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Test Results

Desktop Backplane? Three 2.5" HDD Solutions Reviewed
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Access Time

We used two Samsung flash SSD drives to check the access time on the mobile backplane when in RAID 1 or RAID 0 mode. (The two other devices connect the drives directly to the host controller and hence don’t have an impact on performance.) The impact on access time was noticeable, although almost irrelevant on the flash SSDs. Clearly, the Silicon Image SteelVine controller introduces some latency when implementing RAID.

Read/Write Throughput

We checked the throughput in RAID 1 mode and found only small differences when compared to running a single drive. Running a RAID 0 stripeset almost doubles the throughput for those looking for maximum transfer rates. Running the device over USB 2.0 limits performance to 28.8 MB/s maximum for reads and 21.6 MB/s maximum for writes, which is far less than USB 2.0 can achieve (~35 MB/s).

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  • 0 Hide
    gpsxsirus , April 9, 2009 8:45 AM
    I'd like to see a review of some backkplanes that support a couple more drives that's still mountable in an ATX case. I'm looking to run RAID 5 or 6, ideally with a hot spare.
  • 1 Hide
    BKD , April 9, 2009 12:12 PM
    How about 2x5.25" bays hosting vertical 3.5" disks, maybe five or six? I prefer this setup to the standard desktop internal cages which are a pain.

    gp-Just use more then one of the above-the raid is controller dependent.
  • 1 Hide
    WyomingKnott , April 9, 2009 1:49 PM
    BKDHow about 2x5.25" bays hosting vertical 3.5" disks, maybe five or six? I prefer this setup to the standard desktop internal cages which are a pain.

    And here it is: http://www.addonics.com/products/raid_system/ae4rcs35nsa.asp
  • 1 Hide
    joex444 , April 9, 2009 3:49 PM
    Almost, its a 3x5.25" but you need that with 3.5" drives. 2x5.25" can only get you 3 horizontal 3.5" drives.
  • -4 Hide
    yourhighness , April 9, 2009 5:02 PM
    I saw this article and I though, Awesome this is going to be a great article that will apply to me (and enthusiast and a Small Business).

    But then I noticed it's all about 2.5" hard drives instead of 3.5"...

    FAIL
  • -1 Hide
    yourhighness , April 9, 2009 7:25 PM
    yourhighnessI saw this article and I though, Awesome this is going to be a great article that will apply to me (and enthusiast and a Small Business).But then I noticed it's all about 2.5" hard drives instead of 3.5"...FAIL

    Sorry to be debbie downer, I just feel that the vast majority of people looking to add storage space would prefer the larger, cheaper, faster 3.5" form factor of the 2.5" drives.

    I understand that SSD is changing things, but it still costs 10-100X more than 3.5"HDD, and 2.5"HDD still costs 2-5x as much as 3.5"...

    I guess it would be more productive to ask for 3.5" backplanes than just being a dick.

    Please can I see some 3.5" storage solutions? I'd especially like to see some of the drive bays supporting more than 4 drives.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2009 8:57 PM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=backplane&x=0&y=0

    for a list of backplanes out there
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 9, 2009 10:00 PM
    Having 40mm fans very close to rotating media is a very bad idea. Hard drives do not like the intense vibration from high speed fans.
    Performance and reliability suffer badly. I would like to see the issue
    addressed in a serious way, not just the obvious user oriented features.


  • 0 Hide
    michaelahess , April 10, 2009 4:10 AM
    Tom StephensonHaving 40mm fans very close to rotating media is a very bad idea. Hard drives do not like the intense vibration from high speed fans.Performance and reliability suffer badly. I would like to see the issue addressed in a serious way, not just the obvious user oriented features.


    Except when using, oh I don't know, laptop drives that are already built to withstand this kind of abuse, kind of a non-issue.

    Also considering how hot many laptop drives get when on your lap, I don't think heat will be as big of an issue as you'd think if your case is cooled properly. My Stacker 830 would be a perfect fit if I threw one of these in my top bay, just fashon a air guide for the top fan to pull air from the first bay, turn the 40mm fans off and be happy!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 10, 2009 3:21 PM
    Bought This - Returned it the next week: No stress relief on the connections and several came disconnected due to the fact that the SAS/SATA connections were only held on to the circuit board via the soldier holding the pins in place - Hey! I paid $40 for this backplane that was little more than 4 places to mount hard drives, what do you expect?
  • 1 Hide
    kenyee , April 13, 2009 2:03 PM
    I'd like to see a similar roundup but with 3.5" HDD backplanes. There are quite a few that fit into three 5-1/4" slots and is a better compromise if you run a mid-tower...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 13, 2009 10:17 PM
    Excellent review, however it seems like the backplanes that you choose to review all are approximately the same unit with a different brand pasted on... would like to see some more diversity in the choices.
  • 0 Hide
    ShadowFlash , April 13, 2009 11:21 PM
    Any word yet on the patriot, OCZ, or A-DATA versions of the mobile backplane ? I think any of those would work alot nicer in the desktop enviornment, as they fit neatly into a single 3.5" bay. There are also a number of chinese 2-bay RAID enclosures out there, but who knows the quality? I would really like to see a true round-up on those.

    For those who don't see the point in 2.5" vs. 3.5", consider a ultra-fast OS/Program array, and a nice fast RAID 10 array for storage, and pretty soon you're running out of physical space in the average desktop case, not to mention competing for power with your high-end video card. While 2.5" drives are still a bit pricey for storage drives, a pair of 73GB 15K SAS and a dual RAID 0 enclosure for about $300 is certainly worth it ( or even 4x 36GB 15K for the same price ), as space requirements are simply not needed for an OS/program drive.
  • 0 Hide
    mikolay , April 15, 2009 3:08 PM
    SuperMicro Backplane CSE-M28E2B for 8x 2.5"HD, 2x 5.25"Bay; Redundant 2x4xSAS port :) 

    http://www.span.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=15973&language=en
  • 0 Hide
    mileage , April 16, 2009 5:05 AM
    is there any internal enclosure fit two of 2.5" hdd into one of 3.5" bay?
  • 0 Hide
    ShadowFlash , April 16, 2009 5:00 PM
    mileageis there any internal enclosure fit two of 2.5" hdd into one of 3.5" bay?



    Here's the RAID version from A-DATA....they also have non-raid versions I believe.

    http://oc.adata.com.tw/1_product_detail.asp?pid=ASX1SUMAL-2

    I have not found any reliable review on these type of things yet. There are a number of chinese versions off of E-bay which look to be identical and both Patriot and OCZ are promising their vervisions as well. I doubt these would get rid of the stuttering problems of low-end SSD's, but it would make for some nasty RAID-on-RAID action, spawning all sorts of bizarre set-ups.
  • 0 Hide
    mileage , April 16, 2009 8:20 PM
    Thanks for the info.
    I found one for internal for two of 2.5inch to one bay of 3.5 inch.

    http://www.acmemicro.com/estore/merchant.ihtml?pid=6982&lastcatid=390&step=4

    I'll test this later today for our product test.