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Item#: N82E16822240089

Drobo Direct Attached Storage - 4 bay array - USB3 and Thunderbolt ports - Designed for portability (DR-MINI-1A21)

  • DR-MINI-1A21
  • 2 x Thunderbolt ports; second port for daisy chaining Thunderbolt devices (Mac OS X only)
  • 1 x USB 3.0 port
  • 2.5"

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  • Overview
  • Specifications
  • Warranty & Returns
  • Reviews

Learn more about the Drobo DR-MINI-1A21




Port USB
1 x USB3.0
HDD Interface
4 x SATA (4 x Bay)
Port Others
2 x Thunderbolt ports; second port for daisy chaining Thunderbolt devices (Mac OS X only)


Form Factor


Up to four (4) 2.5" SATA I / II / III hard disk drives or solid state drives that are between 7 mm and 9 mm in height (sold separately) and one (1) mSATA solid state drive in the Drobo Accelerator Bay for increased performance

Drives of any manufacturer, capacity, spindle speed, and/or cache

No carriers or tools required

Expandable by adding drives or hot-swapping drives with larger ones

Operating System Support
- Mac OS X 10.7.x Lion
- Mac OS X 10.8.x Mountain Lion
- Windows 7 SP1 32 and 64 bit
- Windows 8 32 and 64 bit

Dimensions & Weight

7.3" x 7.1" x 1.8"

Package Contents

Package Contents
Drobo Mini
1 m (3.3 ft) USB 3.0 cable
1 m (3.3 ft) power cord with power supply
Quick Start Card
Warranty, Returns, And Additional Information
  • Warranty
  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 2 years
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 2 years
  • Read full details

Customer Reviews of the Drobo DR-MINI-1A21

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  • Nicholas T.
  • 4/29/2014 7:29:35 AM
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsOverall great product!

Pros: The unit works as promised, nothing to argue there.

It took me a lot of digging to get any real speed details on this unit before I bought it. I use it to store backups mostly, ISOs from projects, photo backups, etc.

I have 4x Seagate 500GB SATA 7,200RPM drives with a 64GB mSATA drive. Over USB 3.0 I get around 65-75Mbps sustained write. If the file is small, below 4-6GB, it's usually an instant transfer due to the mSATA add-on. Read is very good, usually around 110-130 Mbps

Cons: Unit failed after 9 months, but Drobo support replaced it very quickly.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Tim G.
  • 12/27/2013 5:20:53 PM
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggsAwesome Value

Pros: A mini-portable mass storage enclosure, love the mSATA SSD buffer option. Great value at $344, for the professional needing portable, mass storage, with great performance.

Flexible design that will last for years with both USB 3 and TB support. Works great, can mix and match drives for raid 0,1 and the performance is great when coupled with mSATA SSD.

Cons: It's currently $344, would like to see price drop a little more, but at this price is still a great value for what you get.

Wish power adaptor was built into unit,

These are small complaints though...

Other Thoughts: I'm not sure why ANYONE in these reviews is complaining about this not being a NAS? This was obviously not ever designed as one. Thats like complaining a TV isn't a DVD player.. stupid..

This is mass storage portable drive enclosure... I think they just wanted to complain about thunderbolt technology...

This WILL work with TB enabled Windows TB systems now.. Just not the second port.

Many miss-understand Thunderbolt technology. Even if both USB 3 and TB were 5 GB rated, TB would win because TB supports 2 streams at 5GB up and down at the same time while being essentially an PCIe port on a cable.

USB 3 is a burst speed technology that can only send in one direction at a time and has trouble with keeping sustained high load data streams like video, especially when data is being sent both ways. It works, but when processing, you can and do end up with dropped frames when going over 60fps. Ironically, in cases like this, even old FireWire does better than USB 3..

USB 3 will win on cost, flat out. TB will win in performance and expandability like being able to expand laptops with external PCIe bays to add on more video cards or PCIe expansion cards..

They both have value.. The prejudice I see against some technologies is silly to me. Discrimination in the technology world.. amazing. lol

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

5 out of 5 eggsThunderbolt is NOT Mac Only!

Pros: Just search Newegg for Thunderbolt and Motherboard. You'll turn up nine MB from MSI, ASUS and Gigabyte. Not pricey ones either from $150 up. Why Thunderbolt, just try moving a few TB around. You'll get it it real fast. More that twice the throughput of USB 3. Much faster than SATA III. People who work with lots of video get it. People with humongous media libraries get it. So you get the speed and you have your data protected against drive failures. If these aren't things you want then don't buy this. If you do it's a good way to go.

Cons: price is a bit high but you always pay for speed and hight quality and data redundancy.

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Anonymous
  • 6/18/2013 5:05:29 AM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsGreat Protected Storage in a small form factor

Pros: Very small reliable Raid Array that protects your data with redundant drives. Installing higher capacity or replacing failed drives can be done on the fly. Thunderbolt (TB) pass through to mini-displayport monitors (or other TB devices) works when the drive is powered off.

Cons: No NAS, Thunderbolt technology is limited to Macs. 2.5" 9.5mm drives max out at 1TB so I'm max'd out @ 4x 1TB. Cost - At $600+ this is waaay too expensive. I got mine on sale for less than 1/2 that cost. Fans are louder than I would like.

2 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • DMA C.
  • 2/27/2013 1:04:41 PM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggsI don't always use proprietary storage devices, but when I do, I use Drobo

Pros: Very high availability and redundancy. Bad drive? No problem just pull one out and slap another one and you're done. You don't even need to press enter.

Not enough storage capacity? OK, just put another dive in and walk away. Ya, you're done now.

Cons: It's ext and not NTFS. NTFS is better and when using in conjunction with a Windows domain, certain security enhancements need to be disabled in order to provide functionality with the Drobo. :-(

Other Thoughts: The people complaining that this is just an external hard drive must be unaware that an external hard drive doesn't come with a remote-accessible, already deployed, pre-configured, secure Operating System with a built in RAID card, pre-configured RAID, and hot-swappable drive bays.

The drobo is a hot-swappable file server in a tiny box with the least amount of administration required for any storage product I have ever seen.

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Darren H.
  • 2/12/2013 7:00:19 AM
  • Ownership: less than 1 day

2 out of 5 eggsExpensive USB Drive

Pros: Fantastic product that i could not wait to purchase for several small business i support.

Cons: Oh..Wait..NO Network jack? Only thunderbolt? Let me go check my switch....Nope no thunderbolt ports there. So $700 for a external USB drive? I think not...must be for Apple fans they always seem to like to pay extra for less functionality.

3 out of 78 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • GREGG F.
  • 2/3/2013 5:30:27 PM
  • Ownership: less than 1 day

5 out of 5 eggsA great unit if you need RAID redundancy over a Thunderbolt or USB connection.

Pros: * Outstanding redundancy and stability.
* "Reasonable" (not super fast) speed for a USB drive. That's really saying something considering you have RAID redundant drives.
* Can use SATA 5400RPM & 7200RPM hard drives as well as SSD.
* Very easy to use.

Cons: * Expensive if you don't need the drive redundancy and stability.
* I'm actually hard pressed to find another con.

Other Thoughts: The review from "Andrew" below is very misleading. On a DIY site like, you really need to do your research on the product for yourself and make sure that it meets your needs.

18 out of 20 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Angie L.
  • 1/3/2013 8:43:06 AM
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

5 out of 5 eggsUnderstand the product

Pros: Drobo make an awesome product. I have 2 of them. One 8 bay and one 4 bay. Although I don't have this model, I thought this rating seemed very unfair.
Keep in mind that Drobo is not a usb hard drive array. Its is a hybrid RAID array. If you just want storage, this is not the way to go. The Drobo offers single or dual drive fault tolerance. This means if one of your hard drives fails, you will not lose data.

As far as taping hard drives together, yes if you just want storage this is a better way to go then drobo. HOWEVER, if you want your data to be protected against hard drive failure, this is the way to go.

**Drobo tech support is AMAZING!** Any time I have called with a question or submitted a support ticket online, they respond very fast. If you call, you get someone who speaks clear English.

Cons: Kind of spendy but you get what you pay for.

Other Thoughts: Know what you are looking for before you spend money on a product you do not need!

19 out of 22 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • GWL I.
  • 12/1/2012 1:37:40 AM
  • Ownership: less than 1 day

1 out of 5 eggsNAS with no N, just AS

Pros: Looks nice.

Cons: For the low price of $650, you can buy 5 external drives (one of them mSATA with a mSATA to SATA adapter), a USB 3.0 HUB, and duct tape them together. OR, you can buy this Drobo, with no drives in it for the same price.

Other Thoughts: I have yet to see the point of owning a NAS (network attached storage) unit with no network interface. I mean hey, maybe you want to have all your external drives duct taped together in a pretty case, and you hate having money (daisy chain FTW!). If so, by all means, this DROBO is for you. Just don't forget, you are paying $650 for a USB hard drive case, you still need to put drives in it.

6 out of 110 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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Item#: N82E16822240089
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