|Hard Drive||9 TB External|
CalDigit T3 Thunderbolt RAID (T3-9000)
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- Dual Thunderbolt Ports for Daisy Chaining
- Speeds up to 550MB/s with HDDs or 850MB/s with SSDs
- High Quality Aluminum Construction
- Removable Drive Design
- Ambient Temperature Controlled Smart Fan
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The T3 by CalDigit is a triple drive RAID array that offers performance and versatility unrivaled by anything in its class. While priced similarly to dual bay RAID solutions, the extra drive in the T3 adds additional performance with a minimal footprint increase. For applications that require high performance drives, the T3 configured in RAID 0 can deliver up to 550 MB/s when configured with HDDs or 850 MB/s with SSDs. The T3 will do everything a dual drive RAID can and more. Why settle for two, when you can have three?
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Here's that update, unfortunately..after a little over a year. The A0 or first drive is failing. I verified through the Mac disk utility and the drive is colored in red and it states to the right of that margin that the drive "cannot be repaired." The T3 is warrantied for five years, the drives for three, I believe. Call going out Monday. Reduced by a star.
The CalDigit T3 is solidly built. I was amazed at how heavy the unit was, but at least it's compact. I just had an external drive fail on me and fortunately I didn't lose anything important, but my other two (important) drives were not yet completely backed up due to space issues. This failure ended up being a call to action after some foot-dragging research on RAID systems during some otherwise busy times. I will admit that I just set the unit up yesterday on my iMac, but I'll go through the set up experience (if you don't see an update later on, assume that the T3 is still working "five-stars"). I used the Mac Disk Utility to set it up as a two drive RAID 1, with the bottom disk as a JBOD. FYI, just because you drag the top two drive icons in the Disk Utility to create the RAID 1, doesn't necessarily mean that you will be setting up your two back up (RAID 1) disks as the top two disks as physically installed in the T3 unit. I could see that when I initially set it up, the top and bottom disk were set up as the drives mirroring each other (RAID 1). But I wanted the top two disks as RAID 1 and the bottom as a stand alone (JBOD), so I started over by deleting the set up. This time, I dragged the top disk and the bottom disk icons as displayed in the disk utility RAID set up on my Mac and it created the RAID 1 set up as the top two disks of the T3 unit, as desired. I then set up the middle icon in the 'Partition' section of the disk utility to be the JBOD by selecting this center icon and it did indeed end up as the bottom disk of the T3. How could I tell which was which? With the initial set up, I copied files to the RAID disks and saw that the two blue blinking lights showing drive action were the A0 and A2 lights (first and third, as seen left to right on the front of the unit). After I re-did the set up, I saw that it was the top two now correctly set up since both lights blinking were the first two, left to right on the T3 unit.
If you're new to RAID or RAID set up on a Mac, make sure you check out the CalDigit support page for an instructional YouTube on the set up. It was especially helpful for the easy set up of the stand alone disk (or "JBOD"). Frankly, for such a simple set up, I like the concept of using the Mac's native utility to set this up rather than installing bloat on my computer.
And that's where I encountered my one and only complaint with this product. I pulled the sleds out and found a small "warranty void if removed" warning sticker over one HD mounting screw on each sled. Hmmm... ok, a minor annoyance, but not that big of a deal. Next, I noticed that these screws were Torx, not simple Phillips head as pretty much every other enclosure I've ever owned has had. No problem... I have an assortment of Torx screwdrivers. I then discovered that these were not ordinary Torx screws... they were Torx Security / Tamper-Resistant screws (same shape/size as Torx, but with a "bump" in the middle to prevent a common Torx screwdriver from being used.
So, in the middle of trying to get my new machine set up, I had to get in the car and drive around town looking for this obscure tool (eventually found it at Harbor Freight). If I had written this review that evening, I would have rated this thing 1, maybe 2 stars... I was that furious. But I decided to wait until I had cooled down, hence I am writing this after a month or so of use, and I only deducted 1 star for the idiotic decision to use this uncommon screw.
I recognize that perhaps this criticism could be seen as unfair, with one way to look at it being that I bought a product and am complaining because the manufacturer made it difficult for me to "modify" it. CalDigit's position is that to ensure quality and reliability, they only want selected drives to be used in their enclosures. There may be a certain degree of validity to this, but I consider this to be similar to cities that use camera systems for automated traffic enforcement... they insist that the main purpose is for public safety, but clearly the vast amount of income these cameras bring in is what they really care about.
In the case of a drive failure, rather than simply buying a $60 drive and swapping it out (standard practice for these types of removable enclosures), CalDigit apparently expects you to instead purchase a complete "module" consisting of a drive and sled at a cost of $130 (1TB). Of course, if you were not aware of this beforehand and tried to install a new drive yourself (again, not an uncommon procedure with these kinds of enclosures), you'd run into the same problem I had, needing to go out and find a strange screwdriver in order to get your system back up and running.
I understand CalDigit would prefer you to buy this radically overpriced module, and I also somewhat understand their desire to eliminate variables (other drive models) for support reasons. But to actively try to prevent users from replacing a drive is, IMHO, going too far. So, bottom line... if you're using this as a RAID and want to be prepared by keeping a spare drive on hand for instant replacement in case of a failure, you either need to have already purchased a complete module from CalDigit, or you need to buy a Torx Security screwdriver so you can swap the drive yourself.
To end on a brighter note, the enclosure has performed flawlessly, and is plenty fast for my needs. The fan is quiet, and the unit looks nice too.