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Mac Pro migration: Solved a problem, saved a lot of time.
on 7 July 2015
This review is for the Hornettek Enterprise 4x Quad version. The enclosure served a very specific purpose for me; Having upgraded from a Mac Pro 2,1 [Cheese-grate] to a new Mac Pro 2013 [Watney's Party 7] I had the issue of transferring data from 4 internal HDs to a new home. This box saved lots of time in doing so. With the limits of the new Apple regime of USB 3 or Thunderbolt only; I had to get round the problem of using Target mode transfers or buying several adapters for my legacy Firewire external boxes. Dropping four drives at a time into this unit saved multiple reboots and external box installations.
I think there will b limits to how I use it in the future as there are some quirks to this box which means I will probably not rely on it for primary use. It might be my set up or an anomaly of the Mac OS with USB 3.0, but I do not find the 'Hot Swap' function to work. Un-mounting a single drive and removing it provoked the 'Not Ejected Properly' warning for all other volumes. I even get this when un-mounting all the drives, as soon as one is pulled from the bus a warning message comes up. The only way of removing a drive physically is to unmount and power down, which in my books; does not constitute a 'Hot Swap'
It's a mix of styles too. The brushed metal body and flush window in front of the indicator LEDs shows an attention to detail from the Industrial Design department that evidences that they have seen the Mac Pro and are tipping their caps in that direction, but the plastic mounts for the drives feel a bit unrefined and lightweight in comparison. It is also a bit of a bugger to pick up, there is no way to lift it with one hand, and the textured metal shows up dusty fingerprints very easily. The oddest thing is a manual adjustment on the back panel for the cooling fan. It runs from a very quiet tick-over to something approaching a hand-drier. It is, perhaps, a bit unfair to quantify the impact of its fan noise in a studio which has a new Mac Pro in the middle; [this computer makes the energy saving lightbulbs hum noticeable] but the adjustment on my drive enclosure has a sweet-spot, setting at the highest level is too loud to accommodate without the aid of a server cabinet, but setting at minimum makes the ticking of bearings noticeable. for my unit; approximately 25% from base gives a whisper from the blades but is fast enough for the bearings to hum subtly rather than buzz. If you have fairly active office environment this is probably academic, however, I will not be running this while eating video and I would not use it as a media server unless it was located remotely from the playback devices. If I ever get time, I might hack it and put a quieter fan in.
I noticed on a number of other reviews that there have been issues with USB hubs and such. While this has not been an issue in my own set-up I have had a couple of occasions where changing a device in a USB hub has unmounted the HornetTek mounted drives, but I would qualify that in saying a couple of other external drives also ejected and remounted at the same time - making me suspect this is an issue of daisy chaining on USB 3.0 rather than a bug in the hardware.
Bottom line for me; while this isn't a Drobo or Netgear array, for around £80, it's a great value solution for mounting a bunch of drives with just one power lead. I have started thinking of it as a bridging technology between a drive dock and a RAID.