Installation & Use
Installing the hard drives was as easy as simply screwing them to the trays and dropping the trays into the device. I powered it up and connected it via eSATA and, later, USB.
There are several storage modes under which the MobileSTOR MS2UT+B can operate. This diagram from the manual illustrates them in an easy-to-understand way.
The BIG section uses LBA concatination, combining the drives and using up space as it is requested. FAST is striping, or RAID0, in which bits of data are separated between the hard drives, decreasing the access time for the data. SAFE is mirroring, or RAID1, which writes bits of data to both drives in an effort to prevent data loss in the event one drive fails. The SAFE33 and SAFE50 special modes combine the BIG and SAFE logically to create two storage areas-one which is protected against failure and one which has less important data. The last mode is JBOD, in which the two drives are directly exposed to the operating system.
The SteelVine Manager is a desktop application which can be used instead of the LCD and rear dial to set up the drive. Fortunately, there is a version of this application available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. No source, though, and the application looks terrible on my installation of Ubuntu Linux.
One can see and alter the storage configuration and event logs, and even set up a mail alert when something happens.
For benchmarking, I used HD Tune Pro on Windows XP 64-bit. I tested only with USB2.0 because Windows could not detect the unit via eSATA (but the BIOS and Linux could). If I am able to coax Windows to behave after this review is published, I will post the results in the ThinkComputers forums.
RAID0 - FAST
Read - 26.1 MBps average, 57.6% CPU usage, 14.6 ms access time
Write - 25.2 MBps average, 54.1% CPU usage, 14.8 ms access time
RAID1 - SAFE
Read - 23.6 MBps average, 12.4% CPU usage, 15.5 ms access time
Write - 24.1 MBps average, 13.6% CPU usage, 15.0 ms access time
LBA - BIG
Read - 23.7 MBps average, 51.6% CPU usage, 14.7 ms access time
Write - 24.9 MBps average, 52.5% CPU usage, 14.5 ms access time
The results were fairly consistent, hovering around 24 MBps (196 Mbps) for all operations. The speed did increase when using the FAST RAID0 storage mode, but not significantly.
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