POST A COMMENT

48 Comments

Back to Article

  • repoman27 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    When you guys review USB 3.0 gear, you really need to address whose drivers you are using on the testbed and whether the device is operating in BOT, BOT with oversized payloads, or UASP mode.

    USB without UASP doesn't support queuing, so increasing the queue depths won't make much difference in your results. I'm guessing you were operating in BOT mode with default payload size and that is why eSATA was able to outperform USB 3.0. (And looking at the specs for the JMS539, I don't see any mention of UASP support.)
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Also, most reviews don't mention specifically which USB 3.0 controller is being used, although in this case the board in question only has the integrated Intel controller.

    In the interview with JJ from Asus, he mentioned that memory bandwidth had an impact on Intel integrated USB 3.0 performance. I'm not sure if you have ever seen this borne out in actual testing, but I did note that your testbed was only running DDR3 1333.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    I should have specified this in this review too. But, over here [ http://www.anandtech.com/show/6014/startechcom-usb... ], using the same testbed, we found that UASP is not supported by the Intel PCH's USB3 ports. Only ASMedia supports it right now.

    Further, the JMicron USB3 - SATA bridge supports only BOT specifications, as you have indicated. So, UASP enabled testbeds would probably have not made any difference.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    Supposedly some Asus boards will support UASP on the USB 3.0 ports provided by the Intel PCH using the Asus drivers. [ http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3-uas-turb... ] I believe UASP is also supported for the integrated Intel USB 3.0 controller under Windows 8 and Mac OS X.

    Even using BOT though, increasing the maximum transfer length can have a considerable impact on sequential performance. So I wonder if your numbers are at the upper end for the Probox, or if it still had another 20-25% to go under USB 3.0 given the right conditions.

    At this juncture, directly comparing benchmarks of USB 3.0 storage solutions is a total crap-shoot because there are so many variables and almost every site reviewing gear glosses over a fair number of the details.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Ok I have not finished reading the article yet, but I *have* to say something.

    What do you mean there were no such issues with USB 3.0 in relation to your eSATA port multiplication issues ? This makes you the reviewer sound clueless. PM support always depended on very few specific Intel, Jmicron, and now I suppose Marvell chip sets to work..

    Just to clarify This is a failing in your motherboard(s) or discrete eSATA controller cards. Not the fault of the enclosure. .
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Sorry, I said Intel Chip sets, where I meant Silicon image chip sets. Silicon image 3114, and 3132 chip sets where provided on a very few motherboards back in the Core2Duo days. A few generations of motherboards before ABIT dropped out of the motherboard business.

    At any rate. Addonics has made/sold PM capable controller cards for years.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    When I specificed 'USB 3.0 had no such issues', I meant that I was able to access all the drives in the enclosure without experiencing BSODs unlike the eSATA case. I think all our readers know enough to understand that USB 3.0 has no port multiplication feature :)

    Yes, I have mentioned that it is a problem of the eSATA ports of most systems out there, and I have also mentioned that Mediasonic should have bundled one of those eSATA cards capable of seeing 8 drives through the eSATA port. Otherwise, they end up with customer service threads like the one here : http://forum.mediasonic.ca/viewtopic.php?f=27&...
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    "I think all our readers know enough to understand that USB 3.0 has no port multiplication feature :)"

    This is not what I was saying. My point was that technically, the eSATA issues you had, was all the fault of the hardware you used to connect to the tower. E.G. your motherboards. But it looked like you were saying that Mediasonic's eSATA implementation was bad. Which is very likely not the case. No use in lamenting over a controller card not being included. As when you purchase such a device. You had better know what you're getting into, and you should already know this.

    This is the problem with multiple drive eSATA technology. It is complicated, convoluted, and in general half baked from conception compared to other technologies. However, do not get me wrong, I personally was very interested in eSATA PM technology from the start 5+ years ago. From specification to end user product however. It rarely pans out very well. Unless you spend boatloads of cash. Where you have to ask yourself "why eSATA instead of SAS, or ( insert other external drive technology here )..

    With everything above said. I think that manufactures should just leave eSATA out of the mix, and pass the savings onto us. the consumers. USB3 is not great, but it is good enough and flexible. Thunderbolt I think could be a great option too. If someone were to make say a 4 SATA drive to Thunderbolt bridge device.

    As for the "bad customer service thread thing". I think you would find that with many, many eSATA implementations. Even the single drives ones. Have many issues. Where drives suddenly drop offline, experience terrible speeds. ETC,ETC. This is why yours truly completely opted out of eSATA entirely, and went with USB3.
    Reply
  • tuxRoller - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    I interpreted the author as saying that the problem lay in the side of the motherboard companies making it too difficult to determine if their esata chip is multi-port aware. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Yeah I got that. However, I like you recognized the authors um . . . obvious inexperience with the given technology.

    You *do not* go out and test equipment like this without having the proper support hardware as well. Complaining, whining, or otherwise crying about hardware not included is simply inexcusable.

    The things you, and I both know. Is that port multiplier technology does not work without the proper controller chip set period. Sometimes, with the right equipment, you *can* perhaps access RAID arrays previously setup by a system that did have the right controller chip set. However, that array has to have previously been setup with an appropriate SI controller( or equivalent ). It is miraculous that the reviewer was even able to see even a single drive. Let alone all drives one at a time. If I understood what was written correctly. Granted, a few Addonics products can / do this for the user through hardware switches. . .

    You know this. I know this. The difference between you and I however. Is that you have actual hands on experience with the hardware / technology. I on the other hand have no hands on experience. Just a lot of reading over the past several years ( since the specification was released ). As eSATA PM technology has always been of interest to me.

    The point being here. Is that if someone can have knowledge of something without laying hands on actual hardware. There is no reason why a reviewer ( hopefully someone with some expertise ) should not as well.

    @ Ganesh

    Take this as a learning experience Ganesh. Not a slight. With a little more preparation, research, then perhaps willingness to work with the given hardware. Us readers could have learned more, and we could have had a proper review of the given product. As it stand, personally I feel like your review is incomplete.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Er, heh sorry TuxRoller. I mistook you for another person. My mistake. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Heh, no problem:) Reply
  • heron_kusanagi - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    And using a eSATA PCI-e card that supports port multiplier. I say that this HDD enclosure will really do well with a bundled eSATA PCI-e card. At least saves some hassle from the consumer side. Although USB 3.0 will solve that issue somewhat, I suppose. Still, this is a nice way to expand the HDD storage of local systems. Reply
  • sheh - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    What do people do with these things, I wonder. If it had a network interface in addition, then alright. But even then, for the price these things sell, you might just as well get a PC. More flexible, too. Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Try getting a 8-bay NAS for around $300 :) And try assembling a PC with this low power footprint when 8 drives are added. In addition, it is not straightforward to have the drives attached to a PC be visible as a set of drives for another PC (which is the point of this gadget - a direct attached storage unit) Reply
  • bigboxes - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Straightforward for who? AnandTech readers? I have a 9 drive file server (one for the os and 8 for the files to be shared). It's hooked up to the a gigabit switch and then shared with all my home's PCs. I map all of the drives I wish to share on a particular pc. Not too complicated. It's my old A64 box. It's got 2gb of ram and more than enough horsepower to serve up files. I use a Seasonic psu that is not stressed in the least. Quiet and quite flexible. I use a couple of SATA2 pci cards to hook up all the drives. When I have trouble it's easy to troubleshoot the issue. Reply
  • Lonyo - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    I'll get back to you hopefully next week when my Celeron G530 (to be underclocked) on an mATX mobo with 8 SATA ports is ready and set up.

    Rather than challenging the readers to do this, shouldn't you as the reviewer be considering it, and actually exploring the possibilities?
    Reply
  • Lonyo - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Oh, and total cost for an 8 bay mATX case ($25), G530 ($50), motherboard ($80), RAM ($20), and then $50 for a low wattage 80+ PSU gives you a total of around $225 for an 8-bay box that can also have even more storage added through PCI/PCIe controller cards, as well as USB drives being connected to it. Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Guys,

    Everyone is talking about a NAS here, while I was talking about a DAS. Do you have a 8-bay PC which can be connected to another PC and have all the 8 bays visible over a eSATA or USB port?

    The whole intent is to have storage which can be taken from PC to PC without disassembling, and operating at the max. bandwidth provided by USB 3 or eSATA. With all your solutions, you can either access the drives at full bandwidth only on that host PC or on another PC through a GbE link limited by many other factors.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    People use these things to have potentially flexible, fast and economical storage.

    Sure it can be more complex to setup. But power consumption wise. It will almost certainly win over a NAS. Which in turn relates to the never ending cost of the device running over time. It will almost always be faster, and can be just as bit as flexible as a NAS. Although, a network not withstanding. Can only connect to one system at a time.

    It all really boils down to taste, and thought process put into your final objective.
    Reply
  • cdbob - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    I built an NAS using the G530 and it works great. The best value for money you could get. Reply
  • Deptacon - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    I have 16TB's of data spread across 8 drives..... this is plug and play from one machine, and frees up room in my machine....thats what these are for. Reply
  • PommieB - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Bit disappointed in this review, especially the lack of knowledge about eSata and Port Multiplication, I've run eSata and multiple enclosures for at least 5 or so years, I've had little or no problems using them, I'm running this particular enclosure connected to a Asus M70 laptop with no problems at all, it runs via a PM aware Addonics eSata expresscard without problems, the expresscard has a SIL3132 chip, something I checked prior to buying this particular enclosure, never had blue screens with esata, but then I do the research beforehand, something the reviewer should have done in the first place, I don't have USB3.0, so far I haven't needed it.

    All I can say, for the price these enclosures work well and so does the eSata, that's if you understand PM and know what your doing, same goes for eSata.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    The introduction section mentioned that a PM link needs to be used. However, not many users realize that their board's eSATA port most probably doesn't support port multipliers.

    One of the aims of this review was to educate the readers about this issue. Just trying to make sure that readers have a proper PM supporting eSATA port before expecting eSATA to work in this unit.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Well then. Educate the readers who need it. But not at the expense of a product you are reviewing.

    I completely agree with the OP here on this thread. Which is why you saw my post on the first page.
    Reply
  • overanalysis - Thursday, August 09, 2012 - link

    PommieB,

    are you saying the expresscard using the sil3132 will add the multiport function to your labtop even if the chip set on mobo doesn't have it. I have xps 1640 w/ ICH9 chipset that doesn't support port mulitiplier. I have a 4 bay probox that does not have PM controller in it. I was going to going to use a usb 3 espresscard but would prefer to use the esata if I could.
    Reply
  • PureHazard - Saturday, August 11, 2012 - link

    Yes, he's saying exactly that. The Sil3132 will have a port multiplier enabling you to see up to 8 hard drives via eSATA. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    I'd be curious how a linux distro (fedora, say) handles this setup. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Heh, I'm thinking you'd have better luck asking for openSolaris advice on this site . ..

    but freenode.irc -> ##fedora perhaps ?
    Reply
  • tuxRoller - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    I suppose you are referring to their zfs coverage?
    Fedora, or something like RHEL storage, should be able to handle this easily using lvm2 + whatever fs you like.
    Mainly, though, I'm curious about the usb3 performance comparison. Linux has had usb 3 support for ages, and driver quality for windows can be quite variable for usb3.
    Reply
  • rahvin - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    It's been my experience that if there are drivers in Linux (and these days there almost always is) then they absolutely smoke windows for reliability and quality. The advantage of Linux is that you don't have low bid foreign programmers building drivers in as little time as possible with absolutely no QC like you do in windows. Almost all windows BSOD (or GSOD depending on windows version) is the result of bad drivers. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    Been running USB3 on Windows7 enterprise x64 now for 6-8 months. First, on a laptop through expresscard, and now naively on a laptop that has it on the motherboard.

    Two different systems, two completely different platforms(1 Intel, 1 AMD ). No issues what-so-ever.

    No hands on with Linux and USB3, but I have to call BS on your performance comment. Having been using Linux in some form or another since the late 90's, I hear / see this kind of comment all the time. With no substantial proof to back it up.

    Plus I have done tons of my own performance testing to boot. Using iSCSI, AoE, Samba, and NFS. On both software platforms. It all came down to very similar performance on both platforms. This is also where I ran into a lot of stability issues with Ubuntu. E.G. Some of the software I was using was very obviously not ready for prime time on Ubuntu. Even though Ubuntu was at the time the most advanced Debian flavored Distro.

    So, you see I could say the exact same about Linux. If I wanted to.However, I wont. Simply because I know that the software was not ready for that platform at the given time. Even though it was touted as being ready. This was also more than a couple years ago. I am sure things have improved at least somewhat since then.

    Now days, knowing what I know. I would probably bypass Linux for this purpose all together. And jump straight into openSolaris. That would be my own choice though.
    Reply
  • rahvin - Thursday, August 09, 2012 - link

    [blockquote]Even though Ubuntu was at the time the most advanced Debian flavored Distro.[/blockquote]

    Wow, that says it all right there doesn't it. I'd be surprised if you understand the difference between the kernel and distribution or performance versus stability and quality given that comment.

    Try starting with this thought, Linux is the Kernel. GNU/Linux is the base GPL system that makes up the base system environment and userland (an alternative to this would be Android with a different system and base written from scratch by google on top of a Linux kernel). A distribution is a combination of GNU/Linux system and userland along with a multitude of other software with varying amounts of free software but typically comprising the X-Window system and a selection of standard FOSS applications though certain distributions include proprietary or non-free components. Ubuntu has NEVER been "the most advanced Debian distribution" unless you are creating your own definition of advanced that doesn't match the standard definition.

    Installing Linux and playing around with it for five minutes every now and then doesn't mean you've done anything but experiment with it. I'm by no means an expert but I've been running a Linux system continuously since about 1998. In that time I've had one kernel oops (the rough equivalent of a windows BSOD) and that was due to me screwing up a kernel replacement. In that same time period on other systems I've had a multitude of windows BSOD's. I've never encountered a situation where a closed source windows driver was better in any way than an open source driver in Linux and I doubt anyone ever has. In fact Valve recently discovered that their Source Engine designed and built for Windows and DirectX performed better on Linux with FOSS drivers in OpenGL and in fact was something like 40% faster.
    Reply
  • bobbozzo - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    OpenFiler Linux works with PM SATA, depending on the host controller, of course. Reply
  • PubFiction - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    In reality most of the many of the devices are both DAS and NAS. But at the same time I think that NAS still makes alot more sense. The type of people who are using that much data are usually interested in serving it to more than 1 machine, be it a media center, small company, family etc.... I think that in reality DAS was just a relic of all those people who did not have a network or had no idea how to set them up. But as time went on routers with 4 wired / 4 wireless connections became unavoidable and people who now connected xboxes, phones, tablets and everything else to thouse routers have now become used to that process. Now they just dont have much of a need for DAS. And I thin that trend will continue unless networks fall very far behind in bandwidth and somehow the content generated sky rockets. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    Just because the DAS only connects to one system, does not mean that it can not be shared over a network.

    Key points in favor of DAS over a NAS are flexibility, performance, and power consumption. Not necessarily in that order.

    A DAS could also be used to expand on an already full NAS for that matter . . . This is how SAS, iSCSI, and a lot of other external drives can be / are used.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    I guess it depends on the user, but I don't see this as being useful. I built a cheap Windows Home Server box, with 6 SATA ports, for less than $200 (using a few spare parts), and have used drive extender to easily add storage space over the years. It acts as a media server (via Serviio), and automatically backs up 6 PCs in the house. I can access files from the internet as well. I can add external USB hard drives to expand the storage pool as well, so there's room to add more drives beyond the 6 SATA port on the motherboard. Reply
  • ypsylon - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    And I have no more interest in this. Probably worst storage chipset ever created. Furthermore who need 8 bay JBOD enclosure? No redundancy, just buy bigger case if you need so many HDDs without any protection. And those plastic handles. C'mon plastic!?! Tiny bit of aluminum wouldn't hurt. Like many of such enclosures it is cheap to the extreme - Chinese copy of a copy of a copy. Nobody really knows who is the author of this design.

    As for opinion (above) that DAS is a relic and NAS is more logical choice. LOL have you ever tried to copy TBs of data every single day over Ethernet? Obviously not. I don't need network, but I do copy plethora of things each day. I would die of boredom while waiting if I used (even 10Gb) NAS. DAS all the way on my front but with NICs at the back if sometimes network is needed.

    Both DAS and NAS have space on the market, but both are completely pointless when no redundancy is present (excluding of course single drive mobile enclosures ;) ).
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    I agree with you on the NAS / DAS comment above lol.

    Anyhow not trying to talk you into liking this tower. But read newegg reviews on it. Some people actually seem to like the plastic case door etc. While others hate it. But I do agree with you.

    Another thing I do not like about it is that it is a single wide tower. In my own humble opinion, this is retro, or just old. Sure these could fit into a 1U rack, but why not come up with something new ? Like a double wide ( heh ) 4 bay high tower ? Personally, I would find that more attractive If this is done, then you open up a whole new area of cooling options. 1-2x 120mm fans in the front . . .etc etc.

    Yeah anyway. I dont know. it seems people in the industry have lost, or never had any imagination.
    Reply
  • PureHazard - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    The plastic handles are meant to dampen the noise from hard drive vibration after being squeezed in by the metal swing door. I would assume aluminum handles wouldn't make sense for noise reduction.

    As for it being cheap, this is a Taiwanese made enclosure that's built by Hotway (as mentioned in the review if you cared to read it properly) and as sturdy any enclosure from a tier one manufacturer.

    These 4 and 8 bay DAS enclosures complement existing servers and things like prebuilt WHS machines fairly well.
    Reply
  • 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

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now