Dual HDD dock questions - eSATA single interface? RAID?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rawdawg, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #1
    I'm looking for storage solution for my MBP. I do mostly heavy graphics (30MB RAW files) and video (ProRes422).

    I think a HDD dock is the way to go for me. And eSATA probably would be best for video. I've seen the dual docks out there that can house two HDD, but how does it's connection work. I've seen a picture of one with two eSATA ports in the back, and another one I saw a picture that only had one eSATA port and a USB2.0 port.

    If I want to hook this up eSATA, and I have a dual dock with two HDD, do they run through one cable? Why would the one only have one eSATA connection and the other two? Also, any recommendations for this type of dock?

    Also, can a dock like this be used for RAID? I'm new to RAID though have been curious about it for years. I understand some have RAID controllers though other people say they do it in software. I've seen some RAID docks where there are switches on the back. Are these controllers? Are these cheap versions worth it or should I stick with Time Machine if I want backups? (of course speed benefits would be useful too with RAID but not worth it if this cheap option isn't reliable).

    I started this thread last night regarding certain eSATA express cards not working with Snow Leopard. I definitely want to upgrade to 10.6 so I'll need to find one that works. I haven't found any Jmicron chipset express cards (it appear those are the only ones that work with Snow Leopard--am I wrong?) that have two eSATA ports. Any recommendations?

    thanks
     
  2. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I dunno if it's because my questions are too specific.... or if I just come off weird... but most of the time no one ever responds...

    at least i try to keep my questions short.

    bump
     
  3. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #3
    Hi there.

    I use an icydock (icydock is my favorite external drive enclosure company) 4 bay enclosure and it runs through one eSata cable to an express card that has an eSata connection.

    As for the switches on raid docks, I wouldnt worry too much about them because Mac OS has built in raid. Just set the switches to JBOD and use the OS to configure the raid. With my enclosure I have two drives set as a mirror, then I have one for time machine and one for my goodies that are too big to fit on my harddrive.

    Also the reason you are seeing cases with multiple eSata connections is because sometimes people will enable stripe, and to do this and gain benefit from it the drives need to go over seperate buses so two cables straight to the motherboard or eSata card are needed.

    IMO its definitely worth it to go eSata through express card, its not as fast as straight eSata but its still much faster then firewire 800 and usb 2.0. (Youll hear people debate between eSata/fw 800 and point to tests and such but every time I tested I consistantly got double the speed using eSata.) Hope this helps :)
     
  4. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    #4
    Chrono1081 -- thanks for your reply, it was very informative and helpful!

    I've heard about Icydock and was looking at this dock here but the negative reviews scared me. So in your opinion you like this company? Which dock do you have?

    Is there a benefit to using a RAID controller versus the MacOS software? Why do others still use RAID controllers?

    When you say straight eSATA is faster than through an express card what do you mean?---with MBP's is there another way other than through an express card to do eSATA? (do you mean PCI cards for desktops?)

    You have one drive just for your "goodies" but it doesn't sound like it's backed up at all in your setup. Aren't you concerned about that? :)

    Sorry for the questions, but it sounds like you know what you're doing so I appreciate your feedback!
     
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
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    #5
    I got your PM. I responded here so everyone can see:


    I'm not sure why the negative reviews on newegg, I have 9 icy dock enclosures of all sizes and everyone else I know who has them has no problem. My guess is going to be that they are using the switches on the back and Windows OS and its having problems with it. I've seen it many times with many different enclosures (which is why I prefer software raid)

    For this enclosure you would want to set the switches in the back to JBOD mode so that each drive is seen as a separate drive. Then, when they all appear in Mac OS, open up disk utility and create your raid from them.

    Ok here is to your questions :)

    Q. I've heard about Icydock and was looking at this dock here but the negative reviews scared me. So in your opinion you like this company? Which dock do you have?

    A. This is one of the docks I have (My main one):

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817198028&Tpk=icy%20dock%204%20bay%20enclosure

    Its flawless. I never hear it running, it survived being drown in water from a leaky air conditioner, and once I plugged it in (all drives are automatically JBOD) all I did was create two drives in a mirror, and then left two drives JBOD (I'm not worried about backing those two up.). I have many icydock enclosures and got my friends hooked on them. Not a single problem with any of them.

    Usually when you see people write negative things about docks and raid its because they are using an OS that does not natively support raid and it can be a bear to get working. Mac OS does so you wont have to worry about that.

    Q. Is there a benefit to using a RAID controller versus the MacOS software? Why do others still use RAID controllers?

    A. For using an external drive there are no real benefits to using raid controllers. For the raid switches on enclosures, those are usually just so the enclosure can create the raid and you just plug in your cable and go. This is usually what creates problems for people. (Hence why I greatly prefer software raid).

    Q.When you say straight eSATA is faster than through an express card what do you mean?---with MBP's is there another way other than through an express card to do eSATA? (do you mean PCI cards for desktops?)

    A. On the macbook pro the only way to do eSata is through an express card slot. This slows down the eSata connection (but its still really fast). If you had a desktop with PCI cards or a raid controller card it would be faster.

    Q. You have one drive just for your "goodies" but it doesn't sound like it's backed up at all in your setup. Aren't you concerned about that?

    A. Nope. lol. The stuff I don't have backed up is stuff that I have on DVD that I made digital. The important stuff I stuck in my mirror array.

    Also I've had a harddrive die in my mirror array. I swapped out the bad drive, put in a new drive and the OS rebuilt the array. Flawless.

    I hope this helped! :)
     
  6. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Brooklyn
    #6
    VERY helpful! Thanks!
     
  7. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #7
    Heres one I just bought. Dual drive E-sata. link

    [​IMG]

    Only 60 bucks.
     
  8. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #8
    Great suggestion. I'd be interested to hear how it performs compared to the icydocks.
     
  9. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
  10. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #10
    For 60 bucks it can't be beat.

    Comes with the enclosure and everything you need to hook it up to an Esata card.

    Its quiet, I can't even tell its on over my mac pro, which I think is pretty quiet. Drives appear as if they were in my mac pro. Enclosure is warm, but not hot.

    For 60 bucks, I think its worth it. Able to be raided as well, but they are set up as strictly separate drives.
     
  11. fireshot91 macrumors 601

    fireshot91

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    Northern VA
    #11
    Instead of a dock with two slots for hard drives, why not get a dual-bay enclosure?
     
  12. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #12
    So did you get it?!! I see you replied again with your review just 30min after you said you thought it wouldn't come until the next day. You got it?! It looks like a great enclosure if it performs as good as you say!

    True.. I was just considering the docks because of it's quick swap abilities.
     
  13. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #13
    It was 12.5 hours, am and pm. Took me a couple minutes to figure that one out.

    I like it. No problems. Quiet and looks like my mac pro. I wish it had another connection besides esata so I can use it on my MBP, but for 60 for a dual enclosure I am happy. Even came with the e sata cables.

    I bought the extender cord for the onboard extra sata ports. Not hot swappable, but I don't need it to be. Cards at OWC were 50 bucks for a PCI-E Esata x 2 ports.

    Recommended. Cheap, quick shipping as well.
     

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