NexStar MX Dual RAID 1 is, by default, set to SAFE 33?
I've been setting up a 1TB RAID 1 with NexStar MX Dual eSata External Enclosure. I see on the PCB that there are jumper settings that are not in the manual. In fact that the jumper setting they have set in the manual shows on the PCB as being RAID 1 SAFE 33 and by using Active UNDELETE I see that the drive type is Span. On the PCB I see RAID 1 Safe, Safe 33, Safe 50, Raid 0 fast, etc. But in the manual I see just 4 jumper settings for Raid 1, Raid 0, Individual or JBOD. So would NexStar really try to market their drive as RAID 1 but not tell you that it's only copying 33% of the data and striping the rest? I'm trying to see if the RAID is even working and mirroring data now to verify this. Their manual also says that the leftmost slot is port 0 and rightmost is port 1, whereas on the PCB it shows connector 1 on the right with HDD1 and connector 2 on the left with HDD2. The manual is 20 pages and doesn't say anything accurate whatsoever about the technical operation of the device or even what to do in the event of a HDD failure. It just says it will magically know the new drive when it's back online and will restore "data" and obviously if it's safe33 most of your data is gone anyways. Anyways, I'm testing this chincy consumer crap right now by running through a disaster scenario. 1TB drive has data on it and is in use and popped in a new initialized, NTFS, unused 1TB identical drive. So theoretically according to NexStar it will copy all data to the second device which I will verify.
Okay, I think that I can deduce that the PCB is wrong and they must've at the design time modified their firmware or something. Becuase if it were SAFE33 at RAID 1 and I had 2 x 1TB drives in there then the total volume space should be 2TB * 0.66 = 1.32TB; yet the volume shows as 931GB NTFS so in theory, if the device is operating as expected as RAID 1 SAFE then the volume size is accurate and the manual is correct and the PCB is incorrect. Yet it still doesn't explain why the drive is set to SPAN.
I have verified that the writing on their PCB is incorrect. You can also go from a NO-RAID drive and mirror it and make it a raid 1 SAFE device. To do this with the NexStar MX Dual (SR Version). There are a few notes to keep in mind, so keep reading below if you are interested.
1: Simple and to the point, to mirror any drive that you have existing data on place the drive with the data into the right-most slot (Connector 1). Power on the unit (I connected it with USB 2.0 for this because my eSATA is not hot-swappable and does not have port multiplier support) and set the jumpers to RAID 1 and then push the RESET button while powered on. Now power off the unit and power it back on again. After several seconds the HDD 2 light will blink on/off once per second and HDD 1 will be accessable to windows. Now power off the unit and place a blank, formatted, drive into the HDD2 slot (leftmost). Now power on the unit and both HDD1 and HDD2 lights will remain lighted up during the Rebuilding process. If using USB you may not see your drive available to you, you will have to goto the Disk Management utility and "Reactive" the disk NOT reinitialize. To Verify that the rebuilding is taking place download a utility called 57xx SteelVine Manager and it will report SAFE Rebuilding progress and drive status's to you.
2: This seems to work with USB 2.0 mode; HOWEVER!, I have yet to see if the controller uses RAID 1 properly with eSATA.
3: In the event of a disaster, it is unclear whether or not the mirror process is always from Drive #0 to Drive #1 OR if it will also copy from Drive #1 to Drive #0 in the event of a Drive#0 failure. This is important because if HDD1 fails we need to know if we should (or shouldn't) move HDD2 to the HDD1 position.
Additional information can be found at the following link: http://www.befok.net/2008/10/08/things-you-need-to-know-about-the-vantec-nexstar-mx-and-raid/