Archive for April, 2012
Being a photographer, storage is incredibly important; storage that can expand and offer protecting is crucial.
When it comes to direct access storage devices that offer built in disk failure redundancy features and multi drive capabilities the biggest name is Drobo by Data Robotics.
However, I lived with a Drobo V2 for just over a year. This version had the USB2 and Firewire 800 interfaces. In the beginning it was great. Drobo was small, quiet and kept my files safe and protected. But I was soon wanting more from the diminutive device. I needed faster random access, faster sequential data throughput and finally I wanted an transfer interface that wasn’t based on 10 year old technology (USB and FireWire). So it was time to move on and I sold it.
18 months later there was a Drobo shaped space next on my desk. I still wanted all those features which the Drobo couldn’t offer. I looked at the Drobo’s newer siblings; the Drobo S and Drobo FS but reviews slated them for the slow speed and their inadequate ability to maximize their eSata and USB 3 interfaces. Plus they were notoriously expensive.
The search continued for many months when I stumbled on a small device from MediaSonic for around £100 (approx $160 US).
The device has a very silly name, it’s called the HFR2-SU3S2. Even with the silly name it does have a lot features. It has an eSata and USB 3 interface, 4 drive bays and a choice of RAID 0, 1,5 and 10.
This is how I’ve configured it:
- Three 2TB Western Digital drive at 5200RPM
- USB 3 interface
- RAID 5 configuration giving me 4TB of usable storage
Using the USB 3 interface it’s as speedy as any SATA drive in my PC; I was hoping it would be faster since I have it configured in RAID 5. I was expected higher performance since the data is spread across the three 2TB drives I have installed but without doubt the results are faster than the Drobos.
There is no software provided and the instructions are short; however this was not an issue for myself as I have a lot of experience with these devices, but I can imagine it would be a bit intimidating for the absolute beginner.
I have read other comments about the HFR2-SU3S2 being quite noisy; I have found it to be very quiet. It is by no means silent. I would describe the noise level to be on the ‘very quiet’ scale. I set the fans on auto and it just does the rest!
In the box, you get a USB3 and a eSATA cable. Both are quite short so if you plan on having the unit on your desk and your computer is underneath your desk, then you may have to purchase a longer lead like I did. I got a 2m eSATA cable for only £2.00
The lights on the front are bright but not distracting. When the drives are being accessed the activity lights turn purple. There have been comments from other users saying it’s too bright but I disagree. While they are noticeable on my desk they don’t annoy me.
Overall, this is a magnificent little device that has little compromise when compared to the more expensive Drobo. The only limitation I see is all the drives have to be matched (you can mix up manufacturers and sizes on the Drobo).
Buy it, it’s cheap and offers an expandable means of storage with redundancy.
I got a new mouse yesterday. It’s amazing! I’ve recently gone back into gaming on the PC, specifically first person shooters likes Battlefield 3. I needed a high resolution gaming mouse that didn’t break the bank. I saw the Sharkoon Fireglider Black on Amazon UK. It had a lot of great customer reviews so I took the plunge, spent £20 and waited.
It arrived yesterday and it makes a massive difference to the wireless basic mouse I had been using. I can totally recommend this mouse if you’re even semi serious about PC gaming.