Joined on 10/26/01
Keeps Cool Even in Enclosed Cabinet
Pros: I bought case this for a wooden computer armoire that had about 2 inches of clearance on the sides and top and 6 inches of clearance on the back with a few modest sized holes for cabling in the back. I was not expecting it to stay cool enough to close the door on the cabinet but I just ran Prime95 on the core i7 2600K for 40 minutes with the peak temperature reaching 60 degrees C and it had stopped going up 10 minutes earlier with an ambient room temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m using a Noctua NH-U12P SE2 Cooler and an ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 motherboard. No over-clocking and no dedicated video graphics card yet. This case is silent with the door closed and really quiet with it open.
Cons: This is not the easiest case to build so if you have never built your own computer make sure to do lots of research on what to do, take your time, and check everything twice - good advice for anyone. It took a total of about 3 hours to carefully install since I hadn't done a new computer build in a decade. I could only use one of the two fans on the Noctua due to clearance issues with a 3.5 inch hard drive but the cooling didn't suffer at all. It is quite difficult to install one of the bottom fan clips on the Noctua with the board in the case - use a needle nose pliers and have patience. The 2.5 inch installation location is at the very bottom of the case and doesn't get a lot of airflow.
Overall Review: If you use the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 motherboard the USB 3.0 cable on this case will present a very very tight fit between the motherboard and the removable hard drive cage. The bracket to hold the heat sink up is very nice and works with the Noctua NH-U12P perfectly. I used a Corsair 760Watt Professional Modular power supply which is 180mm in length - it fits and works but even with a short 160mm blu-ray drive opposite it may cause problems if I have to use the upper power supply connections. Get a 160mm long power supply and a 160 mm long optical disk drive and you will not have any problems.
Good Performer ... A Few Problems
Pros: Works as advertised with a lot of good options for RAID configuration that can be implemented through the front panel interface. Compact enough to be locked away or sit on your desktop. Fairly quiet, but not silent. Fairly solid construction will likely withstand the test of time.
Cons: Had to switch which SCSI port was used to connect to the computer because the when connected to the first one tried the unit couldn't be detected by the SCSI card. The device only comes with a one page quick set-up guide and no other documentation either with the unit or on their web-site.
Overall Review: I contacted the tech support at SansDigital for help and was able to talk to a tech within a few minutes. They definitely need to improve their documentation and their web-site. The non-SCSI sister product, MR5CT1, states that it only supports <2TB volumes - this product states that it supports >2TB, but they are very similar products and I haven't tested whether this is true yet. Only Windows XP 64-bit and Server 2003 with SP1 support >2TB volumes in the Microsoft world, but it would be nice if this product and the sister product supported >2TB volumes. Have not had a chance to benchmark the speed of RAID5, but it seems pretty fast.
Pros: Have filled up 6 of these over the last week using each type of connection with no reliabiity or performance issues. Very good speeds from each type of connection. Runs modestly hot flat on the table.
Cons: As noted before the stand is weak and the standoffs easily fall off so I haven't been using them. The units do go into a standby mode after some inactivity which takes a few seconds to recover from - may be my SATA controller?
Overall Review: Benchmarked using a custom Matlab script and confirmed using file copying (these are highest numbers for 500MB files): eSATA write115MB/sec; eSata read 110MB/sec; USB write 25MB/sec; USB read 31MB/sec; FW400 write 25 MB/sec; FW400 read 37 MB/sec. I noticed the FW is somewhat more erratic in the speeds then the other connections. These are pretty much best in class across the board. These benchmarks were performed with the disks almost full or at least half full.
Nearly Same as MR5CT1
Pros: A little quieter than the MR5CT1 due to use of 1 larger fan versus 2 smaller fans in MR5CT1. Great flexibility in RAID configurations and setup is incredibly easy and fast. Great options for setting up RAID using panel, serial or ethernet. Highly recommended.
Cons: The read and write speed is limited to 80MBytes/sec based on testing I performed; however, this is still really good performance and you can only reach this limit if you are using eSATA connection and RAID0 across 5 drives. Write speeds are actually very good and probably double what you can expect from an onboard MB solution.
Overall Review: Have used 3 MR5CT1, 1 MR5S1, and 1 MR5CT2 and all have been very reliable over the last couple of years. Any past issues with a lack of detailed manuals have been adddressed by Sans Digital in recent months and their tech support is great. This unit apparently shares the same internal hardware with the MR5CT1. Summary of average tested speeds in MB/sec using 5 Seagate 500GB 3G SATA drives and default RAID settings. RAID0 eSATA(write/read) 67/80; RAID5 eSATA(write/read) 57/78; RAID0 USB(write/read) 27/33; Note that write speed for RAID0 and eSATA peaked at 75MB/sec.
Pros: Solid construction and no reliability issues so far. Great options for creating RAID and hot-sparing. Good performance with USB and Firewire (need to test eSATA). Quick answers from tech support. Much improved manual from a year ago. Got a BIOS update from SD in less than an hour after requesting it.
Cons: It is heavy, but that is because it is all metal and contains a power supply capable of running 5 HDs and controller. It isn't silent but I've owned a lot of computer cases that were louder.
Overall Review: Tech support told me it has been successfully tested with Hitachi 1TB HDs. Newer BIOS now supports RAID6. Can successfully swap out groups of HDs without losing RAID data (put them back in the right order!)
So far no problems
Pros: I didn't have to install any drivers with Windows XP SP2. I appreciate that there is one USB and one Firewire 1394a connector inside the case so I can route internal cables to my new front panel, which would normally have to routed to the back of the computer. I haven't benchmarked the performance, but it is definitely not slow.
Cons: None so far.
Overall Review: I had bought another store-branded USB card/front panel from a major electronics store to get USB 2.0 to the front of my older PC case, but that product was very unreliable - this one combined with a separately purchased Hyatek front panel is very reliable so far.