Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Highpoint RocketStor 5212 Thunderbolt Dual Drive Dock


At peak, the drive pair transferred just over a gigabyte per second, much faster than the USB 3.0 version. With the Thunderbolt dock and hard drives, the speed of the transfer will generally be limited to the media, and not the bridge board as is common with lesser devices. The Thunderbolt version of the dock trumps both the USB 3.0 and, surprisingly, edges out the SATA-3 version of the dock, which, in theory, is capable of 12Mbit per second transfers.

Thunderbolt is daisychainable interface, much like Firewire before it. The 5212 dock has a solitary Thunderbolt port, making it either the last device on the chain, or only one.

This sounds good, but it’s $219, compared with $48 for the USB 3 version, though that requires two ports and apparently doesn’t let the drives spin down. I wonder whether the Thunderbolt version shares that problem.

I’ve been using several $38 Newer Technology Voyager S3s. The performance is good, but despite powering them with a Smart UPS and connecting them directly to the MacBooK Pro (no USB hub), I’ve had lots of problems with the drives spontaneously unmounting during backups.

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Thunderbolt can do anything you could do with a PCI Express interface, so I'm thinking yes, it could let the drives spin down. (Then again, this could just be a crummy USB implementation.) Thunderbolt commanding a premium over USB 3 is fine, but this is fucking yacht margins.

I've been having the inverse of your problems. My backup disk is a USB disk paved with FileVault (2). Even when I eject the volume (and opt-eject), it has a habit of leaving the USB disk itself mounted only without volumes, and to whine appropriately about not having manually ejected when the volume has been ejected and the cord pulled. Sometimes I see success by going into Disk Utility and selecting the USB disk rather than its single volume and unmounting, but not even that is a given.

@Jesper USB can let the drives spin down, too, so it seems like Highpoint must have a bad implementation, which doesn’t inspire confidence in their other product.

All my backup drives use FileVault 2, but I haven’t seen that particular problem.

@Jesper I used to have the same problem when “ejecting” my encrypted Time Machine backup drives. One is USB and the other is Firewire. Now I'm waiting a few more seconds before disconnecting the drive and it doesn’t whine anymore. I suspect it is unmounting two partitions one after the other, the second one being invisible, and if you happen to unplug the drive after the visible partition has been unmounted, but before the invisible one has been, then it whines at you. You can't rely on the Finder no longer showing you the drive, wait 15-30 seconds after that before unplugging. (At least it worked for me.)

@Michel: That has worked on occasion, but I have also more than once left it 10 hours to eject itself completely without success.

[...] previously mentioned the Highpoint RocketStor 5212 (Amazon), which is a dock for dual 2.5- or 3.5-inch hard [...]

[…] Dual Drive Dock USB 3.1 (Amazon). It’s the only USB 3 drive dock I’ve used that did not spontaneously unmount my drives. Previously, the only reliable dock I’d found was the Thunderbolt-based Highpoint […]

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