Though USB 3.0-based external hard drives, such as the Western Digital My Book 3.0 or the Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0, are getting more and more popular, those that can handle RAIDs are still hard to find.
Sans Digital announced Thursday two new direct attached storage solutions that are arguably the first on the market that offer both. They are the four-bay TowerRAID TR4UTP and the five-bay TowerRAID TR5UTP. Apart from the different number of hard-drive bays, these two external hard-drive enclosures both support USB 3.0 and eSATA connections. They are designed to host multiple regular size (3.5-inch) SATA hard drives.
According to Sans Digital, both of them also ship with two-port eSATA 6Gbps PCIe host bus adapters for computers without eSATA ports. Note that this add-in card supports the latest speed of the SATA standard and is therefore faster than that of USB 3.0, which caps at 5Gbps.
Unfortunately they don't come with an add-in card for USB 3.0, but Sans Digital says that they are fully backward-compatible with USB 2.0. By comparison, USB 3.0 is some 10 times faster than USB 2.0.
Sans Digital claims that, when used with USB 3.0 with the included USB 3.0 Turbo Mode software for Windows, which is designed to supposedly boost the USB 3.0 performance by approximately 30 percent, the new external hard drive enclosure can offer throughput speeds over 200MBps. The two units support multiple RAID configurations including RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 3, RAID 5, and JBOD.
The two new USB 3.0- and eSATA-based external hard-drive enclosures are available now. The TowerRAID TR4UTP is slated to cost $289, and the TR5UTP costs $349. Prices don't include any storage.