Skip to main content

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
PlatformAsus NCL-DS (Socket 604)Intel E7520 Chipset, BIOS 1005
RAMCorsair CM72DD512AR-400 (DDR2-400 ECC, reg.)2x 512 MB, CL3-3-3-10 Timings
System Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar WD1200JB120 GB, 7,200 rpm, 8 MB Cache, UltraATA/100
Test Hard Drive ISeagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3500641500 GB, 7,200 rpm, 16 MB Cache, SATA/300
Mass Storage Controller(s)Intel 82801EB UltraATA/100 Controller (ICH5)Silicon Image SATALink SiL3512Driver FastTrak TX4310Driver SATA 300TX4Driver
NetworkingBroadcom BCM5721 On-Board Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics CardOn-Board GraphicsATI RageXL, 8 MB
System Hardware
Performance benchmarksc’t h2benchw 3.6PCMark05 V1.01
I/O PerformanceIOMeter 2003.05.10Fileserver-BenchmarkWebserver-BenchmarkDatabase-BenchmarkWorkstation-Benchmark
System Software & Drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise EditionService Pack 1
Platform DriverIntel Chipset Installation Utility
Graphics DriverDefault 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.

  • 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