Multi-bay external enclosure?

kirkbross

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 6, 2007
653
17
Los Angeles
I have four orphaned drives from older systems I'd like to put into a single, inexpensive external enclosure. I have an eSATA extension cable / port from OWC so I could go with eSATA, FW or USB 2.0.

The SANS DIGITAL TR4M-B seems to be the one popping up online the most but I'm wondering if anyone has another suggestion for a multi-bay enclosure (for non RAID use).
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
I have four orphaned drives from older systems I'd like to put into a single, inexpensive external enclosure. I have an eSATA extension cable / port from OWC so I could go with eSATA, FW or USB 2.0.

The SANS DIGITAL TR4M-B seems to be the one popping up online the most but I'm wondering if anyone has another suggestion for a multi-bay enclosure (for non RAID use).
I suggested some enclosures in another thread recently...
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=923111

:)
 

pastrychef

macrumors 601
Sep 15, 2006
4,520
1,020
New York City, NY
I have two TR4M-B enclosures connected to an Intel SS4200 and they have been working fine. I haven't had a single problem with them and they have been silent. I don't know about the included eSATA card, though. I haven't tried them out at all.
 

kirkbross

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 6, 2007
653
17
Los Angeles
I have two TR4M-B enclosures connected to an Intel SS4200 and they have been working fine. I haven't had a single problem with them and they have been silent. I don't know about the included eSATA card, though. I haven't tried them out at all.
I just RMA'd mine to Newegg -- there are no Snow Leopard drivers for the included Sil3132 card. The BETA driver on their site does not work and I did not feel like buying another card. I'm going to go with a FireWire or USB enclosure.
 

malch

macrumors 6502
Jan 20, 2008
441
0
I've got a FirmTek five-bay enclosure (SeriTek model) that I'm very fond of.

Three fan settings (the middle one works great, not very noisy, and keeps the drives from getting hot).

http://www.firmtek.com/

malch
 

kirkbross

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 6, 2007
653
17
Los Angeles
I've got a FirmTek five-bay enclosure (SeriTek model) that I'm very fond of.

Three fan settings (the middle one works great, not very noisy, and keeps the drives from getting hot).

http://www.firmtek.com/

malch
I'd really rather avoid needing a PCI card so I'm thinking of just getting a USB or FW enclosure. What are the advantages of eSATA over a simple USB or FW connection (no PCI card)?
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
I'd really rather avoid needing a PCI card so I'm thinking of just getting a USB or FW enclosure. What are the advantages of eSATA over a simple USB or FW connection (no PCI card)?
Faster throughputs are possible. You'd need the disks setup in RAID in a PM (Port Multiplier) based enclosure to do so (all disks connected in the enclosure are sent to a single eSATA port).

SATA 3.0Gb/s = 270MB/s real world (drops to ~250MB/s when used with a PM chip)
FW800 = 100MB/s
USB 2.0 = 60MB/s
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
2,729
3
UK
Faster throughputs are possible. You'd need the disks setup in RAID in a PM (Port Multiplier) based enclosure to do so (all disks connected in the enclosure are sent to a single eSATA port).

SATA 3.0Gb/s = 270MB/s real world (drops to ~250MB/s when used with a PM chip)
FW800 = 100MB/s
USB 2.0 = 60MB/s
That are the theoretical maximum transfer rates of the connections. Real life doesn't look that bright.
FW800 levels off at about 80MB/s, eSATA depends on the external enclosure you've got.

I recently bought a 4 bay PM enclosure (this one) and even though I've striped the 4 drives (2 sets consisting of 2 1TB WD Blacks, software RAIDed by Disc Utility), the maximum transfer rate doesn't exceed 115MB/s. Not even close to the maximum of 250MB/s.
Well, it was cheap and fast enough for daily backups. ;)
 

trankdart

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2010
60
0
Los Angeles, CA, USA
5-bay firmtek

I also have the 5-bay Firmtek with a HighPoint el-cheapo 2314 four-lane raid card and 5 1.5TB drives in a raid 5 using a single eSATA cable because the enclosure has a port multiplier. This is installed in my 2006 MP 1,1.

I've never had a problem in the couple of years that I've had it, even when one of the drives failed. The raid just ran a little slower in degraded mode. I stuck in a replacement drive, told the raid card's web management interface to re-build the raid, and it was back to perfect a few hours later. The performance is great. The management interface provides constant, very readable drive health info.

I first used it under leopard, but when I switched to Snow leopard HighPoint had a snow leopard driver out almost immediately, which has never so much as hiccuped. I'm extremely happy with this setup. As far as I'm concerned you can't go wrong with it. Highpoint has much more expensive PCIe controllers with 8 lanes and beefier onboard processors etc, but the $180 2314 is fine for me.

http://hptmac.com/US/product.php?_index=5

TD
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,719
2
That are the theoretical maximum transfer rates of the connections. Real life doesn't look that bright.
FW800 levels off at about 80MB/s, eSATA depends on the external enclosure you've got.

I recently bought a 4 bay PM enclosure (this one) and even though I've striped the 4 drives (2 sets consisting of 2 1TB WD Blacks, software RAIDed by Disc Utility), the maximum transfer rate doesn't exceed 115MB/s. Not even close to the maximum of 250MB/s.
Well, it was cheap and fast enough for daily backups. ;)
eSATA's Theoretical Max = 375MB/s. You'll never see it. But most PM enclosures can reach ~250MB/s (i.e. based on a Oxford 936 chip; eSATA, USB 2.0, and FW400/800 ports are possible with this part, as the USB and FW bridges are included on it).

I'm not sure what chip your unit is running, but that is crappy.

It's been awhile since I've used USB or FW for disks, but it will vary (bridge chips introduce latency due to the signal/protocol conversions, as can the actual disks involved).