Multi-bay external enclosure?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kirkbross, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. kirkbross macrumors 6502a

    kirkbross

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    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).
     
  2. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #2
    I suggested some enclosures in another thread recently...
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=923111

    :)
     
  3. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #3
    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.
     
  4. kirkbross thread starter macrumors 6502a

    kirkbross

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    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.
     
  5. malch macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #5
    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
     
  6. kirkbross thread starter macrumors 6502a

    kirkbross

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #6
    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)?
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #7
    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
     
  8. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #8
    eSATA should be a faster data transfer speed...
     
  9. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    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. ;)
     
  10. trankdart macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    #10
    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
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #11
    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).
     

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