Joined on 03/27/13
A perfect fit
Pros: Price, 4 SATA ports Works out of the box with Ubuntu Server good throughput Works with my 3TB drives Not HW RAID PCIe x1
Cons: data throughput could be better but that's picking nits
Overall Review: Excellent choice for JBOD or software RAID. With 3 of these I can get 16 drives into my media server. Where else you going to get that for under $100?! And without a huge performance hit, too - performance is more than acceptable. My motherboard has 1 PCIe x16 and 2 x PCIe x1 slots, so this worked out beautifully.
Decent product, TERRIBLE/NON-EXISTENT customer service
Pros: Solid, roomy, holds a BUNCH of drives, locking mechanism works as a latch even without the key
Cons: Not all parts were included (rackmount ears were missing) and ABYSMAL customer support means you can't get them after the fact! No response whatsoever to my last 3 emails!
Overall Review: No way I'll buy another Ark Tech case!
75% failure rate - really BAD firmware makes this a russian roulette purchase
Pros: Small form factor Built-in wif-fi No shortage of ports, including eSATA and SD reader IR receiver fanless + external power supply = silent price ($99 shell shocker)
Cons: Worst UEFI implementation EVER. If you get one that won't boot from a flash drive, you won't be able to upgrade the firmware to fix the problem! Zotac makes the RMA process difficult and their rep's aren't very responsive and will leave you hanging.
Overall Review: I purchased 4 of these to use as small form factor HTPCs and had a 75% failure rate. The problem is with the firmware, which is complete and total garbage. On two of them, no matter what settings I tried - UEFI or Legacy, they would not boot from a flash drive, making OS installation impossible. I'm quite proficient at troubleshooting; I tried different flash drives, different OS images, different USB ports on the zbox, even used the internal reset button to clear CMOS. Two of these are just plain non-functional. On the third one, I played with it and tweaked it and finally got it to boot from the flash drive. Got the OS installed and all software configured, and ON THE DAY that I delivered it to my customer - it would not boot up! Thanks for making me look like an amateur, Zotac! Nor would it boot from any sort of rescue/tool thumb drive. It will be a long, long time before I buy another Zotac product. If Zotac ever replaces these things, I'll be selling them without even opening them.
AVOID - Major Firmware problems
Pros: Small, silent, reasonably good performance, built-in wifi, plenty of USB ports, eSata port, HDMI, IR receiver, SD reader
Cons: Firmware is total ABYSMAL
Overall Review: I can't tell you how much I really WANTED to like these. They had everything I wanted (except functional firmware) for an HTPC platform. I purchased 4 of them (2 at $119 and 2 at $99) - 1 was DOA (due to firmware issues), one died when I delivered it to the customer, and of the two remaining, one is showing signs of dying. That's quite a failure rate, isn't it? Worse yet, the manufacturer's rep will treat like you a noob then... just... stop replying to you.
Pros: Price, support for multiple sizes of mSATA, design is OK if you want to permanently install an mSATA drive as a 2.5" drive (e.g. in a laptop, etc.)
Cons: If you want to use this for bench work and you're going to be snapping in different mSATA drives all the time, this is a really bad design. That was my intended use - mount the thing to a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter (which is permanently installed in a hot-swap drive caddy) and just leave the lid off. Whenever I need to work with an mSATA drive, I'd just slide the drive caddy out, snap the mSATA drive in, slide the drive caddy back in. Not with this thing. First of all, the screw holes (not the ones on the sides) for mounting this to an adapter are in the lid - not the main housing. Second of all, the circuit board is designed with the SATA connectors upside down - so you can't just pop the circuit board out of the main housing and flip it over - because then you couldn't get at the mSATA drive (without popping the circuit board out again)! Any way you slice it, this thing is just a PITA for this kind of use. If you want to use a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter, you'll have to remove everything from the drive caddy, remove this thing from the 2.5-3.5 adapter, remove the lid (which can't be simply left off because that's where the mounting screw holes are), pop in the desired mSATA drive, put the lid back on, reattach it to the 2.5-3.5 adapter, and put it back in the caddy.
Overall Review: Useless for my purposes.