Desktop Backplane? Three 2.5" HDD Solutions Reviewed

Sunnytek Mobile Mini Backplane, SNT-BP-ESATA1822UESR

This device is called the Mobile Mini Backplane, as it is clearly more powerful than an ordinary enclosure for external storage. Sunnytek says that this is the first mobile mini-backplane for two 2.5” SATA drives, and it might be right. The device not only comes with regular RAID support, it is based on Silicon Image’s SteelVine 2 technology, which allows the user to select more operating modes than just RAID 0 or RAID 1. Supported modes are SAFE33, which utilizes 33% of each drive to create a safe RAID 1 array, and creates a RAID 0 using the remaining 66%; and SAFE50, which does the same, but using 50% of each drive’s capacity to create a RAID 1 array. Sunnytek utilizes the Silicon Image Sil 5744, which acts as a port multiplier and comes with the comprehensive RAID feature set.


Two trays for 2.5” Serial ATA drives are available, which are accessible from the front of the device, covered by a plastic gate that can be locked. On the rear side of the device you will find one eSATA and one USB 2.0 port; either can be used, but not both at the same time.

There is also a little DIP block with three switches, which have to be set to configure the unit to run RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, Spanning, SAFE33 or SAFE50. Once you have done this, you must press the change button on the front of the device to activate the new configuration. Be sure not to do this accidentally, as it will erase your existing partitions and hence all your data.

#1 Issue: Noise

Unfortunately, Sunnytek has disqualified the product for use in desktop environments, as the fan noise is almost incredible—this is one of the noisiest storage accessories we’ve seen. Thumbs down for this, as the concept of the product is basically great.