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post #1 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking for a 4/5 Bay HD Enclosure

To house my media collection. I am currently using multiple 2 terabyte drives in a (single) hot swappable usb 3.0 dock attached to my Win7 box that acts as a media server/share. I use a kodi chromebox as the video source item in my theater room. I have mapped the network shares of the Win 7 box to Kodi and it performs flawlessly. The only downside is having to swap drives. (i.e. One drive is for the latest movies, one is for classics, one is for Demo/Plex stuff). So I am wondering if anyone can recommend an enclosure that would allow me to have access to all of the drives at any given time. I don't care about raid/backups or anything as this is not a permanent collection of media. (I usually delete things after a few months), so I only need the enclosure to show up as a collection of shared folders that will feed my theater room & Plex clients.
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 08:10 AM
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I use MediaSonic enclosures and have been very pleased with them.
They have a nice 4-bay unit for $99 that is USB-3 -- Mediasonic ProBox HF2-SU3S2 4 Bay 3.5" SATA HDD Enclosure - USB 3.0 & eSATA Support SATA 3 6.0Gbps HDD transfer speed. I have 2 of them and will probably buy a third soon.

If you would like to retain the hot-swap capability, they have a $70 4-bay USB-3 docking station that is also really nice -- Mediasonic 4 Bay Dock for 2.5" / 3.5" SATA HDD / SSD - USB 3.0 & eSATA Support 8TB HDD & 6.0Gbps HDD transfer rate

With both of these enclosures, the HDD's appear as separate volumes. If you want them to appear as a single volume you will have to install disk aggregation software on your server -- i.e. FlexRaid storage pooling. But if you still want hot-swap capability, you can't use storage pooling.

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post #3 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I use MediaSonic enclosures and have been very pleased with them.
They have a nice 4-bay unit for $99 that is USB-3 -- Mediasonic ProBox HF2-SU3S2 4 Bay 3.5" SATA HDD Enclosure - USB 3.0 & eSATA Support SATA 3 6.0Gbps HDD transfer speed. I have 2 of them and will probably buy a third soon.

If you would like to retain the hot-swap capability, they have a $70 4-bay USB-3 docking station that is also really nice -- Mediasonic 4 Bay Dock for 2.5" / 3.5" SATA HDD / SSD - USB 3.0 & eSATA Support 8TB HDD & 6.0Gbps HDD transfer rate

With both of these enclosures, the HDD's appear as separate volumes. If you want them to appear as a single volume you will have to install disk aggregation software on your server -- i.e. FlexRaid storage pooling. But if you still want hot-swap capability, you can't use storage pooling.
Thanks for the info! I was actually looking a these two Mediasonic enclosures:
(The one you referred to)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...f_rd_i=desktop

&


http://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-HFR...WBDTHH2SEVY7YB
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post #4 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 09:11 AM
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The HFR2-SU3S2 PRORAID enclosure is also very nice but if I understand your situation correctly, not for you.

With a RAID enclosure you load in all 4 disks of the same size and it sets up the RAID array which requires formatting the disks and wiping out any media data you have on them. Even a RAID 0 array, which has the capacity of all 4 disks, will wipe them clean since it sets up striping. Furthermore, with a RAID 0 array, you lose 1 disk and you lose the whole array so you really would want to use RAID 5 which means only 3 of the 4 HDD's are available for data storage.

So since your disks are already loaded with data you wish to retain, a RAID enclosure is not for you.
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post #5 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 09:13 AM
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Looking for a 4/5 Bay HD Enclosure

I recently got a readynas 104 since it will allow me to dynamically upgrade drives. I was originally going to go with the mediasonic, but it doesn't offer that capability. I do have the non raid version of the mediasonic and haven't had any issues.

The problem as it was stated in previous post is that almost any new RAID enclosure will require you to start from scratch. You won't be able to use your current discs in that RAID since they are not formatted properly.


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post #6 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Gotcha. I appreciate the heads up on the drive formatting. I guess it would be best to start out with clean drives then transfer data to them. I am currently using the WD Green drives, so I need to look at either the Red drives or something else.
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post #7 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 11:08 AM
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Gotcha. I appreciate the heads up on the drive formatting. I guess it would be best to start out with clean drives then transfer data to them. I am currently using the WD Green drives, so I need to look at either the Red drives or something else.

That will likely be your best bet. That is also what I am doing (transferring from old drives/enclosures to NAS).


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post #8 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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That will likely be your best bet. That is also what I am doing (transferring from old drives/enclosures to NAS).


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Are you using the 5400 or 7200 Red drives? (I am just curious if there is a huge difference between the two)
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post #9 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 12:25 PM
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I am currently using the WD Green drives, so I need to look at either the Red drives or something else.
You can use wdidle3 to adjust (disable and or delay) the load cycle value... wdidle3 /d. This will remove excessive head parking which is one of the advantages of using NAS rated drives. At that point I wouldn't worry about using them unless you are using RAID (TLER - being an issue). As the other gentleman I would recommend a low-end NAS in lieu of a USB external cage for a variety of reasons. Nowadays the ReadyNAS RN204 is a sweet spot. Fry's often runs it at $179 and it has 4-bays and will flood your Gigabit network. For a file server it's plenty powerful.
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post #10 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 02:13 PM
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Are you using the 5400 or 7200 Red drives? (I am just curious if there is a huge difference between the two)

Neither, using HGST NAS 4TB drives. Really the lower speed Red drives are variable speed and unless you are doing some serious work you may not see a big difference (I'm guessing you are looking at Red Pro vs Red). For your application you may do OK with the regular Red if you choose those.


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post #11 of 24 Old 03-18-2016, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Neither, using HGST NAS 4TB drives. Really the lower speed Red drives are variable speed and unless you are doing some serious work you may not see a big difference (I'm guessing you are looking at Red Pro vs Red). For your application you may do OK with the regular Red if you choose those.


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I figured as much. I transfer BR iso, bdmv and mkv remux from the usb 3 green drives over the wire to my room and everything has been fine so far.
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post #12 of 24 Old 03-19-2016, 06:15 AM
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Synology makes enclosures that big. Been real happy with my (much smaller) Synology 2-bay. It was also nice to retire the Win Server 2003 box that I'd been using to control it all.

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post #13 of 24 Old 03-19-2016, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Synology makes enclosures that big. Been real happy with my (much smaller) Synology 2-bay. It was also nice to retire the Win Server 2003 box that I'd been using to control it all.
I am using the i5 16ig ram Win7 box because of the processing power. For serving BR media to my room, running Blue Iris and Plex chores. Would it be more prudent to use a nas solution for the room versus using attached storage?
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post #14 of 24 Old 03-19-2016, 07:33 AM
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I use a 5-bay hardware RAID enclosure made by Oyen Digital. It supports hardware JBOD, RAID 0,1,3,5,10 and has USB 3.0, Firewire 400/800, and eSATA connections. It uses the standard JMicron HW RAID management software ( available from Oyen. ) Transfer speeds through USB 3.0 or eSATA are anywhere from 80MB/s to 210MB/s under RAID 5 depending on file size and host system. The only real drawback is that the enclosure settings ( sleep timer ) revert to their defaults when the enclosure is turned off. Windows sharing doesn't " stick " when the enclosure is powered off, so it has to be re-shared when powered up.

Link... http://oyendigital.com/hard-drives/store/3R5-EB3-M.html

It is kind-of expensive at $240 for the box but it is faster than the $500 Drobo it replaced. The box is 10" x 7" x 5", which is pretty small for a 5-bay box. I access the box over my network ( through a networked host PC ) using my Oppo BDP103D Blu-ray player. They also just released a Thunderbolt 2 enclosure but it appears to use software RAID and will retail for $400.

I also have a couple of smaller AMS enclosures that I use for on-the-go storage.

I'm looking at getting a real NAS in the near future. Leaning towards an Asustor 5110 with 10x 6GB HGST NAS drives running in RAID 6. I can put this near my router and do link aggregation.

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post #15 of 24 Old 03-19-2016, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_abbot View Post
I am using the i5 16ig ram Win7 box because of the processing power. For serving BR media to my room, running Blue Iris and Plex chores. Would it be more prudent to use a nas solution for the room versus using attached storage?
That's doing quite a bit more than I do, but the latest Synology boxes (and, I presume, their competitors) sport dual-core processors and other bells & whistles. They can also be used for attached storage, though. Good luck!

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post #16 of 24 Old 03-19-2016, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
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I am using the i5 16ig ram Win7 box because of the processing power. For serving BR media to my room, running Blue Iris and Plex chores. Would it be more prudent to use a nas solution for the room versus using attached storage?
I can see you are leaning towards a NAS solution, but just a couple counterpoints to consider.

Hardware NAS is an expensive overkill for media serving. Media files are static -- they don't change. You don't need continuous live RAID protection. Software based snapshot RAID that updates when you add media to the array is all you need. A consumer grade hardware NAS box is limited to the number of slots it has -- the HDD's all have to be the same size. With a Media-PC/server you can keep plugging in 4 or 8-bay enclosures and add disks to the array 1 at a time mixing sizes as you see fit -- my primary array is currently 10HDD's (26TB). A consumer NAS box may have a DLNA server and the ability to add a Plex server, but it generally won't have the power to transcode anything which limits what you can do with it. My media-PC is i3-based (Win-10) which runs a Plex server, DLNA server and a pair of TiVo servers with plenty of power to transcode for all the under-powered Plex clients on my net.

Just something to consider. You already have the PC set up.

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post #17 of 24 Old 03-19-2016, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I can see you are leaning towards a NAS solution, but just a couple counterpoints to consider.

Hardware NAS is an expensive overkill for media serving. Media files are static -- they don't change. You don't need continuous live RAID protection. Software based snapshot RAID that updates when you add media to the array is all you need. A consumer grade hardware NAS box is limited to the number of slots it has -- the HDD's all have to be the same size. With a Media-PC/server you can keep plugging in 4 or 8-bay enclosures and add disks to the array 1 at a time mixing sizes as you see fit -- my primary array is currently 10HDD's (26TB). A consumer NAS box may have a DLNA server and the ability to add a Plex server, but it generally won't have the power to transcode anything which limits what you can do with it. My media-PC is i3-based (Win-10) which runs a Plex server, DLNA server and a pair of TiVo servers with plenty of power to transcode for all the under-powered Plex clients on my net.

Just something to consider. You already have the PC set up.
Yeah that was my original idea. Just slap an enclosure onto my current machine. Since my chromebox/kodi is doing the heavy lifting (playing BR ISO), I really only need a file share type situation. I think I am gonna pick up one of those MediaSoncic enclosures and just keep it simple.
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post #18 of 24 Old 03-19-2016, 07:18 PM
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Yeah that was my original idea. Just slap an enclosure onto my current machine. Since my chromebox/kodi is doing the heavy lifting (playing BR ISO), I really only need a file share type situation. I think I am gonna pick up one of those MediaSoncic enclosures and just keep it simple.
That is what I do.

Even though everyone says get a NAS, they are expensive when you have to buy everything up front (the NAS unit and all 4 hard drives) in one shot. I also have a Mediasonic 4 bay enclosure and I buy hard drives as I need it. This also lets me buy ever-increasing hard drive capacities without worrying about it not working.
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post #19 of 24 Old 03-20-2016, 08:17 AM
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I have an old Sans Digital 8-bay enclosure sitting in my basement that was used to supply all of my storage needs, it was hooked up to a machine running Window 7. Worked flawlessly once I changed out the eSATA card that came with it for one that was much more reliable.

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post #20 of 24 Old 03-20-2016, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I have an old Sans Digital 8-bay enclosure sitting in my basement that was used to supply all of my storage needs, it was hooked up to a machine running Window 7. Worked flawlessly once I changed out the eSATA card that came with it for one that was much more reliable.

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Nice. I've been wondering if esata would be a better connection than usb3 when it comes to accessing storage.
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post #21 of 24 Old 03-20-2016, 11:27 AM
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Nice. I've been wondering if esata would be a better connection than usb3 when it comes to accessing storage.
In my experience, yes to eSATA.

When using eSATA with a multi-bay enclosure you need an eSATA card with a port multiplier in order to see the multiple disks. The eSATA ports you find that come builtin on PC's generally do not have a port multiplier -- they are good for single eSATA drives like a single drive docking station or single eSATA volumes like an eSATA RAID enclosure.

The Mediasonic eSATA enclosures I cited to you are both USB-3 or eSATA. I have 2 and put a Mediasonic eSATA card in my server. The Mediasonic eSATA card has 2 eSATA ports -- each port supports 4 drives for a total of 8 HDD's and has recent Win-10 drivers that run perfectly. Not all eSATA cards support 8 drives.

The speed of single drive operations is comparable for USB-3 and eSATA. eSATA beats USB-3 when you are copying between 2 HDD's that are in the same enclosure. eSATA drives can be controlled by Win-10 and put to sleep. My server stays on 24x7. I have Win-10 power saving options set to spin down my HDD's after 30 min inactivity. The eSATA drives in the Mediasonic enclosures all go to sleep and spin up on an individual basis when they are addressed. If connected by USB-3, the drives keep spinning as long as the server is running.

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post #22 of 24 Old 03-20-2016, 12:29 PM
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Looking for a 4/5 Bay HD Enclosure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post
I can see you are leaning towards a NAS solution, but just a couple counterpoints to consider.



Hardware NAS is an expensive overkill for media serving. Media files are static -- they don't change. You don't need continuous live RAID protection. Software based snapshot RAID that updates when you add media to the array is all you need. A consumer grade hardware NAS box is limited to the number of slots it has -- the HDD's all have to be the same size. With a Media-PC/server you can keep plugging in 4 or 8-bay enclosures and add disks to the array 1 at a time mixing sizes as you see fit -- my primary array is currently 10HDD's (26TB). A consumer NAS box may have a DLNA server and the ability to add a Plex server, but it generally won't have the power to transcode anything which limits what you can do with it. My media-PC is i3-based (Win-10) which runs a Plex server, DLNA server and a pair of TiVo servers with plenty of power to transcode for all the under-powered Plex clients on my net.



Just something to consider. You already have the PC set up.

Just one correction, the drives don't always have to be the same side. Most of the NAS devices these days have software solution for expandable storage (i.e. In 4bay you can have 2x6TB and 2x4TB). The total available storage will be dependent on the size of the smallest drives, but this allows one to expand at a slower pace without losing data.

For what the OP wants I would agree a simple JBOD enclosure would do fine. Mediasonic is well known and fairly cheap. I've had no issues with the non RAID version I've had in use for the past couple of years.

To the OP don't forget to have a backup of some sort for your data. RAID isn't a substitute for backups and sometimes the pain of losing a drive can be great

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post #23 of 24 Old 03-20-2016, 01:31 PM
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Another plus for esata is that you can use windows spanning if you ever wanted to conbine all your drives into one big drive.
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post #24 of 24 Old 03-20-2016, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ph8te View Post
Just one correction, the drives don't always have to be the same side. Most of the NAS devices these days have software solution for expandable storage (i.e. In 4bay you can have 2x6TB and 2x4TB). The total available storage will be dependent on the size of the smallest drives, but this allows one to expand at a slower pace without losing data.
In most cases I'd recommend against running RAID on a NAS and as such you can use varying sizes (accessible to their maximum size) by creating various Volumes. There is a marked difference between Disks and Volumes with the later being addressed. You can even run RAID on a Volume and JBOD with other Volumes... this way if there is data you always want available you can use RAID and not depend on Snapshots or some such.

Having used both methods I find the user experience far superior when using a NAS. The isolation is a good insulation as far as user error and other possible issues and the various apps such as MySQL Server (great for Kodi) are simply easier to install and maintain. Features like WoL with scheduling are tailored for ease of use and quickly make the experience dedicatedly easy and more valuable.

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