Drobo 5C 5-Bay USB 3.0 Type-C Enclosure

Drobo 5C 5-Bay USB 3.0 Type-C Enclosure
Key Features
  • 5 x 3.5" SATA III/II Drive Bays
  • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C Port
  • BeyondRAID Technology
  • Built-in SSD Helps During a Power Loss
Designed from the ground up to be an affordable and secure storage array, the 5C 5-Bay USB 3.0 Type-C Enclosure from Drobo is equipped with five 3.5" SATA drive bays that support SATA III 6 Gb/s and SATA II 3 Gb/s drives. Using separately sold drive carriers, the 5C will also support 2.5" hard drives and SSDs. The Drobo 5C distinguishes itself from the other members of the Drobo "5" series through its single USB 3.0 Type-C port, which operates with data transfer speeds of up to 5 Gb/s.
$59/mo. suggested payments for 6 Mos.
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Drobo 5C Overview

Designed from the ground up to be an affordable and secure storage array, the 5C 5-Bay USB 3.0 Type-C Enclosure from Drobo is equipped with five 3.5" SATA drive bays that support SATA III 6 Gb/s and SATA II 3 Gb/s drives. Using separately sold drive carriers, the 5C will also support 2.5" hard drives and SSDs. The Drobo 5C distinguishes itself from the other members of the Drobo "5" series through its single USB 3.0 Type-C port, which operates with data transfer speeds of up to 5 Gb/s.

To facilitate data protection, Drobo's BeyondRAID technology enables single or dual-drive redundancy. If there are any empty drive bays, BeyondRAID allows additional drives to be inserted into the array, where they would be automatically configured. If all drive bays are occupied, simply replace the smallest capacity drive with a larger one and BeyondRAID will handle the rest. BeyondRAID is also what allows drives of varying capacities to work in the same unit, which helps enable future expansion as larger drives become available.

Additional data protection is provided by the included rechargeable battery, which helps protect data stored in the 5C's memory or cache. If there were to be a sudden power loss, the battery allows the Drobo to stay powered long enough for the cached data to be written to an included internal SSD. Cooling is provided by a 120mm variable-speed fan and once installed, the hard drives can be configured to spin down when they're not in use, helping to further reduce noise and energy. Also, the LEDs can be dimmed to reduce light pollution when working in sensitive environments. The Drobo 5C is compatible with both Windows and Mac, including APFS/macOS High Sierra, and also includes a 5.9' USB 3.0 Type-C to Type-A cable, a 100-240 VAC power supply that runs at 50-60 Hz, and a 9.2' power cord. Protection is provided by a limited 1-year warranty within the US or outside the EU, or a limited 2-year warranty within the EU, as well as 90 days of business hour tech support. Using the 1 or 3-year DroboCare warranty renewals, your Drobo 5C is eligible for up to 5 years of coverage.

General Features

Protection From Drive Failure

The Drobo 5C protects your data from a single or dual hard drive failures. In the case of a drive failure, Drobo will immediately rebuild data using the remaining available space. In the background, Drobo performs "data scrubbing and self-healing," which means it validates your data and repairs any inconsistencies.

Power Protecting Your Critical Data

Drobo doesn't just protect against drive failures, but also from potential data loss after a power outage. The Drobo 5C includes advanced battery backup technology that helps protects data in memory or cache. During a sudden power loss, Drobo protects in-progress operations by saving them to an internal SSD. The operations are resumed and written to the disks once power is restored. This helps ensure important information is safe and sound. The battery recharges itself and is designed to last for the life of your Drobo.

Economical Capacity Expansion

The Drobo 5C supports volume sizes up to 64TB and allows for expansion into this size. You can grow in to this, and provide only the capacity you need today. When more storage space is needed, simply add another drive, or replace a drive with a larger one. Drobo allows you to mix and match hard drives of virtually any size or brand. This empowers you to buy suitable drives when you need more space, instead of paying today for capacity you will not need until the future.

Second Volume for Backups or Full Disk Encryption

The Drobo 5C allows for a second, fixed volume size and limits the amount of storage space you specify for the second volume. The rest of the capacity is available for storing other files.

Two Ways to Use a Second Volume:
1. Apple's Time Machine: Specify the maximum size Time Machine can use for its versioned backups. This solves the problem of Time Machine slowly consuming all space on a drive.
2. Encrypted Hard Drive: Some information requires additional protection. A second volume can create an encrypted disk using Windows and OS X / macOS tools. Sensitive data is protected with a password. Access to sensitive data is password protected.

Simple Setup - No Tools Needed

With the Drobo 5C, 3.5" hard drives slide right into the drive bays. No metal drive carriers or assembly screws are necessary, unless 2.5" drives are being used. The Drobo chassis is constructed of metal and the magnetic front cover is easy to install or remove.

As Easy as Reading a Traffic Light

Lights on the front show alerts of what's happening, making monitoring your Drobo 5C as easy as reading a traffic light. Green, yellow, or red lights show the drive status, and each blue LED light along the bottom represents 10% utilization, showing how much capacity is consumed. Unsure of what the lights mean? Simply take off the magnetic cover and all the information can be found on the back:

"Actions Required" Indicators
- Green: No action needed, system is healthy
- Solid Yellow: Add or upsize a drive here soon, the Drobo is over 85% full
- Blinking Green and Yellow: Don't remove any drives, operate normally. Drobo is optimizing the data layout. You can still perform read and write operations during optimization
- Solid Red: Add or upsize a drive here now
- Blinking Red: Replace this drive immediately, as it has failed. Depending on the capacity of your Drobo 5C, your data could be at risk until you replace this drive
UPC: 816604020005

Drobo 5C Specs

Number of Bays5 x 3.5"
I/O1 x USB Type-C (USB 3.1 / USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gb/s))
Compatible Drive InterfaceSATA III
Form FactorDesktop
OS CompatibilityWindows
Security FeaturesKensington Security Slot
AC Input Power100 to 240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz at 2 A
Power SourceAC Adapter
Power Consumption120 W
Dimensions10.3 x 7.7 x 5.9" / 26.2 x 18.5 x 15 cm
Weight8.5 lb / 3.9 kg
Packaging Info
Package Weight13.85 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH)13.9 x 12.9 x 10.4"

Drobo 5C Reviews

1 year review

By Chuck
Rated 3 out of 5
Date: 2022-05-12

i waited until i had the unit for a year. By then you have a better understanding of the quality and ease of the product. When i received the package, Initially i had a ;problem installing the hard drives. they had to be forced in, they did not easily click into place. Even though this took some time, i got it done. Much more difficult that i had imagined. I am not computer literate, just enough to be dangerous. I did install 13 to 14 TB fairly easily. However one time after leaving the Drobo off line from the computer but hot the power source, i had trouble with one Hard Drive showing red. Finally i shut it down and then gave the unit some time, turned it back on again, and it worked. My problem now is that i was formatting a dvd disc, while multi-tasking. I accidently formatted the drobo. i did not catch it in time, and now i cannot retrieve the entire 14 terrabytes. It was so easy with windows 10 that there was virtually no recognizable warning that would have caught my attention. We tried to use a program at first that we hoped worked, but it stopped in mid-function in the middle of the night. We tried it again, and got thru it all, but all the files showed error 55. then i took it to a fellow to try his tools at work. one of the drobo hard drives slipped out during the drive over. He could not get anything to work. so now i am stuck and need help. since these files are all veteran interview, i don't have the money to spend. My money is spent on gas, materials, and mailing costs. I don't charge the veterans and never take money from them. any ideas? As of now i think i wasted $1800. i should have just bought an external hard drive instead.

Drobo 5C

By Tom
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2021-07-15

Waited a long time (with Covid issue) to get my 5C. Worth the wait. Love the ease of setting up & the huge amount of storage...

Works great for my photo collection

By Steve
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2021-05-28

Bought this to replace a nearly 10 year old Drobo. Moved over the drive array and it works great! Seems to be faster than the older one. I know there have been complaints about it's speed with video, but it you have a large digital photo collection and film scans, then this thing works great! I use Adobe Lightroom Classic, and it loads up the photos right quick. Glad to see that Drobos are getting back in stock.


By Rupert
Rated 1 out of 5
Date: 2020-03-18

This company does not honor their warranty. The Drobo box stopped mounting on my Mac and now I have a very expensive paperweight!! Their technical support was below par at best. I went around and around in circles, without them addressing / answering my problem. Their advice to me was to simply buy the newer version. NO THANKS!!! I will never purchase anything from these guys again. Google Drobo mac mounting issues to learn more.

Simple to use but SLOW

By Jim
Rated 1 out of 5
Date: 2019-07-24

These are simple to use but even with SSDs they are terrible performance

Best Inexpensive Backup

By John
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2019-05-31

Super easy setup and a perfect use for all those unused hard drives you have stored in your closet.

Works great so far -- except with a specific popular HDD

By Molly
Rated 4 out of 5
Date: 2021-08-28

I ordered my Drobo with two 8 TB Seagate Barracuda Compute HDDs, and also pulled an unused 4 TB drive from my desktop to start with. After formatting the drives, I started my data copy, but every couple hours or so, the Drobo would unmount or reboot or just stop copying. I tried different power cables, USB cables, everything. Then I saw buried in a forum somewhere that the Drobo units don't work with the Barracuda Compute drives. That would have been nice to know when I bought it! So I replaced those with two Seagate Enterprise Capacity 8 TB HDDs, and now it's working smoothly. The Drobo software doesn't do auto backup, but this allows you to use your preferred software. It creates a single disk drive across all the hard drives you insert, and the Drobo software handles the disk redundancy (you can choose single or double). It makes it easy to copy and organize data exactly how you want it since it's treated like a single disk drive in Windows. The unit is pretty quiet (to within the noise of your hard drives spinning). I'm happy with it so far besides the hard drive compatibility issue!

As simple as it can get!

By Patrik
Rated 5 out of 5
Date: 2021-07-22

You just put in the disks, connect a USB cable and format the new drive - then you're ready to go! The performance is about average and it's very simple to change to new larger disks of any size when necessary. It wasn't that easy to get hold of it, though. I think there's a world wide shortage of semiconductors which makes it hard for the manufacturer to produce enough new units.

See any errors on this page? Let us know


Can drives be added one at a time? Or do you have ...

Can drives be added one at a time? Or do you have to add a minimum number of drives to get started? I understand the data will not be protected.
Asked by: Steve
You would need to have at least two hard drives inside to get started on using this.
Answered by: Moe
Date published: 2019-10-31

Can you swap the drives from an older Drobo to ...

Can you swap the drives from an older Drobo to the newer model without a loss of data?
Asked by: David
Yes, so long as all drives are placed in the same order they are removed in, and that the model being upgraded to is equivalent to the previous model. Such as the D (direct attached) model would not be able to migrate to an N (network attached or NAS) model.
Answered by: dariusb
Date published: 2022-02-18

If I don't need daisy chain, should I just go ...

If I don't need daisy chain, should I just go with this over the 5D? Will I see any noticeable performance improvement with Thunderbolt 3?
Asked by: matthew
I’m no expert. Usb3.0 is good for 5 Gbits/s and Thunderbolt3 is good for 40. So how much speed do you need?
Answered by: Anonymous
Date published: 2019-02-03

Does the Drobo 5C provide a central power supply ...

Does the Drobo 5C provide a central power supply for all the drives inserted in each bay?
Asked by: Daniel
Yes, all of the drives in the Drobo would be powered by the power supply.
Answered by: Miguel
Date published: 2021-01-25

I have several Drobos, 5 & 8-bay. There appears ...

I have several Drobos, 5 & 8-bay. There appears to be a limit on volume size regardless of the composite size. Example: with 32TB of usable data space, the max volume is 16TB. I think this might be a Windows limitation, not Drobo. Anyone else observe this, and what is the way around it other than creating more volumes?
Asked by: Laddie
According to this document from Drobo, the maximum volume size is 64GB using 14TB HDD's. https://supportportal.drobo.com/retrieve/s3/knowledge/AA/AA-01124.html
Answered by: Miguel
Date published: 2021-09-19

what is the max capacity of each slot?

what is the max capacity of each slot?
Asked by: Johnny
not sure about the theoretical max, but I have 14TB drives in mine and it's all good
Answered by: Mark
Date published: 2021-04-18

Where would I buy the 'separately sold driver ...

Where would I buy the 'separately sold driver carriers'? It sounds like I need one for each disk I want to insert.
Asked by: Doug
The Drobo 5C 5-Bay USB 3.0 Type-C Enclosure BH #DRDDR4A21 does not use drive carriers. A 3.5 SATA drive will slide into the built in drive bays.
Answered by: Miguel
Date published: 2020-10-02

Has Drobo started to ship this model with a USB-C ...

Has Drobo started to ship this model with a USB-C cable yet?
Asked by: Craig
I currently am using 5 x 4TB WDC RED NAS drives with a 5,400 rpm spindle speed. Directly attached to my iMac-Pro running Windows 10 under Bootcamp, I typically see sustained transfer rates in the 220 - 240 MB/s range. My transfers are normally for video files that range in size from 3 GB to 50 GB with the volume being transferred often exceeding 250 GB each instance. When attached as a Network drive (1 GB Ethernet) thru an older Mac-Mini & MS Network Software using the provided USB Type-C to USB Type-A adapter, I see sustained transfer rates that are lower (90 - 120 MB/s) depending on Ethernet loading - I have 8 security cameras recording and displaying images @ 3k in addition to three Cable TV channels that constantly pipe/upload data to the iMac-Pro with an additional down load from the network to a Dune Video player (1 channel). There are three storage drives connected to my network [1 READY NAS, 1 DROBO 5D, and 1 DROBO 5C). READYNAS normally employed for access to files randomly which need to satisfy different performance expectations. Overall, it appears as if the 5C is an excellent option for extended storage at minimal cost and it is very easy to manage. Hope this helps.
Answered by: Gerhardt
Date published: 2019-01-31
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