Help me decide: Buy a Drobo or use what I have (3x WD Studio II Drives) *PLEX*

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mikethewxguy, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. mikethewxguy macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2007

    Trying to decide if buying a Drobo would be a good move for me.

    Looking to get a good media storage system in-place for use with my 2010 Mac mini running Plex.

    I currently have: 3 External Drives for a total of 10TB

    Western Digital My Book Studio II - 4TB (Still Sealed)

    Western Digital My Book Studio II - 4TB

    Western Digital My Book Studio II - 2TB

    If I went with a Drobo and also purchased 4x2TB drives for the Drobo (and then sold all 3 of my Western Digital externals) I figure that I could almost break even moneywise...and save some extra space and power consumption as well. Not to mention the capability for future expansion with bigger (4TB ?) drives coming down the pipe in the future?

    Data Robotics Drobo 4-Bay USB 2.0/FireWire 800 SATA Storage Array DR04DD10

    Right now I'm leaning towards getting the Drobo...but I'm a bit concerned on how it will mesh with the Mac Mini for Plex use.

    Anyone here using a Drobo with Plex? How do you like it?

    Or would you stick with the 3 WD externals versus having a Drobo?

    One question I have with the Drobo is: Will I get full capacity storage availability with it? Will a 2TB drive allow me to put 2TB of data on it...or will some be reserved for Drobo data backups/redundancy etc? If so - is there a way to turn that off on the Drobo?

    Thanks for your help!~
  2. mikethewxguy thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2007
    And now I've stumbled upon this....

    OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2

    So, I've got more thinking to do now....
  3. Capt Crunch macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2001
    Washington, D.C.
    I have a drobo that I exclusively use for Plex. I love it and it works great.

    However, the major point of the drobo is that it provides redundancy, which means some of the space will be used for data protection. You can calculate exactly the amount of space you will have here:

    With 4 2TB drives you should have around 6 TB of usable space. You cannot turn this feature off. Trust me, with any RAID array with striping, you wouldn't want to (because if you lost one drive, you would lose them all).

    The advantage of the drobo over a RAID 5 array like the OWC one is that it can use drives of different sizes and manufacturers. This allows you to expand the array easily (so you could replace a 2TB drive with a 4TB when/if they come out). Also, if you lose one drive, you can still access your data while you pop in a new drive to rebuild the array. Supposedly, if a drive on a RAID 5 dies, it's somewhat a pain in the ass to rebuild it. The hardware on the drobo is nice as well. It doesn't require you to screw the drives to trays, you just slide them in like a toaster.

    That said, the drobo is slow. It has slow read and write speeds compared to traditional RAID boxes: think 20-30 MB/s as opposed to 100+. This is more than enough to stream 1080p movies, however. I would worry about streaming two movies at the same time, and if you're using USB, forget about reading and writing data at the same time.

    If the only thing you want to do is to stream movies to your mac mini, the drobo will serve your purposes. The reason to get it over what you have now is to consolidate your boxes and to get redundancy. As it happens, I have a drobo with some drives available in the classified section :).

    It depends on how distraught you would be if one of your drives died and you lost all your media on it. If not, keep what you have. You can't get 10 TB of space in a drobo. To get 10 TB of redundant space will cost significantly more than the cost of what you have. If you do care about losing your data, a drobo or RAID 5 is what you need. You basically need to decide whether you care about performance (get RAID 5) or ease of use (get the drobo).
  4. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    I retired my Drobo (it's off connected to a server holding 'archive' data).

    The reason I retired it was because having it attached to my desktop system bogged things down miserably. In addition to being generally slow, the Drobo's file/open speed is horrible. Opening a folder on the Drobo guaranteed a long wait while Finder touched every file (to get it's icon/metadata). Sure, one could tweak Finder preferences, but that's not a direction I wanted to take.

    My media is on OWC 4TB drives, and my Time Machine volume is on a pair of WD My Book Pro IIs.

    All that said, the Drobo was stable for me - never lost of bit of data to my knowledge.

  5. billib macrumors member


    Apr 23, 2009
    Cheaper than a Drobo and an OWC

    I like this enclosure, the model MST4SR5HM-(W for White or B for Black):

    Make sure you buy it with this installed:

    They also sell an eSATA to USB3 adapter.

    This way you have eSATA/USB 2.0/3.0. No Firewire though.
    This config. is about $100 cheaper than the Qx2
    and cheaper still than the Drobo. If not having Firewire is a
    deal breaker than the Qx2 would be my second favorite.

    It also supports more RAID configurations:

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