This week I sold my old G5 along with a 23″ Cinema Wide Display, a BlackMagic card, Sonnet Tempo eSata card, and a Sonnet Fusion 500P populated with 5 x 500GB hard drives. It was a complete edit system including lots of fast storage, but as part of my “out with the old – in with the new” theme, it all had to go.
Hindsight certainly is 20/20 and I like to review technology after the fact to reflect on how well it worked. Overall my G5 was a great machine and it was difficult to let it go. But a couple of the components were very hard to let go: the monitor, and the storage…
The original Apple 23″ Cinema Wide Display…
…was an awesome monitor.Â As much as I complain about mac monitors, their high price tag and the singular input, I have to say that Apple makes good monitors.Â They last and they have good color.Â If not for the fact that this monitor was ADC I would have kept it.Â But I couldn’t let myself pay $100 for an adaptor that still only gets me to Apple DVI.Â Maybe if it were a breakout box that got me HDMI and other inputs, I would have considered it.
Almost three years ago I purchased a storage solution which consisted of an eSata card, an eSata mini tower, and 5 x 500 GB hard drives.Â I had originally intended to set it up as a RAID 5, but after I got it found that the solution wouldn’t do Raid 5, so I used it as 5 mounted volumes. The drives were fast and (thank God) I never had any data loss with them.
To prepare for the sale I cleaned up the Fusion 500 P and blew out all the dust. Taking it apart reminded me how well it’s made.Â It is completely modular.Â The fan is easily removed and makes it’s connection to power simply by plugging it in.Â Typicaly for these types of eSata towers, each of the drives is screwed into a tray which also slides into place making it’s connection.Â This make for easy clean up.
The unit holds 5 drives, all which run off a single multiplexed eSata connector.Â The accompanying host adaptor card has 4 eSata connections.Â This means that theoretically you have 4 towers with 5 drives each, or 30 drives.
To get my data backed up, I replaced one of the 500 GB drives with a 1.5 BG Seagate and moved everything over.Â Then swapped a few of the drives out and repeated to a second 1.5 GB drive.Â Each copy of 500 GB took about 3 hours.Â Since these drives are connected eSata, it’s best to shut everything down, then swap out the drive.Â Powering up requires that the drive be turned on first and then the system.
Speed-wise, the drives are quite a bit slower than a direct connected eSata, presumably because of the multiplexed connection. I never noticed it in use. They always seemed fast.Â I never experienced any drop frames in Final Cut. But under benchmark they came in around 40 MB/s for both read and write:
The Fusion 500P was the hardest to give up because the technology isn’t very old.Â The Fusion is still being sold today and after cleaning it up I realized that three years of use hardly shows. And all you have to do is swap out the hard drives for newer, bigger ones and you’re on your way to a 7.5 TB tower.Â Also, in my new Intel Mac Pro, a RAID 5 IS possible – so you could add in some data protection.Â But it’s gone now and I’ll be looking to replace it with something new for storage.Â Keep your browser bookmarked here for what I buy and how it works.