What is Your Favorite Thunderbolt DAS and Why?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by AndrewMRiv, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular

    AndrewMRiv

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    #1
    I will be getting an iMac 27" later this month or early next month and will have a SSD.

    Rather than getting a fusion drive, I'm looking for a thunderbolt external hard drive to hold all of my main files (documents, movies, TV shows, music, recorded songs for my band, etc.). It will always stay attached. I will everything that is not an OS file or an Application on there.

    I'm looking for opinions on what the best solution is.

    I was looking at having at least 4-6tb. The drobo looked enticing because it offers the freedom of expansion but I have hears mixed reviews on it.

    Which do you use and why?

    Thank you.
     
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #2
    Lacie 2Big 6TB running as RAID 1 3TB (mirrored) for high availability. Time machine backs it up to another drive. RAID 1 is not a substitute for backups.
     
  3. bristolgadget macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    #3
    WD My Book Duo 6TB.

    Fast , not too noisy, swappable drives, selectable raid levels. Good Prices at the moment.
     
  4. hfg, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #4
    I use a Promise Technology "Pegasus J4" Thunderbolt enclosure with 4 ea. 1TB 2.5" HGST 7200rpm drives. The Pegasus J4 presents 4 independent drives (SSD or HD) to OS X which can be managed with Disk Utility for any combination of RAID-0, 1, 10, Concatenated, or JBOD. If all 4 of my hard disks are used as a RAID-0 array, data transfer rates are similar to a SSD, but with 4TB of storage space. I normally run mine as a pair of 2-disk RAID-0 arrays. You can also create a Fusion drive with a SSD in one of the slots combined with 1-3 hard disks in the remaining slots. It is working great with my all SSD 2012 iMac ... fast, quiet, and cool.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=pegasus+j4&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

    NOTE: at this time, you cannot boot from the external drive as a driver is required, and it is not Windows compatible ... neither of which are issues for me.
     
  5. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #5
    I've been looking into those as well, for my next storage solution. So far I'm leaning towards Drobo 5D (don't read the reviews about previous generations!) because:
    1) Apple-like philosophy: do just one thing but do it well - a RAID-5-like disk array flexibly expandable, no more, no less
    2) simple & elegant UI
    3) 5 bays
    4) additional (6th) mSATA slot for SSD accelerator
    5) performance on par with other TB DASes

    And last but not least - I really like the looks of that box and those easy to read visual indicators on it!
     
  6. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #6
    I have a Lacie 2Big and a Pegasus R4. I don't have a favourite out of the two. Both perform the duties asked of them admirably well.
     
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #7
    I like the Areca 8050 8-Bay Thunderbolt Raid Enclosure. Fast (Drobo not even close) and reliable.
     
  8. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #8
    This. Although I do not own one yet, I am pretty sure I will someday.

    A.
     
  9. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #9
    Aren't we comparing Fiat with Maybach here?
    For casual home user (like OP's use-case), this device is overkill IMHO due to:
    - price
    - size & power consumption
    - Hardware RAID - ie no mixed drives nor easy expandability by dropping in larger drives (until full array populated with larger size), if I understand it correctly.
    - looks - I'd definitely want to hide it away to a server room ;)
     
  10. Giuly, Dec 7, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #10
    It's rather a Ssangyong (South Korean copy of a Mercedes) than a Maybach, but yeah. It's not a "first NAS" device: 1) $1500 price tag, 2) hard to use due to "notoriously Asian" software (the web interface mimics the looks of MacOS 9, that should say it all), 3) too many bays.

    Get a drobo, it will work just fine for you. All of the bad reviews were for the older drobo S model with FireWire, but they've fixed most of the concerns with the drobo mini and drobo 5D.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The drobo 5D holds five 3.5" hard drives, while the drobo mini holds four 2.5" hard drives. While you could get 6TB of storage with a drobo mini (with 4x2TB hard drives), it sounds like you want expand further than that: drobo 5D is for you. Then again, the drobo mini is currently on sale for $333.

    It's easy to use, reasonably fast (for the fact that it has three hard drives less than the Areca), and it gets even faster when you install the optional mSATA SSD in either one.

    If that's all too fancy-shmancy for you, a LaCie 2big Thunderbolt or WD MyBook Thunderbolt Duo would probably work equally well for you.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Set it up in RAID1, and if you run out of storage attach another one. It's not as seamless as just installing another hard drive (or replacing the smallest with a bigger one) in a drobo, though - which is, for example, something that doesn't work with the Areca.

    This post was written three times, once on an iPad and twice on a Mac. Brought to you by Safari's inability to properly retain form data.
     
  11. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #11
    Drobos are well known for being underpowered resulting in slower transfer speeds than their competitors products, sometimes much slower. Just a buyer beware.
     
  12. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Estonia
    #12
    Strangely enough the reviews for current model range report very competitive speeds. So I reckon you again bring forward your old memories about F and FS models?
     
  13. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #13
    Not the reviews that I am reading:

    "As we moved into the 2MB random testing however, the read activity suffered, managing only 21MB/s, even with mSATA SSD caching. That's a fraction of the performance of competing models" -- StorageReview, Drobo 5D.


    The Drobo can be the right device for many reasons, but I do not think that speed is one of them.

    A.
     
  14. AndrewMRiv thread starter macrumors regular

    AndrewMRiv

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    #14
    Thank you for all of your responses.

    It is a bit tricky since the Drobo 5d sounds VERY convenient. I am just concerned as to just how much slower the Drobo is. Would it feel extremely slower than the SSD inside of my iMac?

    Thank you.
     
  15. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #15

    Perhaps overkill, but the OP was asking what we use and why.... not why not. OP did not indicate what specifically he was using the DAS for, but if he is video or image editing, the Areca offers outstanding performance.

    We have ours sitting at the desktop, with modern drives the fans rarely ramp up as they are temp controlled.

    You pretty much get what you pay for, you can suffer with a slow drobo, or move right along with something better, especially if you have to rebuild the RAID due to config changes or a dying drive.

    Power is a function of the drives you install, you can use low power 5400 rpm notebook drives, or load it with 7200 or 10,000 rpm drives and what your house lights dim when you turn it on :)

    Expandable arrays are bandaids, best for a RAID units with slow processors, like the Drobo. No one with performance in mind will go near it, a high performance box rebuilds the RAIDs in no time.

    Flexibility? what do you mean by that. You have a 8 drive capacity to configure how you want, use some for performance, some for fault tolerant storage, and other just a disk if you wish. The Areca breaks (they rarely do), just shove your drives in a new box and done, no reformat just run.

    To get the most out of them you need to understand what you need and how a RAID can help you.

    Perhaps oversimplified... the simplest thing for the OP is to but a $120 $TB seagate backup plus (USB3) and plug it in.... buy another to back that one up. Don't need to even thing about RAIDs.
     
  16. priitv8, Dec 8, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013

    priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
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    Estonia
    #16
    I totally get your point. But I personally would spend 1,5k on a disk box (that brings us to at least 3k with drives) only if it will pay itself - ie in business use.
    For home media storage? I'd go with something cheaper. I'd probably even be willing to tolerate some lag in editing occasional home video. Although one review found the 5D quite useable for FCPX workflow.
    I guess the OP at least by now has some cornerstones to base his/her decision upon from opinions set forth in this thread.
     
  17. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #17
    That's correct. And this will be an issue, if your workflow is centered around Random large-block (2MB) transfers. However, in other types of tests, the results are in the same ballpark, as the others (ranging from 150MB/s to 300+MB/s).
    One reviewer even went that far as to confirm - 5D performs favourably in FCPX Multicam editing.

    Actually, if one reads around in the same Storagerview under "Desktop Storage (External) Reviews", one finds, that there is quite no comparable device in there at all! LaCie 5big and DataTale RS-M4T offer only JBOD/RAID0/RAID1. OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 offers RAID5 but is FireWire-only. The rest of the pack are either single- or dual-drive enclosures.

    True, other Hardware-RAID based enclosures will beat Drobo in pure benchmarks. Still, there's nothing to be ashamed of either. IMHO.
     
  18. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #18
    I have the 4TB Pegasus and it's great. We have it set up in RAID 5 and are planning to upgrade it with 2TB enterprise drives soon. Promise will charge you a fortune but any decent enterprise quality HDD will work just fine.
     

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