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Date: October 15th, 2008
Article by: Jackie Mueller (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Norco
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING



Trays are released by giving a gentle tug on the blue latch and pulling it straight out. Unlike similar products I've reviewed, no sort of tray locking mechanism is built into the DS-500. This is not a huge issue if the unit will be kept in a secure area, but I did want to point it out.



Once the tray is removed, the drive is fastened to it with screws. Once secured, it's just a matter of inserting the tray back into the unit until it clicks in place.


Since no software CD or documentation was included, I was on my own as far as finding the right drivers for the PCI card and RAID software for the DS-500. This proved to be a frustrating task since the included PCI card was a different model than what was specified in the PDF manual on Norco 's website. Eventually, I found the correct software and would like to provide the link here:


PCI-E interface card drivers and SATA RAID software: http://www.siliconimage.com/support/supportsearchresults.aspx?pid=32



The first order of business is to install the drivers for the PCI card. This process is the same as installing a driver for any other expansion card in Windows XP.



Creating a RAID array is done via software; it cannot be done from the unit itself. If no array is defined it will default to a JBOD configuration.



Besides JBOD, RAID0/1/5/10 is also available. Multiple RAID groups can be configured; up to 8 per controller. I set up RAID5 with three Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB drives for this review.



When the DS-500 is powered on, the LCD displays some basic information like temperature, fan speed, and uptime. It is bright, clear, and quite nice looking.


For testing, a large file was transferred to and from the enclosure and the times recorded. For comparison, I first transferred a 4.35GB file between two internal SATA hard drives in my Windows XP PC. It took 1 minute, 38 seconds. Let's see how that compares to transferring files to and from the DS-500:


4.35GB File Transfer (eSATA, RAID 5)

 

Time (minutes:seconds)

Write to external drive

8:24

Read from external drive

1:37


Transfer speeds are well within acceptable operating range and the read speed was especially good. Speeds will vary slightly from system to system, but this gives a basic idea of what to expect from an out of the box setup.

 

 


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