Meet Drobo: A Data-Saving Robot

Test Configuration

System Hardware
Processor(s) 2x Intel Xeon Processor (Nocona core)
3.6 GHz, FSB800, 1 MB L2 Cache
Platform Asus NCL-DS (Socket 604)
Intel E7520 Chipset, BIOS 1005
RAM Corsair CM72DD512AR-400 (DDR2-400 ECC, reg.)
2x 512 MB, CL3-3-3-10 Timings
System Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB
120 GB, 7,200 rpm, 8 MB Cache, UltraATA/100
Test Hard Drive I Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3500641
500 GB, 7,200 rpm, 16 MB Cache, SATA/300
Mass Storage Controller(s) Intel 82801EB UltraATA/100 Controller (ICH5)
Silicon Image SATALink SiL3512
Promise FastTrak TX4310
Promise SATA 300TX4
Networking Broadcom BCM5721 On-Board Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics Card On-Board Graphics
ATI RageXL, 8 MB
System Hardware
Performance benchmarks c’t h2benchw 3.6
PCMark05 V1.01
I/O Performance IOMeter 2003.05.10
System Software & Drivers
OS Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
Service Pack 1
Platform Driver Intel Chipset Installation Utility
Graphics Driver Default Windows Graphics Driver


We equipped Drobo with four different hard drives (80 GB, 160 GB, 320 GB, and 400 GB) for our test with HD Tach (version We received average sequential transfer rates of 15.7 MB/s (read) and 11.0 MB/s (write). Compared to other USB storage devices, Drobo doesn’t convince with high performance. However, most external hard drives don’t come with data security features like Drobo does. The average access time was 27.7 ms, which puts our data robot on an NAS-device level. In practice, this means that users need a lot of time if they want to store 500 GB on Drobo. We still think that Drobo’s performance is acceptable after all. Different software, which is easy to install for users, is supposed to provide a performance increase, according to Data Robotics.

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  • Anonymous
    Thank you for your review. I only want to add that there is a 2nd generation drobo that gives Firewire support. Also, you can buy droboshare to go along with one or two drobo for network access. I would be most interested in reading your thoughts about the different connection abilities and speeds.
    Thanks again