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Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation)

B&H # DRDDR3A21 MFR # DDR3A21
Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation)

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Product Highlights

  • 4-Bay Desktop HD Enclosure
  • Holds 4 x 3.5" SATA HDDs (not included)
  • USB 3.0 Port, Cable Included
  • Mixed Drive Size Utilization
  • Thin Provisioning
  • Hot Swappable
  • BeyondRAID Features
  • Mac and Windows Compatible
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You Pay: $263.99

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The third generation 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array from Drobo is capable of holding up to four 3.5" SATA I/II/III hard disks from a variety of manufacturers, with differing capacities, speeds, and memory allocations. You can install each drive without the need for additional tools or accessories. Each drive bay is also hot-swappable allowing you to replace drives without shutting down your system.

The Drobo storage array comes equipped with one USB 3.0 port to plug it into Mac computers running Mac OS X 10.7. or higher, and Windows computers running Windows 7 (32- or 64-bit), or Windows 8/8.1 (32- or 64-bit). Once connected, you can take advantage of the HFS+ file system for use with Mac computers and the NTFS file system for use with Windows computers. Additionally, you can see the status of the Drobo as represented by the drive bay indicator lights, the capacity gauge, and status lights to ensure your Drobo is functioning properly.

This Drobo storage array comes compatible with Apple Time Machine allowing you to create complete system backups directly from your Apple computer. You can even allocate a specific amount of data you wish to use for each system backup. Additionally, the included Drobo Dashboard software provides an intuitive user interface to manage all aspects of your Drobo from monitoring the status of the drives, to administrative tasks, and more.

Data Protection Made Simple
This third generation Drobo storage solution is built upon the enhanced BeyondRAID technology. BeyondRAID can be configured to protect against one or two simultaneous drive failures with just one click, automatically protecting your data without any user intervention. In addition, you can purchase the capacity that you need now and increase space by adding drives into empty slots, or by swapping smaller drives with larger ones. When you do, the additional capacity is instantly available.
Investment Plan
You can increase drive capacities with no downtime by adding or swapping in larger drives. You can also seamlessly upgrade to the latest platform Drobo has to offer by removing the existing disk pack from your previous generation system and moving them to the new Drobo. Upgrading to the latest technology not only provides an instant performance boost, it also delivers all the new features and benefits offered by the new Drobo.
Enhanced Time Machine Support
Apple's Time Machine can consume all of the capacity of an external storage system without a simple way to set capacity limits. By utilizing Drobo Dashboard users can easily allocate a specific amount of capacity to be dedicated for backups and preserve the remaining space for data storage.
Designed for You
This Drobo device has been designed to provide high capacity without taking up a lot of desk space. Its compact design is made possible through the use of Drobo's carrier-less drive bay design allowing drives to be installed very close to each other.
Power Protecting Your Critical Data
With integrated battery backup technology your data in memory or cache is protected. When power spontaneously goes out, Drobo moves any in-flight data to onboard flash in your Drobo so it will be protected. The protected data will be moved to your disk drives once power is restored. This ensures your important information is safe and sound. Additionally, the battery recharges itself and is designed to last for the life of the Drobo.
Drobo Dashboard
Drobo Dashboard is the single tool used to centrally manage all of your Drobo devices. Drobo Dashboard displays status as if all of your Drobos were right in front of you with the same status lights and capacity gauges that are on the front panel. All administration tasks are a single click away.
Integrated LEDs
Lights on the front panel tell you what's happening. Each blue LED along the bottom represents 10% utilization letting you know exactly how much capacity is consumed. Green, yellow, or red LEDs keep you informed of each drive's status at all times. You can also take off the magnetic cover to see exactly what each LED indicator means.
UPC: 851916004343
Drives Up to four 3.5" SATA I/II/III hard disk drives or solid state drives
Drives of any manufacturer, capacity, spindle speed, or cache
No carriers or tools required
Expandable by adding drives or hot-swapping drives with larger ones
(Drives sold separately)
Connectivity 1 x USB 3.0
Operating System Support Mac OS X 10.7. or higher
Windows 8/8.1 32 and 64 bit
Windows 7 32 and 64 bit
File System Support Mac OS X: HFS+
Windows: NTFS
Management Drive bay indicator lights, capacity gauge, status lights
Drobo Dashboard version 2.6 or later
BeyondRAID Features Thin provisioning
Instant expansion
Mixed drive size utilization
Automatic protection levels
Dual disk redundancy
Virtual hot spare
Data aware
Drive re-ordering
Power Requirements External power supply
AC Input: 100-240 VAC-2A, 50/60 Hz
DC Output: 12 V, 12.5 A, 150 W max
Fan Single, fixed, variable speed cooling fan
Additional Software Features Drive spin down
Dim lights
Hardware Features Carrier-less drive bays
Power fail protection
Kensington lock port for security (lock not included)
Dimensions (WxHxD) 5.0 x 6.3 x 10.7" / 152.4 x 160.0 x 271.8 mm
Packaging Info
Package Weight 11.65 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 13.9 x 12.0 x 10.1"
Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation)
  • 6.6 ft / 2 m USB 3.0 Cable
  • 6.0 ft / 1.8 m Power Cord with Power Supply
  • Limited 1-Year Manufacturer Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    Drobo4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation)
     
    3.8

    (based on 42 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (23)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (8)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (9)

    78%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Easy to set up (23)
    • Easy to use (21)
    • Quiet (16)
    • Attractive (14)
    • Compact (12)

    Cons

    No Cons

    Best Uses

    • Back-up (20)
    • Additional storage (13)
    • Photo storage (12)
    • Home (5)
    • Video (5)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Power user (29), Multimedia professional (4), Casual user (3), Tech savvy (3)
      • Primary use:
      • Personal (22), Business (16)
      • Computer Platform:
      • Mac (32), PC (6)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Drobo finally gets it right!

    I own two 2nd-generation Drobo 4-bay devices, and I've definitely had a love-hate relationship with them. Both Drobos had to be replaced at one point because of issues with the Firewire connections. ...Read complete review

    I own two 2nd-generation Drobo 4-bay devices, and I've definitely had a love-hate relationship with them. Both Drobos had to be replaced at one point because of issues with the Firewire connections. Fortunately Drobo's customer service did a good job of working with me (the second time around at least), but it was still a frustrating experience.The biggest problem by far though with the first two generations of Drobos, and a constant source of frustration for me, was the speed of the devices, or the lack thereof to be more precise. Both of my Drobos were ridiculously slow for both write and read speeds. I quickly realized I would only be able to use them for backup and storage of music, photos, and video footage (and NEVER for video editing), and cringed every time I had to make a large file transfer to or from my Drobos.Then I got an e-mail a month ago from B&H offering me $50 off a new 3rd-generation Drobo (since I was a previous Drobo purchaser), with the new Drobo claiming to have a new architecture three times faster than the last generation. I of course scoffed at this, remembering claims of increased speed in the 2nd-generation upgrade with the new Firewire connection, which never even came close to reaching the full potential of Firewire speeds (in fact the Firewire connection on my devices never surpassed USB 2.0 speeds). At the same time, I will admit I was a bit curious about the claims, and very much wanting them to be true. Not finding a single hands-on review of the new Drobo online to back up the new speed claims, I decided to be the guinea pig and pre-ordered one from B&H, thinking that if the speed claims were false, I could always return it (a dangerous assumption since the hard drive migration process is only one-way and I would not have been able to migrate my drives back to my older Drobo, something I'll get to in a moment). My new Drobo arrived yesterday afternoon. Drobo claims all you need to do to migrate your hard drives from an existing Drobo 4-bay to the new Drobo 4-bay is to make sure the firmware on both Drobos is updated, then with the power off on both devices just move your hard drives from the old one to the new one. I did this, powered up the new Drobo, gave it about 5-10 minutes for hard drive activity to die down a bit (the Drobos have different firmwares and different "architectures", so I figured it would need a little time to reconfigure things internally), and then ran my speed tests (which I also ran on the old Drobo right before migrating, and also periodically over the lifetime of the Drobo).I ran my speed tests with Blackmagic Disk Speed Test (and checked results with iStat Menus disk usage menu) with stresses of 1TB and 5TB (and ran the tests several times). For reference, these tests were run on four identical 3TB Western Digital Green drives with a combined usable capacity inside the Drobo of 8GB, of which I was using almost 6.5GB (so they were pretty full, which partially explains the super slow speeds on my old Drobo, though the speeds weren't much better when the drives were mostly empty). These were also tested on a 2013 15" Retina MacBook Pro (using Firewire connection of 2nd-generation Drobo and Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter... which I've actually gotten slightly better results out of than connecting the Drobo Firewire directly to my 2009 MacBook Pro). I migrated these hard drives from the old Drobo to the new one, and ran identical tests before and after the migration. These are approximate AVERAGE speeds:Drobo 2nd-Generation results (before migration):Read: 15 MB/s (peak 30MB/s)Write: 10 MB/s (peak 22MB/s)Drobo 3rd-Generation results (after migration):Read: 130 MB/s (peak 200MB/s)Write: 80 MB/s (peak 180MB/s)Again, I did nothing else to these drives but move them from the 2nd-generation Drobo to the 3rd-generation Drobo, and I was seeing way more than just Drobo's claimed 3x performance improvements. I'm not claiming that everybody will see such drastic improvements (though I hope they do), as not everybody may have been experiencing such horrifically slow speeds on their 2nd-generation Drobos. And of course there are a ton of other factors to take into consideration.The main point here is that this new generation of Drobo does seem to be a vast improvement over the previous generation in terms of speed, and it's clearly internal architectural improvements and not just the addition of the USB 3.0 port (as the Firewire connection was not the limiting factor on the last generation of Drobos). It took them long enough, but it seems that Drobo have finally gotten it right this time with their original namesake device!IMPORTANT NOTE FOR PEOPLE MIGRATING TO THIS NEW 3RD-GENERATION DROBO FROM EITHER 1ST-GENERATION OR 2ND-GENERATION DROBOS: If like me you are interested in buying one of these new Drobos for performance improvements over your current Drobo and want to migrate your hard drives, based on the migration charts on Drobo's website this is a one-way road... i.e. once you take your drives out of your old Drobo and install them in the new 3rd-Generation Drobo, you WILL NOT be able to migrate these drives back to your older Drobo.Also, for people wanting to migrate drives over from another type of Drobo (i.e. not the standard 4-bay Drobo) to this Drobo, you are out of luck, but interestingly you can migrate drives from this new 3rd-Generation Drobo to the Drobo 5S if you are considering moving up to the 5S in the future. Here is Drobo's official migration chart that shows which devices you can migrate drives to and from drobo. There are a few other things I've noticed about the new Drobo. First of all, there is a new feature that lets Mac users format part of the Drobo for use specifically with Time Machine (this way Time Machine won't eventually use up the entire Drobo capacity), but this option seems to only be available when you are first setting up new drives in the Drobo... i.e. this option is not available for people migrating drives from an existing Drobo. There are also a handful of new features in Drobo Dashboard (that only appear when a 3rd-generation Drobo is selected) that may be useful in some cases. Under 'Status', there is now a drop-down menu that gives you two extra displays on top of the original 'System Information', one of which is 'Drive Information' that allows you to check the status and info of your hard drives in each individual bay (it even displays the serial number and firmware of each installed hard drive), and a 'Performance Load' display that shows read, write, and IOPS speeds. Under the Tools menu, the 'Standy' button for older Drobos becomes a 'Shutdown' button for the new Drobo, which ejects your Drobo from your computer and then turns it off (rather than leaving it on in standby mode like it does with older Drobos). And a new option now appears on the left column called 'Drobo Settings', which gives you the option to rename the Drobo (but only for internal naming in Drobo Dashboard... it will not change the name of your Drobo in Finder), a new option called 'Dual Disk Redundancy' that takes up more space for backup (doesn't say how much, so not sure if this is similar to a RAID 1 setup) so that you can have up to two drives fail at once and still be able to recover all your data. This is grayed out for me because I migrated an existing disk pack... you would have to set this up when you initially install your drives in the Drobo. There is also a 'Disk Drive Spindown' option that will spin down the disks after a period of inactivity (again, it doesn't specify how long, and doesn't allow you to set this) to save power and disk life. And lastly there is an option to dim the lights on the front of your Drobo, and this one you can adjust, using a slider that goes from 1 to 10. These are the only additions for the new Drobo that I've run across in Drobo Dashboard.On top of the above additions to the new Drobo, there is also new battery backup technology included in the Drobo, but only time and bad electrical wiring in my house and neighborhood will tell how well this works.The exterior of the new Drobo is nearly identical to the old one, having the exact same dimensions and almost same materials. The only noticeable changes are the addition of a much-needed power button on the back of the Drobo (I always had to unplug my old Drobos if I didn't want them to stay on in standby mode all the time), and the presence of only a single USB 3.0 port compared to the two Firewire ports and one USB 2.0 port on my old Drobos). Overall I'm very pleased with the performance of my new Drobo, with even a simple task like browsing files on the Drobo in Finder feeling almost as snappy as viewing files on my internal SSD (a huge improvement over often waiting several seconds for a folder to open on my old Drobos). And obviously transferring large files to and from the new Drobo will be a delight compared to days of yore. Lets just hope that this Drobo is more reliable and durable than my last two have been.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    mixed feelings

    I used a Drobo 5D for the past 13 months to back up my photographic files. I do not keep files on my MacBook Pro running 10.9.4 since the SSD is not large enough....Read complete review

    I used a Drobo 5D for the past 13 months to back up my photographic files. I do not keep files on my MacBook Pro running 10.9.4 since the SSD is not large enough. Working from the 5D via Thunderbolt was as fast as working from the hard drive of the laptop. Wonderfully quick. Six weeks out of warranty the Drobo quit mounting on the desktop and access to my files was impossible. Drobo support prefers to work through emails. Trading one email a day with me was too slow and accomplishing nothing. I eventually got them to talk to me on the phone. After almost 10 days working together we were able to temporarily mount the unit. I bought the Drobo 4-bay so I had somewhere to move the files off the 5D. It's USB3 and not nearly as fast. I eventually got most of my 7 TB of work off before the 5D stopped working again. I could not face spending more time with support and let the rest of the files go. Drobo is currently evaluating the 5D to repair or replace. The 4-bay is not as fast but working fine mostly. There are still times when it'll suddenly disappear from the desktop and require a restart. The 4_bay also makes a slight rumble/rattle at times as the drives spin. The fan is quieter than the 5D.
    ...Drobo support-decent but not fast
    ...Drobo 5D fast and great until it isn't.
    ...Drobo 4-Bay, not as fast and only fairly reliable.
    Drobo's 4-Bay is not very expensive and will be fine until I get something else.
    I'll use it and the 5D to back up my back up.

    Reviewed by 42 customers

    Displaying reviews 1-20

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    5.0

    Single location to store all data... Priceless...

    By Click&Point

    from NYC

    About Me Power user

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact
    • Easy To Set Up

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

        Was using one of those docking stations for way to long, and after a huge data move. The drives were running far to hot. It was time to play it safe with my data.

        Not to sure why it took so long to get one of these, but it makes life easier.

        • Primary use:
        • Business
        • Computer Platform:
        • Mac

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        5.0

        Easy to use

        By Submission GSD

        from New Jersey

        About Me Power user

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Manage
        • Easy To Set Up
        • Highly Compatible

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • High Volume
          • Home

          Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

          Use as dual backups and additional files

          Dashboard - very useful resource to operate.

          • Primary use:
          • Personal
          • Computer Platform:
          • Mac

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          1.0

          Drobo keeps sucking

          By Translucent

          from San Rafael, CA

          About Me Power user

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

            Cons

            • Insecure

            Best Uses

              Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

              This is my 3rd Drobo. I had one previously completely die. Now I bought this new one, because I already had their software installed, and now it doesn't show up. Sometimes it does, then other times nope. I'll contact their support, I suppose, but after this much money you'd think it would just work. Nope.

              • Primary use:
              • Business
              • Computer Platform:
              • Mac

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              5.0

              AWESOME UNIT

              By Vantgae518

              from Albany, NY

              About Me Power user

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Compact
              • Easy To Manage
              • Easy To Set Up
              • Fast
              • Highly Compatible

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                  Within 30 minutes I had the Drobo up and fully functioning. And half that time was spent unwrapping hard drives. Lightning fast! I was able to transfer over 6GB in less than 60 seconds. I highly recommend this for extra storage. I use a Macbook Pro and am using this primarily to store video footage.

                  • Primary use:
                  • Business
                  • Computer Platform:
                  • Mac

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                  5.0

                  Love it! Got a second 3rd gen from B&H for a great price!

                  By BennyBoy

                  from Alameda, Cal.

                  About Me Power user

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Compact
                  • Easy To Manage
                  • Easy To Set Up
                  • Fast
                  • Highly Compatible

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • High Volume
                    • Home
                    • Sensitive Materials

                    Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                    Last week I picked up a second 3rd gen for a BF price of $199.(Thanks B&H!). It works every bit as well as my years old 3rd gen. What can I say, inserted drives, turned it on, and 4 minutes later it's up and running. What a great product!

                    Filled it with WD 3TB reds, and it's not as fast as the Toshiba 1172 model drive filled Drobo. 220MBps on the old 3rd gen, and 190MBps on the new 3rd gen.

                    Once again, Happy with Drobo.

                    • Primary use:
                    • Personal
                    • Computer Platform:
                    • Mac

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    1.0

                    ISSUES FOR DAYS! :(

                    By dlai

                    from oakland, ca

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                    Here's the deal, I got this drobo per advice from folks I trust when it comes to storing images from professional work.

                    I load in 4x 2TB drives and start the bad boy up!

                    It seems to be stuck in a reboot loop so I contact their support, which has been stellar with response with helping me troubleshoot. I get it to a point where it's stable and format the drives in the system excited to get started.

                    After my first shoot I plug in the system, and start experiencing the same issues again.. reboot loop, finally settles, asks me to format the drives AGAIN! I'm on tight deadlines with travel and it's been near impossible to get running and a huge headache...

                    I expected this to be a simple and straight forward thing since I've tried other RAID drive bays in the past and this is by far the most troublesome.

                    Tech support acknowledges that theres an issue with macbook pro laptops needing to be restarted once they fall asleep, otherwise the drobo goes into reboot loop.

                    I'm writing this review because I honestly haven't felt so frustrated with any professional product I've purchased.. really disappointed with how troublesome this setup has been..

                    • Primary use:
                    • Business
                    • Computer Platform:
                    • Mac

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Fantastic Quality and built for the long haul.

                    By BennyBoy

                    from Alameda, Cal.

                    About Me Power user

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Pros

                    • Compact
                    • Easy To Manage
                    • Easy To Set Up
                    • Fast
                    • Highly Compatible
                    • Very High Quality Design

                    Cons

                    • None That I Can Find

                    Best Uses

                    • Peace Of Mind Backups

                    Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                    I got this 3rd gen shortly after it's release. I've had a few enclosures over the last 20 years. None of the past products are anywhere near the quality of the Drobo. paid $278. from B&H, as it was the best price I could find. Setup was a breeze(less than 15 min). I'm running an 09 Mac Pro tower, with a Sonnet Allegro Pro USB 3.0 PCIe card. All working well with better than 220MB read/write speeds. I'm running four Toshiba Fast 6g SATA 2Tb drives. The Drives are dead silent, and so is the Drobo. Only problem I've had was with the Drobo dashboard software, as the text was not showing up. Turned out to be a corrupted Arial font in my OS(10.11.1). I'd rather see the Gen3 costing $229., but at less than $300. there's really nothing better. I've messed with most of the other competing brands, and some are faster, some are more generic, but none have what the Drobo offers(imo).

                    • Primary use:
                    • Personal
                    • Computer Platform:
                    • Mac

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                    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    1.0

                    JUNK

                    By ric

                    from california

                    Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                    This company have the worse customer service i ever deal with. You will spend more than 1k in one hard drive that doesn't last one year and when something happen (for sure last than one year) you will realize that you got some junk in your hand with nothing to do it. The customer service will refuse to talk to you and will hang out as soon they realize that you don't have warranty .... So save your time and money buy a different product with a better customer service. You will thanks me for that .....

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                    5.0

                    Easy to setup, fast and affordable

                    By Bryan Esler Photo

                    from Grand Rapids, MI

                    About Me Power user

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Compact
                    • Easy To Manage
                    • Easy To Set Up
                    • Fast
                    • Highly Compatible

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • High Volume
                      • Home
                      • Sensitive Materials

                      Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                      Absolutely no reason to upgrade to the 5N or Thunderbolt version of this. The USB 3.0 version works like a charm, is easy to setup, and is super speedy at half the price!

                      Reasonably quiet, though you do hear it churning in the background if it's close to your computer. Takes up minimal desk space as well.

                      • Primary use:
                      • Business
                      • Computer Platform:
                      • Mac

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                      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      3.0

                      It works but can give you pause

                      By Just Another User

                      from Oakland CA

                      About Me Power user

                      Verified Reviewer

                      Pros

                      • Awesome User Forums
                      • Compact
                      • Easy To Manage
                      • Easy To Set Up
                      • Hardware Is Solid
                      • No Sort Order For Drives
                      • Quieter
                      • Speed Somewhat Improved
                      • Stays Cool
                      • Use Various Size Drives

                      Cons

                      • Mediocre Factory Support
                      • Slower Than A Proper Raid
                      • Software Needs Work

                      Best Uses

                      • Home
                      • Small Networks
                      • Storage Of Mucho Media
                      • Streaming Of Much Media

                      Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                      I've had the Gen 3 4-Bay for over six months now, and it's performed very well on a USB 3 bus. It's noticeably faster than my Gen 2 Drobo using FW 800, but it's still not FAST.

                      As it's USB3 only (USB2 compatible) there is no pass-thru as in the G2 with FW or 5D's Thunderbolt. A good hub is needed (preferably powered) if you've got a lot of USB accessories.

                      Besides a modest speed increase, a plus for the G3 no sort order of hard drives is needed when migrating from one Drobo (a G2) to the G3. It's a small thing but appreciated.

                      The hardware is solid. The fan is quieter than my G2 to the point where I now hear the drives spin up/down and read/write more. It's not annoying to me and will vary with various drives used. YMWV.

                      There appears to be no significant speed advantage in using all 7200prm drives. The spin up delay is noticeable. The 5D's optional SSD may improve that, but speed is mi$$ion critical, this is not for you, especially if doing video editing. So I stick with "green" drives which are generally cheaper and definitely cooler. The G3's fan doesn't run nearly as often as my G2's fan. (But both stay cool.)

                      I stream music and video from the Drobos with absolutely no issues other than first waking them up. Both do get slower when the capacity gets down to 20-15%. Windows with a lot of files will be a little slow to populate. It can take your breath away when a window opens and it's empty. Then a couple of seconds later all the files pop up. < whew!>

                      There is a noticeable speed increase in the provisioning of a new drive. If I add a drive to the G2, it can take *days* before the lights go steady green. A 4TB drive in the G2 took over a week, but in the G3 the same drive took only a few hours.

                      While the Drobo is provisioning a new drive (the Yellow and Green LEDs blink alternately) you can still access or add data (this does increase the provisioning time) but the data is vulnerable to loss in a power failure, in this mode. So the quicker that cycle completes the better off you are.

                      The software (other than the Drobo's OS) is weak. The main Drobo app is neither Mac nor Window like, and is less than intuitive. There is a small learning curve to understanding the actual capacity. You see figures like 20TB only to find actual storage is closer to 14TB. The bottom of an open Mac window does not display correctly display the remaining capacity. Drobo documentation doesn't make this clear enough.

                      When a drive reaches maximum capacity (Drobo will always warn you at 15% remaining capacity) one of the four yellow LEDs light. According to Drobo, the light illuminates next to the drive that needs to be replaced. But this has never been the case for me. It's *always* the top LED even if the actual smallest drive (the one you replace first) is on the bottom. This can be misleading to the uninformed.

                      I haven't had much need for Drobo Support, but it's been mediocre for me. On the other hand, the Drobo Community forums have been a great help, as far as advice and knowledge are concerned.

                      Some say… If your data doesn't exist in two places it's not backed up. All I know is… Critical data needs to live in at least *two* backups as well as wherever it's stored locally. The Drobo is good and dead simple but no device is perfect.

                      Four stars for the hardware, two for the software gives it three stars for me. Even so, I'm about to order my third Drobo from B&H, another G3.

                      • Primary use:
                      • Personal
                      • Computer Platform:
                      • Mac

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                      (2 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      1.0

                      Don't waste your time. These are junk

                      By Disgruntled Drobo owner

                      from Florida

                      About Me Power user

                      Verified Reviewer

                      Pros

                        Cons

                        • Flaky

                        Best Uses

                        • Paperweight

                        Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                        When I first received this, I had a hard time getting my PC to recognize it. When I finally did I liked it. However, I had a power surge and even though my PC didn't reboot, the Drobo died. I even had the Drobo plugged into a Monster surge protector. Still, it's deader than a doornail. The unit has a one-year warranty so I contacted support and all they do is give me a run-around and even when I mention it's under warranty and the unit needs to be replaced, they tell me to try unplugging it and plugging it back in. In other words, their customer support is a joke and they have no intention of honoring the warranty. If you have data you want to store, send it to the cloud. All my data is now gone and I'm not going to buy another Drobo.

                        • Primary use:
                        • Personal
                        • Computer Platform:
                        • PC

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                        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Best 4 Bay RAID Solution for USB 3

                        By Armand

                        from Riverside, CA

                        About Me Power user

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy To Manage
                        • Easy To Set Up
                        • Fast
                        • Flexible Configuration
                        • Highly Compatible

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Home
                          • Small Networks

                          Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                          I love this product. Beyond RAID, Drobo's RAID technology, is so much more than a typical RAID array. When I ordered this unit, I did so with no drives. I then broke the case on a couple 500GB USB external drives, and used those drives in the Drobo. The Drobo system partitions the drive as a single 16 TB drive. The free space is reported wrong in the OS, since it is unaware of the physical layout of the actual disks. Drobo partitioned my array as a mirrored 500GB drive. I then found a 250GB drive in an old PC, and added it, and now had 750GB of storage. Then one of my 500 GB drives failed (no surprise) so I removed it, and order two 3TB drives. When they arrived, I added one of the 3TB drives, waited for it to rebuild,Removed the 250GB drive, waited for it rebuild, then added the 2nd 3TB drive. Soon after I tore apart a 4TB external drive, and installed the drive into the final bay. I now have 6TB of protected data. My next update will be another 4TB drive to replace my 500GB which will get me more space than I will know what to do with for a very long time.

                          I use this drive as my TimeMachine backup drive for my Mac Server, and TimeMachine backup for all my other Mac via Time Machine server servers. I still have plenty of free storage and can rest easy knowing hat as my needs grow, my drive can grow w/o having to repartition my drive.

                          • Primary use:
                          • Personal
                          • Computer Platform:
                          • Mac

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                          (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          1.0

                          Nightmare update to my last review

                          By yspm

                          from Northern VA

                          About Me Power user

                          Verified Reviewer

                          Pros

                          • Pretty

                          Cons

                          • Complicated To Set Up
                          • Does not work

                          Best Uses

                          • none

                          Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                          Still working with Drobo warranty service 6 months after purchase, and though I have seen it work briefly, I still have not got the thing up reliably. What a nightmare this has been. The target environment is Windows 7 and an Intel MB. Hardly exotic. The latest development is that they want me to start paying for extended warranty support. I have sought help from B&H but it has been so long they probably can't help. I think I will throw in the towell on this one and deduct my $[$]as a business loss and buy something else. Some people have drobos that work, but read the reviews - many simply don't work. Go ahead and buy one, but I advise Las Vegas craps as having better odds of not wasting your money.

                          • Primary use:
                          • Personal
                          • Computer Platform:
                          • PC

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                          (1 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          1.0

                          Not up to specifications

                          By GuyJr

                          from Dallas

                          About Me Power user

                          Verified Reviewer

                          Pros

                          • attractive design
                          • Good Marketing

                          Cons

                          • Incompatible With Windows
                          • Slow

                          Best Uses

                          • Any Usb 2 Requirement

                          Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                          After calling Drobo, I loaded two 6 terrabyte drives in the Drobo. That went well.Three items prompt the 1 star review.1. Windows claims 15.9 TB capacity. It should claim less then 6 TB capacity. Clearly the Drobo firmware doesn't understand the windows interface. This product was released more than a year ago. This should have been fixed long ago.2. The USB 3.0 specification supports transfer speeds up to 625 MB/s. The Drobo, as configured, supports only 40 MB/s. That is not what I purchased! Other reviewer's have reported drive incompatibility issues. This, again, links to a Drobo firmware or design issue. I see no reason to purchase different drives in the perhaps vain attempt for better throughput.3. There are many other sour reviews echoing my sentiments.So rather than waste more time and money on a poorly designed device, I'll simply sell it [[*]] and move on.

                          • Primary use:
                          • Business
                          • Computer Platform:
                          • PC

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                          5.0

                          Great Storage Device

                          By Eddie B

                          from Houston, Tx

                          About Me Casual User

                          Verified Reviewer

                          Pros

                          • Compact
                          • Easy To Set Up
                          • Economical
                          • Looks great
                          • Quiet

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Bulk Data Storage
                            • Photography Backup

                            Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                            I bought my Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation)at a great price from B&H a few months ago and absolutely love it. It was easy to set up and I love the Drobo Dashboard for formatting and monitoring my hard drives. I loaded my Drobo with Western Digital 3TB RE SATA 3.5" Hard Drives and have not had any problems.

                            • Primary use:
                            • Personal
                            • Computer Platform:
                            • Mac

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                            4.0

                            Easy as can be

                            By EJRStein

                            from Washington, DC

                            About Me Power user

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Incredibly Easy

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Additional Storage
                              • Backup
                              • Photo Storage

                              Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                              Easy setup, simply insert drives and the Drobo does the rest. The hard part will be keeping my kids from cluttering it up. It is always wonderful when something works so easily and seamlessly. I would definitely recommend Drobo for anyone who needs a mas storage/backup solution

                              • Primary use:
                              • Business
                              • Computer Platform:
                              • Mac

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                              4.0

                              Solid RAID with the all the Drobo fancy

                              By Omegaman

                              from San Francisco, CA

                              About Me Power user

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Attractive Design
                              • Easy To Set Up
                              • Easy to use
                              • Quiet

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Additional Storage
                                • Backup

                                Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                                Set up was easy. I was upgrading from a FW800 Drobo and transferring the drives kept the volume intact. Early tests show actual USB 3.0 speeds. Solid option for the price.

                                • Primary use:
                                • Personal
                                • Computer Platform:
                                • Mac

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                                5.0

                                Long time coming

                                By JeremyH78

                                from Seattle, WA

                                About Me Casual user

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Attractive Design
                                • Easy To Set Up
                                • Easy to use
                                • Quiet

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Additional Storage
                                  • Backup

                                  Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                                  This is an upgrade from my Gen 1 Drobo that served me well throughout the years until I recently attached it to a newly purchased Mac Mini. It seemed to be spinning the fan a lot and my Mac wasn't really recognizing it. After a lot of troubleshooting I realized it was no longer the solution for me and the newest 4 Bay Drobo, which now supports Time Machine, is really what I need. I was able to drop my old HDDs right in and upgrade Drobo Dashboard to allow me to create the Time Machine partition. Seems to be working well.

                                  • Primary use:
                                  • Personal
                                  • Computer Platform:
                                  • Mac

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                                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  4.0

                                  Drobo Greatness

                                  By Edibro

                                  from Springfield MA

                                  Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                                  This drobo is even better than my first gen. It's super easy to setup. I just turned it off, popped in my drives from my old drobo, and started it up. Bam! All my data was back! Quiet and efficient.

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                                  5.0

                                  Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage

                                  By Robert

                                  from Saxonburg, PA

                                  About Me Power user

                                  Verified Buyer

                                  Pros

                                  • Attractive Design
                                  • Compact
                                  • Easy To Set Up
                                  • Easy to use
                                  • High Capacity
                                  • Quiet

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Additional Storage
                                    • Backup
                                    • File Transfer
                                    • Photo Storage
                                    • Video

                                    Comments about Drobo 4-Bay USB 3.0 Storage Array (3rd Generation):

                                    Excellent storage for photographer that needs to have large storage for photos. Expandable.

                                    • Primary use:
                                    • Business
                                    • Computer Platform:
                                    • PC

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