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eSATA Dual Enclosure for Windows Home Server

January 4th, 2009

180px-ESATA_Logo I am filling up the 2 GB of space that I have on my custom WHS box.  Digital media is piling up fast especially the HD video from our Flip MiniHD.

My Windows Home Server box has two internal SATA drive slots which are both filled (1TB Greenpower drives) so I’m looking into external storage at this point.  I’ve got a bewildering amount of options and am trying to future proof as much as I can.  There are two main options that I can pursue to increase storage on the WHS box:  USB 2.0 or eSATA.  The main benefit of eSATA would be increased throughput for disk read/writes vs. the inherent line speed of USB 2.0.

ugt-st300-02 Unfortunately my WHS box (a Shuttle K45) doesn’t have an eSATA port built-in (doh! should’ve planned ahead).  I bought a PCI card that provides an external eSATA port and one internal SATA port (not useable in my chassis though) from Fry’s and installed it with no issue into my box.  I bought the Vantec UGT-ST300 (Vantec SATA/eSATA PCI Host Card) since my box supports PCI not PCI-E (again the latter would’ve been preferred.)

Then I set about to find a good external enclosure that I could populate with drives, or find an all-in-one unit that comes with drives.  I have too many choices to go with and still haven’t figured out the right answer.  One issue is that WHS has its own disk duplication methodology separate from straight RAID and I want to continue to stick with that to not introduce in any other issues.  However, since I’m limited to the single external eSATA port I think I need to support something called Port Multiplication but it’s unclear to me if my PCI eSATA card supports port multipliers or not.  On top of that I do have a bit of concern on both visual aesthetics 🙂 and more importantly on sound volume from cooling in the external enclosure.

Here is the list of options I’m currently considering:

SAT3520U2ER.small StarTech 3.5in Silver eSATA USB Dual SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure w/ RAID (purchase drives separately)

 

B_03_angleview_450.gif Thermaltake Muse R-Duo RAID N0006USU (purchase drives separately)

 

 

g4cemd_med Fantom G-Force MegaDisk eSATA / USB 2 (in 2TB capacity, drives included)

 

 

astb_webAddonics Black Storage Tower with 1 5×1 Hardware Port Multiplier installed ST5HPMES-B (purchase drives separately)

 

I’m leaning towards trying the Fantom drive first (cost is favorable since it includes drives), though the Addonics Storage Tower should provide the most forward options.  I am waiting to see if WHS comes out with a v2 and am guessing that it would make me buy entirely new hardware so am a little cautious about the drive investment.

If anyone else in the Windows Home Server world has made a decision like this I’d welcome the input on what worked for you!

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