Gigabyte

Removable hard drive system recommendation?

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I'm looking for suggestions on what to buy when it comes to a storage system for removable hard drives. It'll be used in a small office environment meaning it should be reliable, quiet, and reasonably fast.

I currently have a Proavio 4-bay rack enclosure with removable drives:

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It's connected to my Mac Pro through Firewire 800 but has a few flaws: it won't accept drive bigger than 2TB, it's noisy (yes, I've changed the fans), each hard drive needs a tray to be attached and a couple of other frustrations. I also didn't end up installing it in a rack, so this time around I'm considering a "tower" of some sort. I've been looking at 5.25" backplane modules such as these from Orico:

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My guess is that they don't contain any interface electronics, so I wouldn't run into a hard drive size limit as now, because that depends on the SATA bridge board I decide to use. They're also trayless meaning I can just pop in the drives. The problem however is that these modules are designed for PC cases and not stand-alone as I need (there's no such space available in my Mac Pro). Firewire (and possibly USB) would be nice, but since my Mac Pro has an eSATA interface I should be fine with just SATA.

So, are there any ready made desktop systems with those features? I'm also open for other suggestions, but being able to exchange drives is a "must have" feature I've found invaluable when making backups and whenever my drives fill up.

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I don't know those backplanes specifically, but we've used comparable ones from Icy Dock with no issues in terms of capacity limitations. For external enclosures we've seen a couple but have had mixed results, can't think of one that I'd feel good about recommending to you. Perhaps others have had better luck.

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So you mounted the backplane in a tower PC enclosure where you had unused CD-ROM (5.25") drive bays?

Good to hear that there's no capacity limitations. Drives just keep getting bigger.

So is my assumption correct that these backplanes are basically mechanical devices, providing data/power connectors to each drive as well as the mount/eject mechanisms for each bay, but no interfacing electronics?

External 5.25" bay enclosures with quality and a professional style seem hard to come by. NAS would be easier in that respect, but I don't see any need for all that with just one computer. It would also consume more power and I assume there's some boot delay as well.
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Edited by Gigabyte

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Yes, we put them in vacant bays, Icy Dock seeks a hundred different varieties it seems. They do make some enclosures that have inbuilt RAID, but as you're looking for, most just pass through the connections.

A NAS isn't a horrible idea BTW...it's my contention that every home should have one. Better backup options, consume your content anywhere on any device...etc etc etc. You could even get a cheap 2-bay from Synology for $150 or less and be in pretty good shape.

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