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Sans Digital 5-Bay USB 3.0 / eSATA Hardware RAID5 Tower Storage Enclosure w/ 6G PCIe 2.0 HBA Card TR5UT+B (Black)

  • SATA
  • 5 x Hot-Swappable 3.5" Drive Bays
  • 0, 1, 10, 3, 5, Clone (N-way Mirror) with Hot Spare and JBOD
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SANS DIGITAL TowerRAID TR5UT+B - Five-Bay USB 3.0 / eSATA Hardware RAID 5 Tower with 6G PCIe 2.0 HBA (Black)

The TowerRAID TR5UT+B is a five-bay hardware RAID 5 storage tower that utilizes high performance USB 3.0 and eSATA interfaces to provide over 200MBps in performance. The included USB 3.0 is backwards-compatible with widely available USB 2.0 ports, which is a convenient feature when both USB 3.0 and eSATA connections are unavailable. With built-in RAID 0, 1, 10, 3, 5 with hot-spare and JBOD, the TR5UT+B provides hardware RAID redundancy protection against hard drive failures. A brand new RAID mode, CLONE or N-Way Mirror, is also introduced to replicate the saved data throughout each installed hard drive. The RAID engine is embedded within the enclosure and performs all RAID parity calculations to reduce CPU utilization from the host PC. RAID controller cards are unnecessary.

 
SANS DIGITAL SANS DIGITAL

To satisfy the need for performance-demanding applications, the unit is bundled with a two-port PCIe 2.0 x1 eSATA controller card with SATA 6.0Gbps (6G) support (RR622 controller card). PCIe 2.0 is capable of providing twice the bandwidth of PCIe 1.0, allowing over 200Mbps in performance. The unit is also backward-compatible with PCIe 1.0 slots to provide eSATA connectivity for computers that do not have built-in eSATA ports. Designed with easy installation in mind, the TR5UT+B allows effortless installation by simply inserting the hard drive tray (with the hard drives installed) after opening the attractive ventilating door. The TR5UT+B is the ultimate RAID storage for all storage needs.


Features

  • Hardware RAID, supporting RAID 0, 1, 10, 3, 5 + hot spare, JBOD and CLONE.
  • Over 200Mbps read and 170Mbps write performance.
  • eSATA and USB 3.0 interfaces.
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0.
  • Bundled with SATA 6.0Gbps PCIe 2.0 x 1 controller card. Supports PCIe 2.0 with over 200Mbps performance. Backward compatible with PCIe 1.0 slot.
  • True hardware RAID design within the enclosure. No driver and additional RAID controller needed.
  • New CLONE mode (N-way Mirror) - all the hard drives connected can be mirrored. CLONE mode is especially useful when users would like to copy data form one hard drive to several hard drives at the same time.
  • Supports 3.5in. inch SATA hard drives.
  • Over 2TB per volume via eSATA and USB on OS that supports 2TB or above.
  • Automatic insertion / removal detection and rebuild.
  • Hardware RAID with standard interface. No extra drivers required.
  • Five hot-swappable hard drive trays included for easy trouble shooting.
  • Compact and stylish five-bay tower design with protective ventilating cover.
 
 


What's in the Box

SANS DIGITAL

Learn more about the SANS DIGITAL TR5UT+B

Model

Brand
SANS DIGITAL
Series
TowerRAID
Model
TR5UT+B

General Spec

Drive
SATA
External I/O
USB 3.0, eSATA
RAID Levels
RAID 0/1/10/3/5, Clone (N-way Mirror) with Hot Spare and JBOD
Hot-spares
Yes

Expansion

3.5" Drive Bays
5 x Hot-Swappable

Mechanical Spec

Power Supply
220W (103V-253V)

General Spec

Dimensions
6.0" x 8.25" x 11.0"
Weight
9.3 lbs.
Features
Form Factor: Compact Tower

Maximum Capacity: 20TB

Auto Rebuilding: Yes

Cooling Fan: 4.7" Ball Bearing Fan

Status Indicators: Status and Power LEDs

Backward compatible with USB 2.0.

Bundled with SATA 6.0Gbps PCIe 2.0 x1 controller card. Supports PCIe 2.0 with over 200MB/s performance. Backward compatible with PCIe 1.0 slot.

Hardware RAID, supporting RAID 0, 1, 10, 3, 5+hot spare, JBOD and CLONE.

Over 200MB/s read and 170MB/s write performance.

Over 2TB per volume via eSATA and USB on OS that supports 2TB or above.

Quick Info

Warranty

  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year


Customer Reviews of the SANS DIGITAL TR5UT+B

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  • Guy R.
  • 7/28/2014 2:31:44 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggs** EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE **

Pros: Low cost eSATA + USB 3.0 Hardware RAID 5 solution
Good way to optimize storage

Cons: EXTREMELY PRONE TO CATASTROPHIC FAILURES

It literally took me years to realize that this awful enclosure is responsible for several catastrophic volume failures I have had.

Even though I've never had a physical drive fail in the enclosure, I've lost complete RAID volumes due to faulty firmware.

The problem seems to be cause by a dropped connection to the computer.

This happens both over eSata and USB 3.0

I own several enclosures, and this happened on two of them.

As a result, the RAID volumes become corrupt and unrecoverable.

I've had several volumes become unrepairable and read-only.

1 5x2TB hardware RAID 5
2 2x2TB software RAID 1 (Apple RAID via disk utility)
1 2x3TB software RAID 1 (Apple RAID via disk utility)

Other Thoughts: If you earn even just minimum wage, the hours you will spend in repair and recovery will cost more than a proper enclosure.

Manufacturer Response:

Thank you for choosing Sans Digital products.

We aim to provide the most reliable and highest quality storage product to our customers.

We are sorry to hear about the RAID volume failures you are having with this unit.

Please help to contact us for more detail support, you can contact us at tech@sansdigital.com for email support or 1-800-980-1988 for phone support.

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

  • J. M.
  • 7/17/2014 3:54:48 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsTR5UT+B firmware needs some redesign for reliability

Pros: Really nice package. "Nominally" it works fine. Took awhile to set up. NOT plug and play! But if you read the setup directions, it is easy enough. For over 2 years, it kept my data secure.

Cons: Simple failures can become catastrophic. Twice, (once when I was playing at first and then now, about 2 years later.) I have had the failure of a hard drive in my RAID 5 array of 3TB drives. The first time, the array came back up and rebuilt fine. The last time, a 3TB drive failed and the array was still functional on 4 drives. Then I shut down, removed the bad drive, replaced the bad drive and powered back up. The new drive was "green" but did not rebuild. Worse, then the rest of the array became inaccessable except by the SansDigital Raid Monitor program. The program indicated that 4 drives were OK, and the new one was unassociated with the array. This was not the kind of "recovery" I was looking for. I am retiring the SansDigital and giving a Drobo B800fs a try. The most important thing about a RAID array is RELIABILITY. With unexpected problems like this, data reliability simply does not exist.

Other Thoughts: I think the Sans Digital TR5UT+B could be a good unit, but it would have to be fixed so that changing a defective drive COULD NOT destroy the array.

Manufacturer Response:

Thank you for choosing Sans Digital products.

Having a single drive failure in a RAID-5 array should not completely cause the RAID array to stop working and not allow you to access your data on th RAID array.

For more detail support, you can contact us at tech@sansdigital.com for email support or 1-800-980-1988 for phone support.

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

  • David D.
  • 6/29/2014 9:01:48 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsGood performance for small network

Pros: Easy setup
Easy integration with Win 7 or higher
Option of USB -3 or e-Sata
Affordable option for home network or small office
Supports multiple RAID options

Cons: Occasionally drops offline
Cables tend to be a little loose and can get disconnected
Requires some technical experience as the documentation assumes a mid-to-high level of knowledge

Other Thoughts: If you're going to go the affordable route on a SAN, don't go cheap on the drives. Ask techie friends for recommendations but in a nutshell, you don't want a "green" drive or a drive with slow read-write. A lot of the performance of this unit will depend on the performance of the drives.
And while you are chatting with your techie friend, talk through the pros/cons of the different RAID options. Your drive purchase will need to complement the RAID option you choose.

This is a good option for someone who wants the dependability of RAID and doesn't have a lot of time for day-to-day maintenance. Invest your time it planning before you do the setup, make the right drive choices and then you shouldn't have too many issues.

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

  • John R.
  • 3/5/2014 10:15:39 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsSans Digital Great.. Highpoint Poor

Pros: Great enclosure.. Simple setup.. nice

Cons: Have spent a week playing eMailTag with High Point technologies technical support. This is without a doubt the most arduous exercise I've gone through in years. They are clueless. I have no less than 50 post on their website .....back and forth ....back and forth ....back and forth we're only goinsg in circles. they will not call to resolve the issue I don't think they have any idea how to resolve the issue.

Other Thoughts: The Highpoint 622 controllers work great as long as you don't run into an issue you will be fine. If you do run into an issue ....YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Paul W.
  • 12/21/2013 10:33:36 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

3 out of 5 eggsWorks well for some things

Pros: Easy to set up, good streaming transfer speed.

Cons: Terrible random access speed. Control software is buggy, and crashes easily. It still worked though.

Other Thoughts: We purchased two of these enclosures and loaded them with with 5 3TB WD Red drives each. We set them up in RAID 5. A tiny RAID controller is built into the unit. You just connect an eSATA cable.

RAID build time was instant. One array didn't build properly, and after a while I figured out that the red light for one drive meant that drive was bad, and one of the 10 drives was DOA. I put in a spare drive, and that array had to rebuild. That took over 24 hours as I recall. Each box was giving us 11TB of space. An amazing amount for the price.

We have been using these two drives under Linux for about a year now. No reliability problems. We get over 200MB/sec when transferring big files. The problem comes in when any kind of random access happens. One example is writing to many small files. These drives slowed down to under 30MB per second. Average latency went to over 2 seconds! Also reading folders with many small files is really slow. Also having more than one user accessing the drive at the same time was not good. These drives have a tiny cheap RAID controller built in. It really isn't up to random access. I wish they would offer an enclosure with a better controller built in. I would pay an extra $100+ for that.

In the end these enclosures were too slow, and turned out to be a bad fit for us. I think they are a good value for a single user that deals only with large files, and 200MB/sec. is fast enough for you.

For comparison, our new server with a good hardware RAID controller is reading/writing to two 8-drive arrays of WD Red 4TB at 500-850 MB/sec. You get what you pay for. We will probably use the Sans Digital arrays for backup.

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

  • George c.
  • 9/13/2013 4:48:46 AM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

3 out of 5 eggsJacked me around on rebate

Pros: I haven't set my units up for raid but they work fine as drive enclosures.

Cons: none I can really think of

Other Thoughts: Bought mine in November sent in rebate 6 months no rebate email them they say the check is in the mail wait another 2 months nothing email them again no reply. Irritating all the hoops you jump through for a rebate and than you get stiffed!

Manufacturer Response:

Thank you for purchasing Sans Digital products, and glad to hear that the unit is working great.

If you have any rebate related issues, please contact info@sansdigital.com

If you have problem on the unit, please contact us by calling 1-800-980-1988 for technical support and our engineer will try to resolve it over the phone. You can also contact us at tech@sansdigital.com for email support.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Ian T.
  • 6/19/2013 5:47:37 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggs3 systems running perfectly - 24/7

Pros: I have three of these each running 5 drives in a raid5 configuration. One has 1TB drives and one has 2TB drives. Both and have been running 24/7 since January 2012. The third one has 3TB drives and has been online for a week. Absolutely no issues in setting them up but I only use 5 drive raid 5. I like that I can move them from one machine to another and can treat them as external multi-terabyte systems. Copies between two arrays on the same server average better than 100 Mbytes/sec.

Cons: I added a carrying handle to the cover because they are just big enough that you need two hands to pick 'em up!!

Other Thoughts: I have not tried any other configuration than raid5 so I can't vouch for the other modes..

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

  • Ian T.
  • 3/8/2013 3:48:47 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsTwo running flawlessly for 15 months

Pros: Really low cost for a hardware raid unit and quite fast
I have a 5 drive 4 TB unit and a 5 drive 8 TB unit running Raid 5. One is for continuous backup of my servers and the larger one is for media and video content. All drives are Seagate and are identical across the arrays. I bought a few spares of the same drives to make sure they were compatible if and when I have a drive failure. They both run 24/7. Certainly not too noisy for an office but not a living room device for sure. I use the rocket card supplied which is used to increase the transfer rate. It's not for software raid. I recommend loading 5 identical drives, setting the switches to Raid 5, plug in the card and power on. Nothing to do after that except format the array. I added a cheap handle to the cases to make them easy to carry around and all my servers have Esata so I can move the arrays around and plug them in and go for instant redundancy. Just like any portable drive except for the 8 TBs. I also have a JBOD version without hardware RAID that I use for removable backup that goes in a fireproof safe. The handle on the case is very useful to allow me to carry them with one hand. I now plan to build a 12 TB version which right now costs $80/TB in Raid 5 configuration.

Cons: On off switch on one unit needs to be pushed hard to operate but then I don't turn them off anyway.
Manual is just OK. Not for low tech customers.

Other Thoughts: Extermal and portable hardware raid. Not a lot of choices in this category except for SANS Digital and I am pleased with their product.

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

  • Rainer G.
  • 2/14/2013 6:56:27 PM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsgood enclosure - loud fan

Pros: Easy installation. USB 3 and eSata work fine.

Cons: Its the loudest thing in my office. Not terrible, but I am thinking of exchanging the fan.

Manufacturer Response:

Thank you for purchasing our products.

This model is equipped with low-speed cooling fan to min. the noise level. Unless the cooling fan is defective, you should not have a noise issues.

If you are having problem on the unit, please contact us by calling 1-800-980-1988 for technical support and our engineer will try to resolve it over the phone. You can also contact us at tech@sansdigital.com for e-mail supports.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Christopher R.
  • 1/8/2013 7:57:55 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsRuns hot but overall a decent machine.

Pros: *Easy to setup.
*Drives and bays are aligned well with minimal effort adding and removing drives.
*The power button is beveled so you don't accidently turn it off.
*Supports 110v 220v in case you need to take it internationally however it is not auto switching.
*Good fan
*Rubber feat on the bottom reduce vibration and noise.
*The Hardware Raid Manager supports a mixture of RAID setups. This means you can have more than one raid array. So if you want 3 drives in raid 5 and 2 drives in raid 1 or perhaps as 2 simple independent drives you can. All the possibilities you can think of in a 5 bay RAID system. Not many brands are as flexible as this.
*Supports changing the priority of a RAID rebuild
*Passes all SMART data to your computer so programs that support reading smart data can see temperature and other data of ALL drives even when it is in a RAID state.
*Speed is about 220mb/s with USB 3 with included TURBO software. I wish I knew what the software did on the technical standpoint but it works alright.
*I'm happy it's not tool-less. I think most tool-less designs are usually poorly designed and don't secure drives firmly. This is solid as a rock screws and all.
*Supports 2.5 drives

Cons: *The documentation is poor and I will go over this machine in better detail then the manufacturer provided.

*I am still trying to figure out if this system supports the TLER command or just ignores it. This is an important detail when trying to decide if it is worth the extra money to purchase drives with TLER support.
average
*The USB 3 is quite flakey. You may need to reboot the machine a few times for it to be recognized. I think this might be a Renesas issue with my onboard USB 3 controller but I am unsure. After downgrading my Renesas controller firmware it was able to detect the device every time.

*I am severely disappointed with the lack of RAID customization options.
The software has no support to select a strip or the sector size. I understand not many people need to play with these options but I like to optimize the settings for my unique usage. The controller on this board supports online data integrity check so why doesn't the manufacturer take advantage of ALL the options that the RAID controller. I paid for a hardware RAID now where is the bells and whistles?

*Now I understand that it is marketed as SATA2 but they should really discontinue this and produce a newer model with SATA3. This is a huge bottleneck for power users. When they do release a SATA3 model it will be a chore to move my drives into it along with 11 TB of data.

*Airflow... What airflow? Open it up and tell me how the air reaches the harddrives. They have a decent fan in it but it doesn't help when the fan is completely separated from the drives by a large metal encasement. My drives run between 45 - 49c in this unit, just 5c below the max operating temperature. The fan is replaceable but I don't know if I can find a reasonably quiet one that can beat out the OEM specs listed below. The drives are also less than an eighth of an inch apart. That's right I measured. For a visual understanding how small this is that's a little more than half the diameter of a standard case screw. I almost want to make a video review because this is unbelievable.

*I wish the door was removable. I'm not a fan of doors because they do nothing but restrict. If I had to have a door I wish it was simply a mesh grate then it would serve a purpose of cooling and dust filter.

*A better hardware RAID controller would support RAID 6.

*It includes a SATA3 card. I'm listing this as a con for the manufacturer's sake because this probably caused more issues then helped. People have been installing this card and used its raid function with the enclosure in clean mode. I'm sorry but a lot of people are not educated in the difference between their newly purchased XXX$ hardware RAID and this X$ highpoint card. People just pop a CD in and just follow whatever prompts they see.They don't properly instruct people not to use it for the raid feature and thus it probably caused more headache then it was worth. Thanks for the free card anyway.

Other Thoughts: Information OVERDRIVE!

My current setup is 5x Western Digital RE WD3000FYYZ 3TB 7200 RPM SATA3 hard drives in RAID 5
My raid array is quite expensive

Because there is little detailed information regarding this enclosure here is a complete breakout of all the important components in it. It's a shame they don't list this information because it all a good selling point.
The raid controller is the JMB394 a Fully hardware-accelerated RAID Engine
JMB394 Features:
*Raid 3 / 5 write-back cache
*Supports spread spectrum clocking (Important feature for a RAID system in a telecommunications environment or perhaps a lab where EMI can be an issue.)
*Supports staggered spin-up
*Supports Native Command Queue (NCQ)
* Supports asynchronous signal recovery
* Rebuild speed: 200GB/hour
* Rebuild proceed continuously between power cycling
* A lot more Refer to the jmicron website for more details.
The chip supports on-line read data integrity check however the sans digital software does not take advantage of this. Perhaps they can add support in the future.

It also contains the JMS539 bridge controller which translates the communication between SATA to USB

JMB320 Port multiplier

The fan included is a standard 120mm fan by Comdell model DF1202512SELN. I believe Comdell is the offshore Taiwan fan manufacturer for Cooler Master. It is easily replaceable / upgradeable by a qualified computer tech.
Fan Specs:
Size: 20x120x25mm
Voltage: DC 12V 0.16A
Speed: 1,500 rpm
Airflow: 50.4 CFM
Pressure: 1.93 mm H2O
Noise: 25.6 dBA

Not much to say about the PSU. It is a compact 220watt PSU with a tiny fan.
It uses standard 12v rails to power the system. If you are in an emergency situation in which the PSU fails you could in theory rig a standard PSU to this unit.

Overall I would recomend this unit to others. It is a good hardware raid for the price. I deduct 1 egg because it runs hot and has no detailed raid customization. The raid controller is also considered low grade but it beats software fakeraid. The documentation issues should not stump a qualified system admin.

15 out of 16 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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