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Mediasonic ProBox HF2-SU3S2 4 Bay 3.5” SATA HDD Enclosure – USB 3.0 & eSATA Support SATA 3 6.0Gbps HDD transfer speed
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- Support all brand of 3.5" SATA I / II / III hard disk drive up to 10TB per drive, and up to 4 x 10TB
- Support SATA 3 6.0Gbps hard drive transfer rate
- Transfer rate up to 5.0Gbps via USB 3.0, Transfer rate up to 6.0Gbps via eSATA
- Comptaible with Mac USB 3, Smart Fan Function
- Thermal Sensor built-in, Auto and Manual Mode and One Button Interface selection to switch USB 3.0 or eSATA Interface
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This item Mediasonic ProBox HF2-SU3S2 4 Bay 3.5” SATA HDD Enclosure – USB 3.0 & eSATA Support SATA 3 6.0Gbps HDD transfer speed
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|Sold By||Mediasonic Store||Mediasonic Store||Mediasonic Store||Mediasonic Store||Mediasonic Store||Mediasonic_Store|
|Item Dimensions||5 x 8.5 x 6.5 in||6.5 x 5 x 8.5 in||6.73 x 3.14 x 5.7 in||6.77 x 8.88 x 4.9 in||6.3 x 3.65 x 8.19 in||6.77 x 8.88 x 4.9 in|
Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2 ProBox is a 4 Bay Enclosure for 3.5' SATA I / II / III hard disk drive. It supports 4 hdd of different brand and capacity up to 8TB per drive. Note: Motherboard's SATA port MUST support Port Multiplier in order for your computer to recognize multiple hard drive if the unit is connected via eSATA. If you would like to download a user manual, please go to www.mediasonicusa.com
Seller Warranty Description1 Year Warranty from Mediasonic Store. Please Visit Mediasonic Store website for User Manual
Top customer reviews
* Easy hardware setup -- attach the brackets to the front of the drives, plug them into their slots, close the case
* Attractive, sleek case with blue indicator lights (one each per drive, fan speed, interface, etc.)
* Power cable has 90° bend for security (it's on the side, which may seem like a con, but really, it keeps it from being tugged out unexpectedly)
* Offers (but see cons)... offers two interface types (eSATA 6GB and USB 3.0)
* Supports read speeds as fast as my hard drives attain when inside the computer (134.99 MB/sec). 2014 Nov update: a WD 4.0TB Purple-series drive installed in this device has attained 150MB/sec sustained write with an SSD as its source.
* Ships with all necessary cables and power adapters
* No setup disk required; just plug in and go (this works best for my system with the orange sync mode enabled)
* Very easy to remove from the system in case of an emergency -- let insurance replace the rest, and keep your data drives safe
* Hardware assembly instructions are quite useful and accurate, and will quickly and easily get you to a ready state (but see cons)
* The device offers a sync mode that has a nice 15-second delay then powers off, when the computer is turned off or put into S3 sleep. This avoids unnecessary drive power-cycling cold reboots or brief, mistaken sleep cycles
* The power supply provides adequate power for four drives, even with all in an active state (e.g. several disk optimizations running simultaneously)
* The power supply utilizes the two-part design, which is desirable so that a longer IEC 60320-1 C13 cable can be substituted for the one packaged with the device. (This cable is the one that goes from the 120V mains to the power supply itself.)
* The device supports 4TB drives (wow!), for a total of 16TB. As of 2012, I had 2 x 2TB + 2 x 1.5TB and they all worked fine once recognized. 2014 Nov update: I now have one 4TB WD purple drive in the device, and that works great, with transfer speeds up to 150MB/sec from an SSD.
* Quality of workmanship is quite high; all parts fit perfectly, and there are no sharp edges or misaligned components. The drives all fit into their slots and have a positive feel when connected. The plastic components are nicely constructed, and overall it has a handsome, modern look with the indicator lights grouped in one area for convenience
* The top of the case is solid (no fan), which permits you to place items on it without concern with overheating
* The instructions (as of late-2012 packaging) are severely lacking in certain categories. They do not discuss the use of the interface button and fail to clarify that it's required to be set correctly for the device to stay powered on (it powers down repeatedly, per other reviewers as well, if the interface is not chosen to match the cable you plugged in). The instructions do not discuss the use of the Sync button at all, which was absolutely critical for me to get the device to a state of readiness for daily use. What you need to know is the button switches among three settings: blue turns the enclosure off with a 15-second pause when the computer powers down; orange syncs its sleep with the computer's on/off/sleep cycles (this is what you want, if you want to use this all the time, rather than as an occasional backup); and clear (indicator not lit), which keeps the enclosure running independently of computer on/off/sleep. The Fan button is also not documented, but its use is straightforward enough to not quibble. I used the URL provided in the printed instructions to get to this product's page, and when I downloaded the .pdf of the instructions (hoping they would fully clarify all functions), I was disappointed to find that it represents only the exact pages of the printed "quick start". The URL in the instructions cannot be hacked to look at the domain itself (usbex dot com) and browse for drivers, full instructions, spec sheets, anything...
* When the sync state is blue, the USB3.0 interface is unreliable in terms of always being found by Windows (but it works great when set to orange). In the blue mode, I tried having the box plugged in and turned on, when the computer was cold-booted, warm-booted and awakened from S3 sleep. In no case were my drives consistently recognized. One time, they were found but Windows dangerously, unhelpfully, told me that they would need to be formatted before use. Um, sorry, no: they have data on them from this computer and it didn't find them correctly. In another case, I changed USB ports and they were found accurately and in a reasonable amount of time, and appeared in Windows Explorer with their correct drive letters. In several other cases, they were not found at all, and rebooting with the device on, rebooting with it disconnected, and so on, did not result in the drives being found. In one case, rebooting with the device turned on resulted in the computer hanging on boot -- no error... just a black screen while it did nothing. All this is illustration to show that if the Sync state is not orange, there are odd problems. When it's orange, all is right with the world again. Just be aware. The same observations apply for the eSATA interface; I got it working, finally, but only after many combinations of unplugging the device, plugging it in at various times before a boot or after the computer had settled down.
* USB3.0 is unreliable under Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04 on multiple devices. USB3 semi-works but due to various factors I attempted to fix -- cable quality, cable length, position of the cable, different host USB3.0 ports, on and on) -- I could never get the drives to be stable except under very light load, and even then, they unmount and re-mount constantly. Transferring more than a few MB would result in all drives being unmounted (Linux) and sometimes they would come back. In any case, this resulted in corruption and lengthy recovery operations. I eventually gave up on USB3.0 with this device after trying three cables, including the one that was supplied with the enclosure, and was able to find an eSATA card that is supported natively in Linux (using a SIL3132 chip) and everything was back to normal again. As of early 2014, I dumped Win7 in favor of Ubuntu, and after addressing an eSATA incompatibility (an OS / driver issue, not the enclosure's issue), I'm back to relying on the drive enclosure. Note (Dec 2014): I added a Zotac ZBox to my desk for light computing, and put Ubuntu 14.04 on it and tried the Mediasonic box's USB3.0 ports with a super-short USB3.0 cable and achieved only very limited success. "Very limited success" here means the drives eventually mounted, and I was able to read small files, but they quickly unmounted without warning. As the ZBox has no eSATA ports, I will never be able to use this enclosure with this bookshelf computer.
* Even moderate cable length adversely affects the reliability, even the outright functionality, of the enclosure. The supplied USB3.0 cable (perhaps mine is defective?) does not work consistently, and causes the enclosure to lose signal and disconnect from the computer, causing delays at best, corruption at worst. Only the very short eSATA cable that was supplied with my enclosure works. I expected more from the manufacturer of such a fine enclosure (in most other ways). Update 2014 Nov: tested other USB 3.0 cables of various lengths (one a meter longer than the supplied cable, and one shorter) and none worked at all. Additionally, I tested a 2m eSATA cable, and that fails to get the device's drives recognized. This is disappointing, because having the Mediasonic more physically separated from the computer may work into various security strategies. Using a long cable did not work consistently or at all, in any of my tests.
Setup ought to be really straightforward. It should be plug-n-play, yet isn't exactly, because of the poor instructions. It should work with both of the supplied interfaces, using instructions provided with the unit, yet it doesn't without undocumented fussing. The instructions should completely discuss all options and provide example usage scenarios, yet they leave several functions with zero clarification (not just spotty, but utterly _no_ coverage). Visit the Mediasonic forum and read up on the device before you give up (if you're having problems).
For me, properly setting the Sync setting to orange made the difference between wanting to return the device, and never wanting to let it go. This shouldn't be left to chance by the manufacturer of a fine product that has such promise and works so nicely once it is finally set up correctly.
Followup: It has been working flawlessly now for about two years, so I am quite certain that I have the sync exactly as it should be. I simply turn on my computer (or wake it), and the drives are there, using eSATA. I turn off (or sleep) the computer, and the enclosure sleeps. It's exactly what I wanted. I have increased my rating to five-star because the hardware itself works flawlessly once configured correctly. I couldn't ask for anything better (except for USB3.0 to work, which I can live without).
Update: I updated the Cons above to indicate my issues with the USB3.0 interface. eSATA is unaffected, and I continue to be happy with this enclosure so long as I have 1) an eSATA interface that is supported by the OS, and 2) a short, high-quality eSATA cable.
Update October, 2015: "And then one day, it didn't."
Unfortunately the drive enclosure chose one day a few weeks ago to simply stop working properly. It reverted to the bad behavior with the constant powering-down, and no amount of re-tracing my steps has cured it. I plan to give it another try at some point, but given that the computer I am using recently has no eSATA ports, this will be a while. It was fun while it lasted...
Another update (late October, 2015)
Working again. I'm not certain what was going on earlier, but I simply plugged my drives back in today and it works. I also tested out the hot-swapping by plugging them in while it was running, and that too worked. It held the settings through one power cycle and one sleep cycle (Ubuntu 14.04) so I think it's back for real. I'll chalk that earlier failure up to user error... shows you yet again that it's a bit of a tricky device to get to work, but once it does, it's great. I also have had no issues with this enclosure under Linux Mint, which I'm trying out.
When my Western Digital Black 2TB 7200 RPM SATA III drive was in a Windows machine, I partitioned it into two, with each partition being 1TB each, actual size around 950GB. Installing the drive into the enclosure was pretty simple, just screw the handle onto the front of the drive, pop the bay doors open, luckily we didn't need HAL to do that for us. Remove the pressure plate, stick the drive in, replace pressure plate, close the bay doors. Plug in your USB cable or ESATA cable, plug in the power and go.
I feel the need to mention though however, if your planning to use ESATA, please understand that most onboard ESATA ports do not support port multiplier. If you fully populate the enclosure with 4 drives, in order to see 4 separate drives load in your OS, you will need to have port multiplier ability, which usually isn't found in motherboards, so you will have to purchase an ESATA card to put in your machine that does support it.
However, if your going to be using the USB connection, you don't have to worry about that. I have my drive enclosure plugged into my router via USB. This enclosure has a SYNC button and an INTERFACE button. The enclosure selects USB by default, but if you need ESATA, you will have to press and hold the SYNC button to make your choice. Also, the enclosure has a built in sleep features.
By holding down the Interface button, you can select which mode you want. When the interface indicator is blue, it means that when computer is powered off, the enclosure will power off in 15-seconds. And if you turn you computer back on, the enclosure won't come back on. If you want the enclosure to be in perfect sync with your computer, press and hold the INTERFACE button until the indicator is orange.
Since I am using this with my router, I need my files to be able to be accessed at all times by any computer on the network. So to make sure the enclosure stays on no matter what, I had to hold the INTERFACE button each time until I turned the indicator completely off, hence clear. This way it will stay on until I hit the power button to turn it off, or the power goes out. Another thing this enclosure has is a smart fan feature.
You are offered three levels of fan modes that you can either set manually, or set to smart auto. Fan speed 1 is very loud, like a freight train, but provides the most airflow. Fan speed 2 is a lot less noisy but is noticeable. And Fan speed 3 is silent. I keep my fan setting on Auto, and it never razes the fan speed beyond fan speed 3. So lets talk about file transfer speeds...
I have a Netgear N600 WND4500-V3 router. I did some research into Readyshare and learned that the software in the router has a speed limiting bug in them that limits the speed you will get in file transfers. In other words, don't expect 5GBPS on USB 3.0 cause thats not going to happen. Also, your going to loose some in the transfer link between the drive itself and the enclosure, before its sent to the router, then finally to your computer on your gigabit network.
For a speed reference, when I plug my Cannon A2300 camera into my notebook computer using USB 3.0, my file transfer speed is 10 megabytes per second. When reading from my new drive enclosure, copying a 4.1GB file to my notebook, I am getting 13.8 megabytes per second. However, when transferring that same 4.1GB file to my drive in the enclosure, I get around 14.5 megabytes per second.
Usually in most cases, read speeds will exceed writing speeds, at least it does with SSD drives and other based flash drive media. But with this 7200 RPM mechanical drive that has 64MB cash, it seems to like writing more then it does reading. I have got to believe that this is somehow related to the 64MB cash buffer, but I could be wrong. I also love the pretty blue lights on the drive, although they might be too bright if you have this placed in a bedroom or movie room.
So far I haven't had any trouble with it, and setting up Readyshare was super simple in my router configuration. Also the build quality of the box is pretty solid, it weighs a lot more then I thought it would. No doubt most of the weight is in the PSU and the metal casing of the enclosure. Very little plastic is on this thing and thats good. As long as you know how to set this up, it should work for you.
5 out of 5
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