Build Quality and Internals:

The Mediasonic Probox 8-bay JBOD enclosure comes in a spartan package with just the bare necessities. The most important aspect of the package is the absence of an external power adapter. The PSU is internal to the unit. The contents of the package are as below:

  • Probox main unit
  • 1x eSATA cable
  • 1x USB 3.0 cable
  • 1x power cord
  • 8x plastic HDD handles and 16x screws for the handles
  • 2x keys for the door to the HDD bays
  • Screwdriver
  • Quick Installation Guide leaflet

The gallery below shows some pictures of the main unit. The unit is quite hefty at around 10 pounds without the hard drives installed. The dimensions of the main unit are 15.5cm x 25.3cm x 35.2cm. There are two internal 80mm fans which can be replaced by the user.

There are no HDD trays, but just plastic handles. The handles are also too flimsy for my liking. This means that 2.5" HDDs / SSDs are a no-go. I tried using a 3.5" adapter that is usually bundled with the SSDs, but the SATA connector on the mounted SSDs don't align up with the fixed SATA connector inside the Probox bay.

We managed to grab some photographs of the chips inside the unit. Three of them turned out to be JMicron bridge chips, as shown in the gallery below.

The main chips in the enclosure are:

JMS539: The JMicron JMS529 is a USB3.0 to SATAII 3Gbps bridge controller. It integrates a 60MIPS 8051 microcontroller along with 1 USB 3.0 PHY and 1 SATA PHY.

JMB321: The JMicron JMB321 is a single chip which integrates 6 SATAII 3 Gbps PHYs along with a host microprocessor. The firmware can configure it either as a 1-to-5 port SATAII port multiplier or 5-to-1 port SATAII selector. The Mediasonic Probox contains two of these JMB321 chips, using them in port multiplier mode. These two chips are used in cascaded configuration, with the output of the second one being routed either to the eSATA port or the JMS539 depending on the selected interface. As expected, simultaneous access of the SATA drives over both eSATA and USB 3.0 is not possible.

EM78P520: This microcontroller from Elan Microelectronics is used for overall housekeeping purposes.

 

 

Introduction and Testbed Setup Performance Benchmarks
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  • Point2Note - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    @ypsylon they offer the raid version of the 8 bay as well, although the raid version doesn't work if you only use it for jbod, and the plastic handles are useless

    i use 2 probox 8 bay at home, since my case has only has 10 drive capacity, both use usb 3 since i cant find motherboard or esata card that works with this 8bay.

    the bad thing using usb is i cant remove a drive without interrupting the other drive that in the same bay (it will get disconnected and reconnected, so if im copying something from a drive inside the bay i cant unplug another drive in the same bay)

    also the speed is also halved when accessing multiple drive at the same time, but since the bay cost below 200$ each,it's fine for me

    i agree with ganesh that motherboard vendor should support port multiplier, since they usually use a chipset that already has port multiplier support but its depend on the mobo vendor to enable them or not, i also agree that mediasonic should bundle them with esata card since not many users know that they need additional card if they are using the bay with esata. i even cant get my 2 bay thermaltake to work with my motherboard esata (z68x ud7)
    Reply
  • rahvin - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    I have a request, in future motherboard reviews can you test for port multiplier support? When I bought my current board I had to find the JMicron chip number (using high res images of the motherboard) for the eSATA ports and look at the specs for the chip to find out if the board supported port multipliers because the manual said absolutely nothing about it, and the manufacturer didn't appear to care.

    This is a handy feature and if you guys could list whether the boards support it when you do reviews it would save a lot of time for people that need the capability. The manufacturers don't appear to care about it and it appears it's a feature they aren't even aware exists in some cases (the chip they pick for esata has the capability but it wasn't a feature that had any role in the selection). When it was looking it appeared only about 20% of the eSATA chips had port multiplier capability and it looks like a crap shoot on whether you will get it on board or not. So please add this to a list of feature checks, it a really nice feature.
    Reply
  • Antiflash - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    Quick question for all you storage gurus:
    Can this DAS (or any JBOD DAS) be use as a Storage Pool to create Storage Spaces in Windows 8?
    Reply
  • samsp99 - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    How well this performs with storage spaces would be really interesting. I think you could then use JBOD from the device, and the OS should be able to provide redundancy & mapping all the storage into a large volume so that file management (especially for media) becomes easier.

    Could you follow up with a part 2 when you have an appropriate esata card.
    Reply
  • philipma1957 - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    One question how loud does this run. Since it is right next to the pc I would hear it if it runs loud most 80mm fans are really loud. I had an eight bay rosewill like this with my mac pro. I used a card with 2 esata jacks that were pm. I ran a 4x 2tb raid0 and a second 4x tb raid0. one backed up the other it was fast 250 mb read and write. and since it had 120mm fans it was quiet. I prefer t-bolt pegasus r6 but they cost a lot more. Reply
  • Deptacon - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    Really? How is this an andandtech review? Its awful. Its obvious the reviewer has no grasp of this niche of the market. some of us with experiance with DAS units and enclousures...specifically running multiple drives through esata or USB to a main PC.....could have learned a lot from this. Instead, I ended reading the review with more questions.....

    I will buy and re-review it if Anadtech would like....christ....get someone who actually uses the products next time to review them. Like having an avid die hard android user review the new iPhone....
    Reply
  • Deptacon - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    World wide standard for measuring something is Length, width, height..... not Width length, height like you did. Yet another example of how much of a fail this review was.

    I am buying this product this week. When I get it in....I will write a lenghty review and post it in the forums. Being someone who actually has experiance with esata, port multiplying, and DAS enclosure setups....others like me might find my review I post actually useful.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    I am always striving to improve. It has been quite some time since we carried out a DAS review (I do NAS reviews usually). Please do review the product in the forums and provide the link here (or you can e-mail me too). I will take a look at it and see what other aspects should have been covered.

    In any case, it has been specifically mentioned that once we get hold of a port-multiplier enabled card, we will take another look at the product.
    Reply

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