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  1. Joined : Jun 2016
    Posts : 170
    Windows 10 64-bit home
       19 Oct 2016 #1

    Looking for a 4-bay USB 3.0 external HDD enclosure


    I'm having a major issue with my current external hard drive enclosures (standard mechanic drives) that I'm trying to resolve in another thread so I won't go into that here:

    Lost access to drive - "Access is Denied"

    Basically on my new PC my current enclosures are either not connecting or dropping out/corrupting my drives. I lost a ton of data already. I have several Icy Dock Black Vortex enclosures and two older Mediasonics. The Icy Docks are both USB 3.0 and esata. One Mediasonic is USB 2.0 only and one is esata only. All are 4-bay enclosures.

    So I'm trying to find a good enclosure that will play nice with my Gigabyte Z170x Gaming-7 motherboard. I have USB 3.0 on the motherboard plus I have a RocketRaid 622 esata card installed. The chipset of the motherboard is Intel Z170. Gigabyte suspects that the older enclosures might not be playing nice with the new chipset of my new motherboard. Icy Dock thinks differently and suspects it's my old WD Green drives at fault.

    But there are very few affordable 4-bay enclosures available. Mediasonic makes one that is almost identical to my current Mediasonics except they are both USB 3.0 and esata now. I tried a Mediasonic USB 3.0 a couple years ago on my old PC and the USB didn't work at all with my old USB 3.0 card so I returned it. Maybe now it would work better on my motherboard's built-in USB ports? I dislike the cooling in the Mediasonics so I wish there was a better alternative.

    Can anybody recommend any other external USB 3.0 4-bay enclosures? I have no idea what's causing my enclosure issues but to troubleshoot I need another unit and there seems to be a lack of affordable 4-bay enclosures to choose from. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    The Mediasonic I'm looking at is here:

    https://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-HF.../dp/B003X26VV4
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2.    19 Oct 2016 #2

    The MediaSonic also gets pretty good reviews (4 eggs from 74 reviews) on Newegg. Might be your best bet. Don't really see that many options out there. You might also want to post on the SmallNetBuilder forums to see if you can tap into any collective wisdom there. If it were me, I'd be thinking about getting a NAS instead (they cost more, but generally tend to work for years and years).
    HTH,
    --Ed--
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  3. Joined : Jun 2016
    Posts : 170
    Windows 10 64-bit home
       19 Oct 2016 #3

    Thanks for the input. A bonus is the Mediasonic doesn't support USAP, which I think may be at the heart of my corruption issues on my current enclosures. I just don't like the cooling system on the Mediasonic, as I already have an esata one. The small noisy fan is on the back of the unit, but in front of the fan inside is the board, which blocks almost all the airflow from the fan. Also I wish the fan was in front like the Icy Docks I'm having so much trouble with. Right now I have the front grille off and a fan balanced right in front of it to blow cool air into the unit and across the drives, which looks ridiculous and is very inconvenient.

    I have no experience with NAS - I wouldn't know where to start - and I don't really have a lot of money to spend. I also copy and back up regularly to these enclosures which is what I use them for. I don't actually use them for RAID - just a storage box to hold all my data drives.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4.    19 Oct 2016 #4

    You could spring for two USB 3.0 two-drive drive caddies instead. I use one Thermaltake model and another from Dyconn, both purchased in the last year from Newegg, and have had nary an issue with either of them. They cost about $50 each, and because the drives are mounted vertically in the open they don't run too warm (smart says all of them are at or under 30 C right now). You can cool them further with a box fan if needs must, as you're already doing with your current rig.
    HTH,
    --Ed--
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  5. Joined : Jun 2016
    Posts : 170
    Windows 10 64-bit home
       19 Oct 2016 #5

    Well the thing is I have a bunch of drives that have accumulated over the years, so I need a few 4-bay enclosures. That makes the 2-bay enclosures or caddies not a realistic option for me, since there would be too many of them all needing ports and outlets and taking up space.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6.    19 Oct 2016 #6

    I hear you! And alas, the synology 8-port NAS is $850 at Newegg and B&H, highly-rated (4 eggs/11 reviews). But that's waaay more expensive than 2 four-port enclosures. I've had good luck with StartTech stuff over the years, and they've got a four-port vertical caddy at Newegg for $162. May be worth a look?
    HTH,
    --Ed--
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  7. Joined : Jun 2016
    Posts : 170
    Windows 10 64-bit home
       19 Oct 2016 #7

    Interesting. It supports UASP which should be good but I'm wondering if my problem is UASP related or not. I'm still trying to track down what caused my corruption on my Icy Dock enclosure. So right now I'm a bit nervous about UASP even though it may have nothing to do with my issue with Icy Dock.

    Is it okay that the drives are vertical in that caddy? I'm used to my enclosures storing them horizontally. I wouldn't be swapping the drives because the less I handle them the better. I'd probably have a fan set up over the units to blow air across them, like I have set up with the Mediasonic. It's quite a bit more expensive though - the Mediasonic is only $99.

    Mediasonic does make an 8-bay but it costs way over what it would cost to buy 2 separate 4-bays from them:

    - 8-bay: $270
    - 4-bay: $99
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8.    19 Oct 2016 #8

    Needs a beefier power supply, is probably why the 8-bay does a near-3X jump. I hope you wouldn't use a lot of concurrent access to multiple drives: USB 3.0 has a theoretical max of 5Gbps, but you'd be lucky to get half that in real-world aggregate throughput.
    Should be interesting! Good luck with your purchase, whatever it may be. Do please post again to let us know what you buy!
    As for "going vertical" you can indeed use a box fan or other small air mover to keep things cooler if you must. As I said, I have my two-port bays on a baker's rack in the office next to my desk, and those units never go above 30 to 31 C (as long as I leave the A/C running, that is -- this is Texas, after all...)
    Thanks,
    --Ed--
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


  9. Joined : Jun 2016
    Posts : 170
    Windows 10 64-bit home
       20 Oct 2016 #9

    In general a lot of these external enclosures seem to have a lot of issues. Lots of dropped drives and lost connections, cheap power supplies, poor cooling, and other issues. As I mentioned above, my old Icy Dock enclosures aren't working at all on my current Windows 10 PC - it just corrupted over 1 TB of data. Luckily a good portion of it was backed up. But now I'm very hesitant on what to buy, since any of them may have the same issues. It seems USB 3.0 is especially problematic for many of those enclosures, especially the 4-bay ones.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10.    20 Oct 2016 #10

    Yes, true: which is why a storage server or NAS makes more sense when you start pooling lots of disk drives. As more data is put to risk, risk management says we should be willing to spend more to reduce that risk. But, if the budget won't cover it, it won't cover it. Sigh.
    --Ed--

    PS: here's what I want, just to make you chuckle: TBS-453A :: QNAP with 4 of the new Samsung 960 2 TB NVMe drives installed.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec


 
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