- Color of Front Bezel: Black
- Standard Drive Bays: 3 x 5.25" Drives, 5 x Hotswap 3.5"
- Hotswap HDD Type: 3.5" SAS I/II & SATA I/II/III
- Indicators: Blue for Power on/ Purple for HDD Access
- $116.99 –
- Free Shipping (restrictions apply)
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Worth the price... just do it! 11/30/2013
I have a server with 8 hard drives. (I bought two of these) I wasn't going to use this initially. I thought, once you get everything into the case, you really don't need to touch it, so there's not much of a need for this. I learned some things along the way that weren't immediately obvious.
The biggest benefit is that it really helps with cable management. The SATA connectors are all in line. I bought 5 SATA cables with right angle connectors, connecting them from the bottom to top. The cables stack on top of each other, and you can put a zip tie around the cables at the bottom and they're really cleanly organized. While you can do this with drives (I've done it before), removing a drive in the middle can be tough. With the drive bay, you can install the cables before putting the drive in and never have to touch them again. The power cables are the real bonus. Two power connectors which distribute the power to all the drives. Doing this with splitters on individual drive can be a mess. My previous setup was a bit of a mess, it's very clean now because of these.
The design of the airflow is smart. Holes in the front and one single fan on the back that pulls air through. The only thing I could think to improve on this would be to have some kind of insert for empty drive bays. As it is, the bulk of the air will flow though the empty slots.
I took the cage apart to look at the circuit board, and apart from the LED indicators, it appears that this is just a straight pass-through of the connections from the drive to the SATA connectors on the back. I was worried it had a controller onboard, or something like that.
Other general comments:
The drive lights are a nice touch. The locks aren't really keyed locks, but they're good if you just want to keep from accidentally ejecting the wrong disk. The drive cages looks really cool when installed. You can install 5 drives in the space that would otherwise hold 4.
Each drive bay door is connected to a lever on the back of the bay, so that when you insert a drive, it closes the door part way. Likewise, when you open the bay door, it pops the drive out of the bay. This works pretty well, but sometimes it feels like it takes too much force and I worry that I'll break the mechanism. So when inserting and ejecting a drive, do it slowly. When inserting a drive, it helps if you close the bay door a little to help it along.
The biggest gripe I have with this is with the fan housing. It uses an 80mm fan, and you should be able to replace it with your own fan. The way the fan is mounted, you would need to buy the same exact size fan as was included, down to the holes on the fan itself. In my case, I bought an Arctic Cooling F8 PWM fan. The fan holes were too small, and the width of the fan was too large. I ended up taking a Dremel to the holes. Because of the width, the box that covers the fan has a small gap, but this doesn't affect the function of the fan. I had to buy longer screws to get them to mount properly. So, you can get it to work, but it was a real pain.
iStarUSA should modify their fan mount on their next design iteration to use a more standard fan mounting method that allows for variations in fan dimensions.
Despite these issues, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this product again.
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