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External Drive Enclosure discussion, Microserver Gen8


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As mentioned previously in another thread, I retired my Thermaltake Max4 external enclosure during my migration to the Gen8 Microserver; it worked perfectly on eSATA with my N40L and N54L, but the moment I went to USB it crapped out and reported drive corruption issues.  It may be that the enclosure didn't support a 3TB drive over its USB 2.0 port.


Seeing as I had no space to add an eSATA card, I needed a new enclosure.  I went with the following requirements:


-Must support 3TB and larger drives (many enclosures support up to 2TB and no larger due to controller chip limitations)

-Must reliably support USB 3.0

-Must still have an eSATA port in the event that some day I revert

-Must have adequate drive ventilation

-Must be reasonably priced (I'm not cheap, but $100 for a single-bay drive enclosure is nuts considering the production costs)


In the end, I went with a slightly unusual (in the PC world) but well-built choice that showed promise:  MacAlly's G-S350SU3.




The external portions of the enclosure are aluminum (internal mountings for the drive are steel), and vented front and rear, so heat shouldn't be a major issue.  After having several enclosures with fans that failed, I went fanless this time; the replacement fans were almost always odd sizes that made it hard to find quality replacements.  The enclosure isn't tool-free; this isn't a big deal to me, as the drive is being used for backup to my main server and  I won't be swapping things in and out.  When plugged in, Device Manager in Windows lists it as a "PI-550 SATA/USB30 Drive USB Device". 


True to MacAlly's word, the drive supports the 3TB drive (it claims to support any size drive, so 4TB folks should be fine too).  It comes with some nice brackets to keep it steady wherever you decide to set it, and it's around $55USD from Amazon.


I wanted to get everyone else's opinions on what types of enclosures they're using too and perhaps help others find what they need.  I was also highly interested in (but could not find for a reasonable price) the new Orico 7619SUS3;  good luck finding one in the States without paying an arm and a leg.  If you find one in your neck of the woods, I'd be interested in knowing what your experiences are.  It adds tooless installation, and looks pretty nifty.



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P.S.  According to HDD Tune Pro, the MacAlly enclosure also supports S.M.A.R.T. reporting over USB.  Score another point.

Edited by LoneWolf
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Nice enclosure. I suspect, particularly if you use something like a WD Red HDD, you would never experience any heat-related issues (because the Reds run sooo cool).


I'm still using a Thermaltake Max 5G. Since it has dual fans, which basically only run when a Windows Server Backup is taking place, I don't think I will have any fan-related issues either. Even if a fan does fail, there's a backup, which I'm sure is more than adequate to keep the drive cool :)

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Whats the purpose of external drives you connect with usb 3.0?


I have various steps from raid-5 to towards "offline" backup where my last step is a usb 2 (!) mirrorbook which has nicly mirrored disc and powersdown once its not used for som minutes .. perfect for backup.


I guess with usb 3.0 speed it would hurt using it for media files and all, but i would hestitate abit using it for running VMs and stuff like that.



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I use a pair of these for my backups: Icy Dock MB559U3S-1SB (Black) External 3.5" SATA Hard Drive Enclosure. They also do them in white. Have a 3TB WD RED in each. Very low profile and work great via USB3 or eSATA. I actually create a Stablebit Drive Pool across the pair so they are seen as a single ~6TB storage volume by my Windows 8 Pro G8 Microserver.




Edited by psikey
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My USB3 drives are all for backup; NearLine and OffSite.


Same here.  External = backup.  Internal = data and OS.  Four 5.25" bays plus two 2.5" on the SchoonDoggy Drive Bracket is plenty for VM work.

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I'm naturally paranoid, so I would suggest mirrored external drivs to single one.


Even better, multiple external sets of drives. I have 2 sets of drives I rotate through 1 of my 2 Lian-Li enclosures. One of the sets of drives is always off site. The drive sets are not 'mirrored' per se, but you could consider the 2 sets as kind of 'virtual mirrors' of each other (they're never out of sync more than 24 hours).

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