
  21. williamh macrumors regular

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    #21
    I've been thinking of getting the T3 for quite a while, I'm a composer and I have performance demand for loading large sample libraries.

    My ideal setup for T3 is 1x2TB HDD for libraries backup, 2x1TB SSDs to configure in RAID 0 for working drives.

    since the screws for the drive caddy is custom made for security & warranty issue, I've never gave up on researching to replace with my own drives.

    danny_w: would you mind to take some pictures of the screws of the drive caddy? I wanna see if it's truly "impossible" to remove the drives.

    Thanks.
     
  22. Helsen macrumors newbie

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    #22
    @thedeske: very interesting explanation.

    So in my case I would be better off with some USB3 JBOD enclosure + a separate external SSD thunderbolt drive?

    Any suggestions for this configurations?
     
  23. thedeske, Feb 9, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    I'll help - 6 point Torx Security - https://www.google.com/search?q=tor...ApP7yAHHrYGIAw&ved=0CFUQsAQ&biw=1264&bih=1070
     
  24. thedeske, Feb 9, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    3 devices and a hub is the first thought (Old School here)

    firmtek miniswap/u3 is an interesting solution for 2.5 SSD - fast & many people on this board know about this review ;) http://barefeats.com/hard168.html

    The 3.5s can be anything. Obviously, the Cal AV Pro is a great choice, but there are cheaper solutions that have an AS Media chip on board for speed.

    Example - an HGST 4TB Deskstar is around 200 - a medium quality case can be under 100. The Cal AV in 4TB is 388 (Best price I know about for USB3 only) so it depends on what you need quality wise. Will you ever swap drives, etc? Oh, BTW a 1TB version of the AV Pro is 189 shipped, so it get's interesting on the low cap side of things.

    Most pre-assembled externals don't have the best performing HDs, but they are cheap, so...?
     
  25. williamh macrumors regular

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