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Norco Technologies Inc. > 
Item#: N82E16816133001

NORCO DS-1220 Support RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD, RAID5 (Windows only) 12 3.5" Drive Bays 4 x eSATA 3U 12-bay Hot-swap Rackmount eSATA RAID Hard Drive Storage Subsystem - OEM

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  • SATA 1.5 & 3Gb/s
  • 12 3.5" Drive Bays
  • Support RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD, RAID5 (Windows only)

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  • Specifications
  • Warranty & Returns
  • Reviews

Learn more about the Norco Technologies Inc. DS-1220




SATA 1.5 & 3Gb/s
External I/O
4 x eSATA
RAID Levels
Support RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD, RAID5 (Windows only)


3.5" Drive Bays

System Management

OS Supported
MAC OS, Linux, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003


Operating 41°F to 104°F (5°C to 40°C) Shipping -31°F to 167°F (-35°C to 75°C)


3U rack height.
Very cost effective storage subsystem.
4 port eSATA host interface (Silicon Image SiI3124 + SiI3726 Multipliers).
Excellent cooling system ensures the drives reliability;
Hot-swappable disk drive tray with special designed power-off and lock mechanism;
Monitor and alarm annunciator for temperature and fans
PCI-X/PCI card, eSATA cables, power supply, HDD mobile rack, backplane, all mounting screws for HDDs included

Dimensions & Weight

19.0" x 18.5" x 6.9"
33 lbs.

Package Contents

Package Contents
HD Card
LED Bracket
4 x SATA Cable
Power Cord
Software Disc
Other Cable
Warranty, Returns, And Additional Information

Customer Reviews of the Norco Technologies Inc. DS-1220

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  • Anonymous
  • 7/23/2008 1:54:26 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

4 out of 5 eggsNot bad for the money

Pros: Lots of drive bays, the bundled controller card has a SiL chipset, RAID 0 performance is very fast, low cost.

Cons: Slow customer support response time, documentation really poor, single power supply, release handle can easily break if you don't use their "tool" (a small screwdriver that you poke in the release hole), backplane subject to power spikes and surges if you install more than one drive in at a time without waiting for a second or two and a JAVA app console.

Other Thoughts: I purchased two of these units, one is actually the older DS-1200 and the other is the DS-1220. They're basically identical with the difference being in the two LED's on the chassis; the older model has the LED's in a vertical layout.

The issues I've had has been the backplane in that drives that were in slots 6 through 10 kept going out. Each time I had to send the entire unit back to NORCO Tek to have them serviced and even when it's under warranty it took them nearly 3 weeks.

My first chassis fell out of warranty in mid 2007 which a flat service fee of $125 USD was charged to me to replace yet again a bad backplane. Basically that is how I got the DS-1220 - they just shipped me out that unit rather than repairing my older one. That still took 2 weeks before I got the replacement; this problem has happened to me five times in the last two years.

When it's setup as RAID 0 it's lighting fast!

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

  • Raymond J.
  • 6/6/2008 8:49:49 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

5 out of 5 eggsFantastic Bargain, with caveats...

Pros: Outstanding throughput (via eSATA and 133 MHz PCI-X card) and RAID5 advantages... I have installed these arrays at more than 10 clients' sites, and they are all working perfectly (OpenBSD, Windows Server 2003, linux, Macintosh). You cannot build a five drive 4.5 terabyte hot swappable RAID5 array cheaper than this, period. All of the units have been very reliable, very fast, very consistent.

Cons: 1. You *must* have a profound understanding of your operating system, drivers, I/O, bus limitations and JBOD and RAID options. Otherwise, this unit is not going to be a solution for you.

2. The unit is a non-standard size, and even with the rubber feet removed, will still occupy one more (1U) rack space than it should.

3. The unit is extremely loud due to its fans and their speed (by design), so if you like quiet little data centers, you may want to reconsider.

Other Thoughts: At this price point, nothing can touch the Norco DS-1220. Period. Sure, the grade of the plastic for the lock handles is marginals, and the metal guides for drive tray insertion are a little dodgy, but at this PRICE... there is no alternative. Look to spend about $6000 or more (minimum) for comparable functionality.

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

  • Matthew D.
  • 5/27/2008 11:18:25 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsDon't buy, period.

Pros: Cheap. Lots of drive bays.

Cons: Unreliable, pain to work with, poor product support (drivers and BIOS), incompatible with everything, etc. It looks like a good deal, but save your money.

And, in case you're wondering, setting up a 10 or 12 disc RAID5 array with this is extremely difficult, which is what I'd bought it for originally. The card it comes with only supports up to 5 discs in a RAID set, and isn't actually a hardware RAID controller. NORCO recommends using your OS to set up RAID on their product (probably because virtually no RAID card on the market is compatible with it.)

It was a real pain to set up - the instructions are poorly translated from Chinese, and they largely dump driver and BIOS support off onto the poor company that makes the chipset for this unit, which means the drivers leave a lot to be desired, and the updates and platform support are very poor.

And to top it all off, 4 months in, the unit has flaked out and corrupted a 7 TB RAID5 array. Drives all work, but the MFT is scramb

Other Thoughts: I bought this unit because I thought that large array RAID5 had finally come to the desktop for an affordable price, but I was wrong. Instead of having RAID5 add reliability to my data, it's been scrambled by a shoddy product. Something in this product causes my RAID set to be in a constantly degraded state, rebuild, work for a bit, then fail out again... which ultimately seems to have resulted in large scale MFT corruption that I cannot repair. :(

So much for Parity RAID acting as a failsafe against data loss. Back to JBOD for me, at least until someone can come up with an affordable RAID5 solution that actually works. Unfortunately, this isn't it.

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

  • Greg S.
  • 5/11/2008 2:45:26 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsDont buy if you need technical support!

Pros: It's got a lot of drive bays.

Cons: I ran this device for about 7 months and for the most part it worked great. Then one day I unplugged it and plugged it back in and now it only sees 5 of my 10 drives. I called Norco and their "tech support" is only one guy who doesnt seem to understand the product and seems to work only 3 hours starting after 2p PT. I was told to change the jumpers on the drive sled to fix the problem. Not only did it not fix the problem, it caused the backplane to catch on fire!

Other Thoughts: Like the other reviews have stated, the connectors are kind of hit or miss on the back. Overall it worked fine for a while, but once things go bad with this device, they go REALLY BAD. Beware.

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Jason M.
  • 3/27/2008 1:04:27 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsWorking well so far

Pros: Raid 5 with 7 empty spots left. PCI-X card for good throughput. Works in Windows Server 2008 64-bit edition. Hot swap works perfectly. Benchmarks about 2x a normal drive using HDTach.

Cons: Driver installation and setup was not as clear as it could have been, but it works. Initializing Raid5 on five 750gb drives (3tb) took 26 hours, but it did bring up the drive and do the initialization in the background. The notch in the PCI-X card bracket that is used to screw the card to the chassis was not aligned correctly from the factory, so I had to really push it in hard to get it to line up. I compared it to a bunch of cards, and this PCI-X card (just the screw hole) is definitely cut funny.

Other Thoughts: I tried benchmarking the raid5 as soon as I partitioned it and gave it a drive letter, and it got horrible scores, so I messed with it for a few days before realizing that it brings up the live filesystem, but then it continues to do a format or initialization of some kind in the background, and that was throwing off my benchmarks. Once I let that finish and tested it again, it got very good numbers. I have not put significant load on it yet, but so far I am perfectly pleased.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Daniel P.
  • 3/14/2008 3:52:37 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsExcellent Storage Solution

Pros: Cost effective solution, good performance, quick setup. Excellent hardward for a software RAID implementation. Norco staff is friendly. VISTA and Windows Server 2008 Compatible.

Cons: PCI-X card included -- PCI-X IS NOT PCI Express.

Other Thoughts: Recommend using the Norco 4629 PCI Express 8X card with this array.

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

  • JOHN O.
  • 1/20/2008 11:49:50 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat Low
  • Ownership: less than 1 day

4 out of 5 eggsWhich Controller?

Pros: The first batch of Norco-4618 SATA host adapters utilized the Silicon Image SiI 3124-1CB364 controller chip which performs slower with striped RAID sets. However, all of the new Norco-4618 SATA host adapters utilize the SiI 3124-2CB364 controller which provides excellent SATA II striped RAID set performance. According to Bin Lin of NORCO Technologies Inc. the new NORCO-4618 is included with each new DS-1220 enclosure now being sold.

--- Which controller comes with the newegg model?

Cons: Which controller comes with the newegg model now? And is it better than the one that is getting the poor reviews here?

Other Thoughts: I have a controller and can use a 2x sata to 2x esata pci bracket for the direct connections. I'd just like to know which controller comes with this unit from newegg currently and if it solves the bad reviews.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Christopher B.
  • 1/17/2008 2:03:55 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsAwesome Buy

Pros: Excellent Buy.
By far the most affordable mass storage solution. You don't get what you paid for, you get way more. Similar systems cost twice as much.

Cons: the provided pci-x controller card is substandard, but when used with HighPoint RocketRAID 2314 PCI-e SATA II Controller Card, the speed will blow you away.

Other Thoughts: People who are saying the drives are difficult to remove, and install are foolish.
If you follow the provided instructions you will see that it is remarkably easy.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Judy R.
  • 1/3/2008 8:14:43 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsBeware, good technical knowledge required from user (especially for Mac)

Pros: It's dirt cheap and it works fine if you finally figure out what I'll describe in the cons

Although supposed to be rackmount (for us) it comes with rubber feet in case you want to put it on a flat surface. All screws, cable ties, controller card and cables included.

Nicely sized metal enclosure and good cooling and power supply

Works with 750G drives and Mac (if you get it working). Probably works with Mac OS X Leopard too (the driver didn't complain and loaded but I couldn't test it's functionality yet)

Cons: The included controller card doesn't work out of the box and the included drivers are old.

So you start using different drivers (2 type of drivers one base and one for RAID?), the problem here is that those drivers conflict with each other without saying anything or unloading each other so you have to manually load/unload them out of the kernel (Mac) to finally see the card popping up as pci1095,3124.

I have plans to put two enclosures on a 1U server so space constraints made me not use the last 2 drives (they are not on a SATA multiplier and thus use 1 drive per port). Apparently the connections are not marked well so SATA1 and SATA2 is actually the 11th and 12th drive and SATA3 and SATA4 is the 1st and 2nd multiplier.

Once that is figured out (I had to use the SATARAID5 driver downloaded from the Silicon website which doesn't work with Firefox or Safari) although the card is limited to 5 drives per (FakeRAID) set so I'll be using software RAID.

Other Thoughts: If you need expandable storage for cheap on a 1U server with 1 available PCI-X slot, use the first 10 slots in this thing and get another one getting 20 slots on 4 ports instead of using all 4 ports for 12 drives

Do not buy if you don't know how to mess around with drivers, cables and how to manually uninstall kernel extensions (no uninstall script provided)

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Robert L.
  • 12/3/2007 2:25:23 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsDO NOT PURCHASE

Pros: Cheap.

Cons: Will not work out-of-the-box on most OSes. Even with latest drivers may only partially work. No mounting rails. Separately-available vendor rails are extremely poor and will not fit most racks. Nonexistent customer support from Chinese company.

Other Thoughts: Does not fully function with either Ubuntu 7.04 OR Windows Server 2003 R2. The issue is the SATA port multiplier (PM) chip within the enclosure. The OS will recognize only the first drive on each segment, or only a single segment -- NOT ALL 12 drives! For Ubuntu I had to custom compile a kernel with bleeding-edge PM support. Even with this the last 2 drives won't work (they appear to be on a separate, non-PM, segment). For Win 2003 R2, only 5 drives are recognized.

Save your money. This is the poster-product for poorly-made Chinese technology.

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

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