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Mediasonic HFR2-S3B Pro RAID Box 4 Bay 3.5IN SATA Drive RAID 0/1/3/5/10 Black USB2.0 eSATA Firewire

Mediasonic HFR2-S3B Pro RAID Box 4 Bay 3.5IN SATA Drive RAID 0/1/3/5/10 Black USB2.0 eSATA Firewire - 1
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Mediasonic HFR2-S3B Pro RAID Box 4 Bay 3.5IN SATA Drive RAID 0/1/3/5/10 Black USB2.0 eSATA Firewire - 36224_l.jpg Mediasonic HFR2-S3B Pro RAID Box 4 Bay 3.5IN SATA Drive RAID 0/1/3/5/10 Black USB2.0 eSATA Firewire - 36224_1.jpg Customer Photos (0)
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Part #: HFR2-S3B

SKU: 36224
Shipping Weight: 4 lbs
Shipping estimate: $5.99*
*Via NCIX selected courier.


exceptional product

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Richard_T May 19, 2009 04:43 PM Reply | Bookmark
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This is one sweet raid box.

Recently I sold my Drobo on Craigs list and needed a simple raid system to replace it. I've been researching all the competing products and the popularity of these small esata raid boxes are on the rise except most of them needs a pci-e card and since I own a shuttle, a pci-e is not an option.

It was with trepidation that I picked up this raid box since it may not work with my standard esata port; however since it had usb2 as well as both firewire 400 and 800, I figure at least one of the ports should work.

Since I'm a computer geek, I didn't bother to read the cd manual. however after fiddling around for a good 15 minutes and not seeing the drive, I finally read the htm manual that told me to set the dip switches for the number of drives inserted. Once I did that, the error light went off. However, I still didn't see the drive under esata, so I plugged in my next option which was the USB cable.
Plugging the usb in the back of the shuttle gave me a driver not found msg so I tried the front which identified it as a mass storage device. I then proceeded to format it and the unit came up as drive F:

Copying a 7.16GB file via USB gave me a transfer rate of 30MB/s which is standard for USB.

Knowing that the unit is formatted and accessible, I decided to try esata again as this is the deal breaker on whether I keep or return the unit

Powered off the shuttle, plugged esata in and powered on. Normally the ICH9R esata port is hot swappable however you need a drive on that port when it boots up for other drives to be hot swapped.

The bios gave me a port 5 error, but after Vista booted up, I watched windows proceeded to install the esata drivers for the drive.

Success. The drive came back up as drive F: but running under esata now. I proceeded to copy another 7.81GB of data over to the drive and got a whooping 81MB/s speed as though the drive was local and internal.

So for the final test..... I have 15GB of data on 3x500MB wd drives. While I was browsing the files.... I yanked one of the drives out..... There was no hesitation, the directory was still accessible.

I pushed the drive back in and the lights immediately began to blink "rebuild". Drive bay 3 was also blinking indicating the drive that was being rebuilt on.

During the rebuild, I decided to copy another 7.41 GB file over to the unit to see what the performance hit would be. Not too bad as it only dropped to USB speeds of 30MB/s.

At the moment, I'm waiting for the rebuild to complete. So I'll post back once that is done.

For what it is worth, this is better then Drobo, much quicker and even the power cable connects better then drobo. This is quality at a cheap price.

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Hawk 1 May 19, 2009 05:46 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Every time I see a front view picture of this thing, I think its a dishwasher

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Kleezy May 19, 2009 06:02 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Richard_T May 19, 2009 06:59 PM Reply | Bookmark
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don't let the dishwasher look fool you. It is actually very tiny. The width of the thing is exactly the width of a hard drive 5" and the height is 6.5" giving a slight gap between drives to breath. In comparison to the drobo, the drives actually get stuck in Drobo due to the heat. At a glance the unit almost looks like one of those WD bookshelf dual hd; however I have heard that it will support up to 2TB drives, but definitely 1.5TB drives are supported as mentioned by the NCIX sales guy. With so much TB in such a small footprint, it feels like a novelty item rather then a serious raid drive.
I do have a small complaint and that is I cannot see the status of the rebuild. It has been working since I left the house to pick up another two WD 1TB green drives from NCIX (last day for their sale).
Normally when I power down the computer, the Mediasonic powers down with it (sleep mode). However with raid 5 being rebuilt, the unit remained on when I powered down the computer. After I got home, the raid was still being rebuilt, so I powered it off anyways and powered it back up before I boot up my computer. The unit resumed rebuilding.
All files on drive F: remain accessible after booting up. For some reason, port 5 is still giving me a port error but the unit does connect without any problems.
Once the rebuild is done, I'll try unbinding the raid into single drives to see how that would look in Vista and whether I can see individual drives with an ICH9R chipset controller which claims that it has a port multiplier.
It is unnerving to see blinking lights but not know what the unit is doing.

I think I'll read the 6 page manual to see if I missed anything

This message was modified by the poster at 05 19, 2009 07:45 PM

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Richard_T May 19, 2009 07:10 PM Reply | Bookmark
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well.... guys just poke around until the unit either sqeals or moans

Ok not too shabby, rebuild is done.... approx 2 hours 15 minutes. Lights have stopped blinking and the little unit is clicking away for some reason.. so now on to the individual drive test.... then the final 4x1TB test in which I'll fill it up with data tonight.

This message was modified by the poster at 05 19, 2009 07:55 PM

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Richard_T May 19, 2009 09:44 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Ran into several brick walls.... nothing unsurmountable but after owning a Drobo, I have fears of 4 blinking lights....

One of the reason that I'm providing a detail review is that I was searching for info for several days on the MediaSonic Raid and found none. I'm taking a gamble on this little system to provide me with an optimum cheap raid system; nothing fancy, no web server, no apps running, just simply a raid with 4TB of hard disk and 3TB usable.

The MediaSonic gave me the optional USB/firewire connector that makes it portable without tying it to one system, the system that has the pci-e card that most of these esata raid depends on.

So even though I read the html manual throughly, all 6 pages of it, apparently I missed a few fine points. For one, I kept trying to get the unit to span across 3 disk drives and it kept coming up with error.

After several minutes I was able to see the unit, but I only had 500MB of space. Thinking that it might be possible that since I switch from Raid 5 to Spanning that there might be some remnants of data or partition blocks on them that is preventing the unit from creating a span disk, I took each drive out and threw them one by one on my nexstar docking station to erase any partition on them, then re-insert  them into the the unit and rebooted.

After many minutes of re-building and blinking error lights, I manage to span across 2 out of 3 of the drives; with the error light still on. So I gave up.

So I took all the test drives out, and ripped open 4 brand new 1TB WD green drives. Carefully I insert ed each disk into the unit. Then I remember that I had to set the dip switches back to 4 drives, however the settings are on the cd manual in which the computer is now off. There are no diagrams on the back of the unit to tell you the dip settings.

This is where I happen to actually read the chart, apparently you cannot stripe or span 3 drives.....

So here is the other kicker.... you cannot set the unit to read 4 separate drives. They do make another unit similar to this one in which I believe you can read 4 separate drives independantly, but not this one. The unit combines all the drives into one logical volume in which you only see one volume period.

Now I had this sinking feeling that something was about to go wrong after insert ing 4x1TB drives on the unit. I reboot Vista and had the unit connected via esata. The unit initialized into raid 5 in only a few seconds and I immediately saw it in the disk management. Only problem was.... only 768MB was available!!

I began planning on how I was to return this unit without being dinged for the 15% restocking fee. "you told me that this unit would support 1.5TB drives!! and I'm only using 1TB drives"

After a little thought, I remember the same problem I had with my p5n mobo; it might be the mobo esata controller that is not recognizing the extra MB. So I powered everything down, connected the USB cable and powered up. Sure enough, the unit under disk management came up with 2794.27 GB free. I formatted it as 2.794.27 GB and shut down the computer again so I can replug my esata cable to see if once the drive has been formatted as 2.8 TB, will it remain 2.8TB with esata.

The bios reported that only a 768MB drive was attached....

However windows does report under ESATA that 2.8TB is available.

I'm not sure if esata is workable at this point though, even if it reports 2.8TB, it might croak after writing 768 MB. At this moment I'm filling the unit with data and keeping an eye on the both the speed and whether it can handle greater then 768MB.

So now all you computer geeks know what to do with this unit when you take it home.

I'll report back later on, on what happened with the fake 2.8TB esata unit. If it makes it past 768 MB.... I'll be extremely happy.

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Richard_T May 20, 2009 08:24 AM Reply | Bookmark
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last words on this unit. I've copied well over a Terabyte of data using teracopy with speeds up to 105MB/s, all verified by "beyond compare" as valid by comparing the source and the target.
I did a quick chkdsk this morning, holding my breath, as I expected that it might be invalid directory structure, but chkdsk turned out fine.
All in all, it is exactly what I had expected from this device; a raid device that powers up with your computer and powers down to sleep when your computer is off.
This device, in terms of simplicity, feels solid; it is a hardware external esata raid. No web server, no itunes, no apps.
- extremely small form factor 6.5 inches by 5 inches
- seems to work on a standard esata. no pci/pci-e card needed.
- supports 1.5 and I heard somewhere that 2TB drives are supported
- supports usb2, esata, firewire 400/800, so you may need to alternate between usb and esata to get esata working. Windows reports 768MB free with esata, where-as luckily it reports 2.8TB with usb.
- exceptional speeds up to 105MB/s with esata. Avg speeds hoovers around 50 to 90 MB/s depending on the file size.
- single cable access to your data
- it is a exceptional method to get 2.8TB cheaply.
- simplicity. Think of it as almost an internal raid. no bells or whistles. Just Raid.

- your standard sata connector on your mobo may have a hard time understanding this unit as I get port 5 reset error and msgs like 768MB during boot up. however once it has booted up, it seems to recognize the fact that it has 2.8TB on it.
- not expandable. Data on it must be moved off and the the drives replaced.
- not a NAS device, but you can connect this to another PC and share it on the network through a gigabit lan. Droboshare speeds were only 11MB/s.
- single volume presented to windows. Although you can partition it into separate volumes under windows, it is not recommended by mediasonic. Thus 4TB raid 5 presents itself as a 2.8TB USB mass storage device.
- not quite user friendly. Although the unit rebuilds and restructures the drives automatically, it is controlled by a mode button on the front panel followed by a accept button (hidden behind a plastic panel) that you hold down on the back until the unit powers off. The next time you power up, the raid selection is selected and the drives are formatted accordingly. Be sure to read the chart on what raid is supported with different # of drives.

This message was modified by the poster at 05 20, 2009 09:13 AM

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Ronald_K Jun 08, 2009 06:59 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Thank you very very much for such a detailed description of your adventures with the unit!

I too am looking for a RAID5 DAS for my data,
and am quite smitten with DROBO.

I am an IT guy, so the ease of RAID management doesn't really apply to me,
I do plan to insert  4x 2TB HDD's into it at the same time, and just leave it at that!

So, what made you sell your DROBO on cragslist?

Was it slow?
Did you try firewire800 connection? with the DROBO and it is still slow?

at $399AR, DROBO seems like a good deal :)

This unit, too, after hearing your success story, is quite attractive as well!


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Richard_T Jun 09, 2009 02:21 PM Reply | Bookmark
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Drobo is a USB device 30MB/s and firewire 800 dedicated pci card doesn't make it any faster the 35 MB/s. Combined with Droboshare it drags the unit speed down to 11-16MB/s.

Now the speed isn't the worse part of it. It is the fact that I've lost whole directories (30GB) of data from moving from one directory to another (drag and drop) due to window's permissions combined with drobo's linux permission. The whole directory simply disappears after window prompts you that one of the files in the directory is in use and you click cancel. This is one of many major issues in the drobo forums.

The major major issue is the total loss. With the recent problems with seagates delay write problem, what happens with drobo is that when one drive is flagged as bad, it starts to move all the parity bits (if any) over to the remaining drives. Now guess what happens when one of the remaining drives has a delay write error; we get a message from drobo that too many drives have been removed and you get 4 blinking lights. This happens overnight and very suddenly with no prompt and no recourse in copying off your data. The system is no longer accessible.

Now if you are lucky, drobo might send you a firmware that will allow you mount all the drives (supposingly as read only) however, from reading on the drobo forum, the drive begins rebuilding immediately anyways, so making it impossible to copy data off the device; somewhere in the neighborhood of 500K/s.

This automatic rebuild is a death sentence for your data. Even as lucky as I was with 1TB WD drives with no problems whatsoever, I still had power cable issues that the cord would fall off with a slight push of the device on my desk, firewire cable that wouldn't plug in due to the collar on the cable and the plastic cutout on the drobo. The drives were stacked so tightly together that the drives became permanently fused into the case. Picutres on the drobo forum showed one user with a melted front panel due to the heat.

Bottom line was that I didn't trust Drobo at all. The forums are filled with complaints with no tech support on the forums. The answer from DRI was always contact tech support via phone, and guess what.... if you have a brand new drobo that doesn't work.... and you send it in... you get back in return a refurbished drobo; I kid you not.

Lastly... the drobo forums are private.... and I now know the answer why; to hide the truth from the world that Drobo isn't ready...

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NCIX Forum Messages

Please note that Forums is not a sales or product support board. For sales or specific product related questions, please send message to receive the fastest response.

Messages about Mediasonic HFR2-S3B Pro RAID Box 4 Bay 3.5IN SATA Drive RAID 0/1/3/5/10 Black USB2.0 eSATA Firewire

Dont go cheap on Raid (Tom_P- Sep 29, 11, 6 Replies)
be careful with your data.... (Richard_T- Sep 29, 11, 5 Replies)
Warning on Mediasonic HFR2-S3B Pro (Richard_T- Sep 09, 11, 13 Replies)
4 Seagate 1.5TB drives, ok on this? (Ciao- Aug 20, 10, 34 Replies)
Ever on sale? (luv- Apr 30, 10, 0 Replies)
Raid 5? (Kris.M.R.T- Jan 14, 10, 3 Replies)
2.8TB limit? (Braden- Nov 30, 09, 1 Replies)
Which to get for backing up data. (D.G.- Nov 19, 09, 7 Replies)
How to get this to recognize as separate disks on (ottawaronin- Nov 18, 09, 4 Replies)
SATA I not II? (Justin H- Oct 05, 09, 3 Replies)
Website for manual (Jason_M- Jul 30, 09, 2 Replies)
JBOD Support (sideshow018- Jun 23, 09, 2 Replies)
Does this thing support JBOD (Tom_N- Jun 22, 09, 3 Replies)

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Forum messages are not reviewed and may not contain accurate information about a product. Message contents are opinions from customers based on their own experience with a product. We do not recommend you make puchasing decisions based on Forum messages.
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