Quiet Dual Bay HD Enclosure Suggestions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by blythe, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. blythe macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2010
    I'm looking to buy two 2 TB drives, one for archiving my movie collection, and another for a backup. I'm open to purchasing 2 separate enclosures, but would be happy with a single enclosure for convenience, reduced clutter, and possible power savings.

    Here are my requirements:

    1. Must be very quiet when sitting on a desktop. I can tolerate drive noise, but the fan noise must be very quiet or negligible. Fanless would be ideal.
    2. Must not be required to work with any special software, or come with software that can't be completely removed and unused.
    3. Must support JBOD. I think most dual bay enclosures support some kind of RAID, but I mostly just want to use it with two independent drives so that I can use one drive as an independent backup, possibly with multiple partitions (without having to use RAID-1). In the future I may convert it to RAID-0 and buy another dual bay setup and use that as a backup.
    4. Must support USB 2 and have 2 Firewire 800 ports. eSATA would also be nice but not required. I would also consider a NAS device with gigabit ethernet instead of a DAS device if the price were comparable.
    5. Must support 2 x 2 TB drives.
    6. Drives must be user replaceable.
    7. Must not be significantly priced higher than other enclosures in its class.

    The OWC Mercury Elite-AL PRO Triple Interface Performance RAID seems to be a good choice, and it's only $94.99, and $359.99 with two high quality 7K2000 Hitachi drives. It meets all my requirements, except I'm not sure how loud the fan is. I've confirmed that its fan isn't a variable speed fan, and is on all the time. Can anyone with experience with this enclosure let me know how loud it is? I'd hate to buy one and find out it's too loud, and have to pay to ship it back and pay the restocking fee.

    The Icy Dock MB662UEAB-2S (http://www.icydock.com/product/mb662ueab-2s.html) also mostly meets my requirements, and has a variable speed fan for around $180. Can anyone share their experiences with this enclosure, particularly with the fan noise? I don't know if I'm going to give this enclosure much consideration, as it seems limited in that it doesn't support RAID-0 for 2 TB drives (not planning to use but good to have the option) and the drives don't sleep when using Firewire 800 in JBOD mode (at least for Win XP and OS X 10.5.6) based on the latest documentation on their website.

    Any other suggestions for quiet dual bay drives would be welcomed. Or am I just better off going with two single drive enclosures? I'm not looking to spend more than $400 for a solution.
  2. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    Just a couple of observations, hopefully will be of use:

    There are quire a few fanless single drive enclosures / ready made external drives available. Dual enclosures are more likely to have fans.

    I hear what you say about fan noise vs. drive noise, but you may be surprised at the difference between a loud drive and a quiet one. Or even the difference in type of sound. It's often surprising how much noise you can lose by putting the enclosure on a cheap mouse mat instead of straight on to the desk/shelf.

    I've got three seemingly similar passively cooled LaCie drives sitting next to each other and they offer completely different sounds. The one that I installed with a 1TB Seagate Enterprise drive is awful loud; fortunately it's my CCC backup drive so it's only on when I'm not there!
  3. blythe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2010
    Well, I found out the OWC Mercury Elite-AL PRO Triple Interface Performance RAID keeps its fan on even when the Mac is asleep, so I'm probably going to have to rule that out. I'll probably have to go with two single enclosures at a higher total price.
  4. rcpilot44 macrumors newbie

    Aug 6, 2010
    Sorry to hear that the OWC case's fan doesn't turn off when the computer goes to sleep. I have been looking at that set up myself. Does anyone know if the Drobo's fan turn off when the IMAC goes to sleep? Thanks
  5. blythe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2010
    Hopefully OWC will have a very quiet and power efficient dual enclosure soon, if the following post is an indication of things to come. See comments 2 & 3 in this OWC Blog post.

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