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Fantom Drives G-Force Megadisk MDE1000

Comparing External RAID Housings

The G-Force Megadisk MDE1000 from Fantom Drives is the only device in our test that already contains two drives. According to the manufacturer, the drives each have a 32 MB cache and operate at a spindle speed of 7200 RPM. The drives fitted in our test device are from Hitachi, and have a capacity of 500 GB each. The G-Force Megadisk MDE1000 costs in the vicinity of $290.

The Package

The scope of delivery includes quick installation instructions, USB and eSATA cables, the NTI Shadow Backup software, a stand, and the external power supply with connection cable. The rear of the housing offers USB and eSATA interfaces as well as the power connection, above which is a toggle switch that can be used to turn the device off.

Since the power supply is not built-in and the power supply switch is secondary, the device still requires approximately 1 watt of power even when switched off. The measured maximum power consumption was 17 watts during the process of setting up the drives with RAID 1. In idle mode, it required approximately 12 watts.

Selecting The Operating Mode

Setting the operating mode is accomplished by using a small rotating button located to the left of the eSATA connection. A small screwdriver is required to turn the button, but is not included in the package. Once you have selected the operating mode, this must be confirmed by pressing a small button located to the left of the switch. You do not need special tools to do this—you can use a ballpoint pen or a paper clip.

The modes available are Mirror, Fast, Dual and Big Mirror. The last of these describes RAID 1, which mirrors the contents of one disk onto the second. The capacity available for use in this mode is 500 GB. The Fast mode is equivalent to RAID 0, where accesses to the disks are carried out in parallel and the data distributed to both disks in identically-sized blocks. This increases the transfer rates, but the RAID 0 mode does not offer any redundancy. The overall capacity in Fast mode is 1000 GB.

In Dual mode, the user also has 1000 GB of storage available. Here, the operating system considers the two disks to be independent devices. Users will see two 500 GB drives in their Windows Explorer. In the Mirror, Fast and Big modes, both drives are "switched together" and the operating system considers them to be a single drive.

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