Recently while we were at WPPI in Las Vegas, we came across CRU Dataports booth. I found their hard drives and Raids to be some of the best quality that I’ve ever seen. CRU was kind enough to send me the below units to test, and I’m giving you my honest opinion on them. They’re now available at Vistek stores (click the titles to find them on our website.)
Includes 2 500GB 5400RPM Drives. This is a beautiful looking unit, made of aircraft-grade aluminum, with a bright blue LCD readout on its side panel. The Tough Tech Duo comes pre-formatted as Raid 1 (for backup) for Mac or Windows, with 2X 500 GB 2.5 5400RPM, drives from Hitachi. Raid 1 is 500GB, Raid 0 is 1TB. Remember if you use Raid 0 you’re going to need another drive for Backup. You can also buy the enclosures without any drives, and add whatever brand drives you prefer.
What’s in the box? Includes cables for E-SATA, USB and Fire-wire. When connected via USB or Fire-wire, this drive can be used as a bus powered device. Remember if you’re a laptop user, that this will drain your battery directly from your laptop. The box contains all the AC/adapters you’ll ever need, including a unique plug that is designed with power converters for worldwide use. Also included is a nice little stand, so you can leave it upright on your desk.
I connected this to my MacBook Pro and it was instantly recognized. What is unique about these units is how easily you can swap the drives out.
I cloned my start up drive, which was about 150GB, using Carbon Copy Cloner, via mycard-buss 34 slot, using an e-sata connection, and it took 2:09 minutes. Of course all this will be faster depending on what drives you drop in here. 7200 RPM, or SSD drives will speed things up quite a bit.
For a photographer, this is the ultimate drive enclosure. What separates it from other drives on the market is the rugged construction and ease-of-use in which you can swap drives in & out of the unit – 1 click and the drive slides right out the front. Wiebetech also makes these great storage cases to house spare drives (they look just like VHS storage boxes) and they all include labels so you can clearly mark what is on each drive.
I dropped 4 1 TB drives in the unit, and powered it up. It’s default setting is RAID 5, Which will give you 3TB of usable space. So… whats so magical about RAID 5? Well, if you’re a pro photographer or videographer, you will get a mix of speed and uncompromisable security. If one of your drives fails, your data is spread across all 4 drives; simply pull out the failed drive and it will automatically re-write the data to the new drive – no worries. You know the saying, “its not a question of if your drive will fail, but when”. I can attest to this fact with first hand experience.
Read more about RAID here.
The RTX 400-QR Gets 5 Stars in my book, and will happily sit on my desk. It can be setup for RAID 0, 1, 3, 5, and 10.
What’s in the box? You get the drive enclosure which is ESATA, USB, Fire-wire 400/800, a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty, power cable, software and instruction manual on CD. You will need to load the configuration software on your computer in order to setup the RAID. It took me about 10 minutes – from unpacking the box plugging it in to configuring the RAID – to set this up on my Macbook Pro.
This unit is a 2 Bay Raid which can be configured for RAID 1 or RAID 0 with a setup a little bit from the unit above. This one is configured by the control panel on the front of the unit. Very simply – you insert your drives and turn it on. It will ask you if you want to setup a raid. You hit the enter button, and away you go.
I setup using RAID 1, for backup purposes. I installed 2 1TB Drives, which formatted & gave me 999.15 MB. I then connected to my MacBook Pro, which had to be setup using Disk Utilities, so that my Mac would recognize the drive.
On a through put note: I transferred an 11.35 GB file from my Mac to the RTX220 via Firewire 800 and it took 5.07 min. and via E-Sata it took 3.38 min. E-Sata is definitely the way to go, if you have it available to you.