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RAID Boxes Run Riot

Conclusion

Both devices are easy to setup and to use. All you need to do is get adequate hard drives, install them, select your desired RAID mode and hook up the RAID boxes to your host PC before turning them on for the first time. Unlocking the trays to install the hard drives is done with fairly simple keys, which makes the process very simple, but does not provide security against accidental removal of drives. Whether you use USB 2.0, eSATA or Firewire - simply plug-in the devices into an available port and you're ready to go. This exactly is the attractiveness of both solutions.

Sans Digital has the eSATA advantage, which means that it outperforms the easyRAID solution easily despite having only two instead of four hard drives. The easyRAID S4-FWTT suffers from its missing eSATA interface, but supports Firewire 800 and USB 2.0 interfaces, which seems ideal for video editing.

Using two hard drives in RAID 0, the Sans Digital box delivered up to 105 MB/s with eSATA, which is an excellent result. The performance dropped to approximately 32 MB/s with USB 2.0. The easyRAID running four hard drives delivers up to 50 MB/s in RAID 0 and RAID 5 using Firewire 800, and 42 MB/s in RAID 0+1. These results could be better, but they are certainly quick enough. The access times we measured clearly depend on the hard drives you use, but the eSATA interface of the Sans Digital device seems to have a slight advantage.

Overall, both products perform well and offer nice flexibility when it comes to RAID mode selection, but both have the same annoying disadvantage: The noise from the built-in fans drove me crazy. Graphics cards, hard drives and CPU coolers have become much quieter than they were a few years ago, but the storage industry seems to be tripping itself up by disregarding what those in other areas of the hardware business have already learned.

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