DataTale PAIR and SMART 2-bay RAID Drive Enclosures
Company: Data Watch Technologies (Taiwan)
Prices: $109 for PAIR and $129 for SMART (approximate online pricing)
PAIR is a small, short, flat enclosure, similar to a Mac mini. PAIR ships with two empty drive bays. Purchase and insert your own 2.5″ bare hard drives via the enclosed written instructions. Download and install the custom Raid Master software. Choose your RAID configuration, restart your Mac, and you now have a portable, versatile RAID unit that is AC powered for USB and bus powered for FireWire 800.
You can learn about RAID here.
SMART is a medium-sized, squarish, substantial enclosure. SMART ships with two empty drive bays and semi-modular insertion handles. Purchase and insert your own 3.5″ bare hard drives via the enclosed written instructions. SMART uses the same Raid Master software as PAIR. SMART must be AC powered.
Both PAIR and SMART have USB, eSATA, and FireWire 800 ports. PAIR’s power switch and activity lights are miniaturized. SMART’s are large and easy to use.
You must provide your own phillips screwdriver, and you’ll need to be a little geeky or have a techie friend assist with initial physical setup. Most users will insert their 2.5″ drives into PAIR and leave them there until greater capacity is required. SMART is designed so users can purchase an unlimited quantity of SmartGuider drive insertion brackets, for semi-modular operation and flexibility.
Here is a quick Q & A with the company representative:
Question: Are there any upper limits on drive speed and capacity for the small drives with PAIR? Are 7200rpm drives of the highest current capacity all operable? What about SSD?
Answer: No, there is no limit on drive speed and capacity for the small drives with PAIR; you even can mix them. The SSDs in the market vary in the specifications and the standard is not consistent like the hard drives. Some SSDs are able to be compatible with the PAIR but some aren’t. Currently we do not have the compatible list for SSD being provided.
PAIR’s Users Manual fully explains the different RAID choices: JBOD (Non RAID), RAID 0 (Striping), RAID 1 (Mirroring), and Span (Large). No physical switches need to be flipped using Raid Master software when changing from one RAID configuration to another. I chose to use JBOD during my tests of PAIR, and RAID 1 with SMART.
PAIR has no fan, so it is essentially silent. SMART has a very quiet fan. Both units run at a cool temperature.
Please look at each product’s web site for an overview, features, specifications, and list of package contents, plus excellent product photos.
I have never previously used a RAID. I was intimidated by all the geek speak and tech dreck. After reading PAIR’s manual and using Raid Master software, I was comfortable and confident using this RAID.
I did a full TimeMachine backup onto one of PAIR’s drives, and onto SMART’s mirrored drives. PAIR took 5:43 hours to copy 184.8 GB, with 1,433,573 items. SMART took 4:45 hours. SMART’s speed improvement is due to its faster 7200 rpm drives.
This is a first look Nemo Memo, not a review. These affordable Data Tale 2-bay RAID units are new products. MyMac will continue to use and report on them, as appropriate. My experiences so far have been mostly positive. The Data Watch company is very responsive to questions and suggestions.
PAIR is extremely portable. SMART is a solid desktop unit. The company representative reinforces that: “although SMART is a desktop unit, the hard drives are portable via the SmartGuider and swapping function, giving professional mobility on the go.”