Product Review (September 2011)
Akitio - Taurus Mini Super-S
Dual-Bay RAID Storage Enclosure

By Kevin Nakano


Akitio - Taurus Mini Super-S Dual-Bay RAID Storage EnclosureThe Akitio Taurus Mini Super-S comes equipped with an extremely versatile interface, featuring eSATA, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 High Speed. This myriad of interfaces makes it an easy choice for those looking for maximum flexibility with a variety of products needing a storage solution. The Taurus Mini Super-S offers high performance RAID 0 striping and fully redundant RAID 1 mirroring for the ultimate in secure data protection. RAID 1 automatically creates a copy of all the data in case one of the drives fails. The small form factor measures a mere 5.25" x 3.5" x 2.25" (LxWxH) and runs fairly cool with 5400 rpm drives. There is no fan in the all-metal unit, so it completely relies on conventional cooling with a bottom heatsink to keep the drives from overheating. The 2.5" SATA hard drives can be replaced easily due to the removable tray system and the drives are kept cool by the extra large heat sink.


Akitio - Taurus Mini Super-S Dual-Bay RAID Storage EnclosureDrive Installation
The Taurus Mini Super-S case is just big enough to accommodate two 2.5" drives. For testing purposes, we installed two 640GB Western Digital Scorpio drives. The Taurus Mini Super-S package includes two HDD rails and eight screws for mounting the drives onto them. A small handle in the front of each rail makes it easy to insert and pull the drives from the storage bays. Once the drives are installed, a cover plate is held in place with two thumb screws.


Akitio - Taurus Mini Super-S Dual-Bay RAID Storage EnclosureRear Panel
The back of the Taurus Mini Super-S case has the cover for the drives along with all the interface connections. The input power jack mates to the universal AC power adapter (100-240VAC, 50/60 Hz) that provides 12V at 2 amps. A mini USB 2.0 jack, dual IEEE1394 (FireWire 800) ports, and an eSATA port are available. This is an impressive set of interfaces on such a compact storage unit. A small switch that can lock the RAID mode and prevent the user from changing the operation through the front user panel is also provided.


Akitio - Taurus Mini Super-S Dual-Bay RAID Storage EnclosureFront Controls
The Taurus Mini Super-S includes an attractive and easy to read blue backlit LCD display for easy device configuration, event messages and access to detailed information about the internal hard drives. There are only two buttons (Select and OK) on the front panel that are used to navigate through the menu tree. The HDD models and serial numbers can be displayed as well as the unit's serial number and firmware version. The unit utilizes Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology also known as S.M.A.R.T. to obtain data directly from the HDD and reports critical parameters such as temperature (in degrees C) from each of them. Our Western Digital 5400 RPM drives ran about 40 degrees Celsius, which is about 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not bad for a storage unit that does not have an internal fan. There is an option to enable/disable support for a 2TB drives for systems that do not support large volumes.

The RAID mode is adjusted through the user interface and requires a restart each time the mode is changed. When we first configured the unit, we were required to re-initialize the drives through the storage utility program in the Control Panel. All data is lost when the unit is reconfigured and the menu warns of this. In addition, a re-format is also required.


Performance
The Taurus Mini Super-S offers many interface options, but we focused on the eSATA and USB 2.0 interfaces primarily because the laptop running the test lacked a FireWire port. Our benchmark tests relied on an HP Pavilion dv7 (Vista 64-bit) running an AMD Turion X2 Dual Core Mobile RM-72 2.10GHz processor with 4GB of RAM.

Performance eSATA USB 2.0
RAID 0

46 MB/s
(89 sec)

23-51 MB/s
(223 sec)
RAID 1 49 MB/s
(90 sec)
22-55 MB/s
(228 sec)
Benchmarks
Our test file was about 4.5GB and we timed the transfer time and logged it in the table. The USB 2.0 interface was considerably slower than the eSATA interface using our laptop. We expected the RAID 1 speed to be significantly slower than the RAID 0, but they were actually similar in performance.

Conclusion
The Taurus Mini Super-S is a nifty little storage unit that offers both RAID 0 and RAID 1 options in compact design with USB 2.0, eSATA, and FireWire 800 ports. Now days, external storage is cheap, but virtually all mainstream drives have USB 2.0 with no other interface options. In addition, storage units that do offer RAID 1 capability are usually too large to keep on the counter, since they typically use the larger 3.5-inch drives. We like the compact design and the flexible interface options. The Taurus Mini Super-S is a solid design that worked well and with a street price of about $100, it comes recommended.

- Kevin Nakano




OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Laptop: HP Pavilion dv7 (Model: DV-1245DX)


Review at a Glance


Akitio -
Taurus Mini Super-S Dual-Bay RAID Storage Enclosure


Features:

  • Configurable hardware RAID controller (RAID 1 mirroring and RAID 0 striping)
  • LCD display for easy device configuration and access to detailed information about the drives
  • Critical parameters such as HDD temperature can be monitored easily with help of the LCD display
  • Utilizes Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology also known as S.M.A.R.T. to obtain data directly from the HDD
  • Versatile interface, including eSATA, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0
  • Hardware acceleration of RAID rebuild
  • 2TB volume option for systems that do not support large volumes
  • Extra large heat sink for excellent heat dissipation

Specifications:
Model No. Taurus Mini Super-S LCM
Part No. PDM-MSBU2OS-AKTU
Certifications
  • CE
  • FCC
Case material
  • High quality aluminum for optimized heat dissipation
Application
  • Two 2.5" SATA-I or SATA-II hard drives (1.5Gb/s or 3.0Gb/s)
  • Height: 9.5mm or 12.5mm
  • Capacity 20GB - 1TB per HDD
  • Two hard drive of identical capacity are recommended
  • Supports large volumes in excess of 2TB
RAID mode
  • RAID 0 striping
  • RAID 1 mirroring
Interface/Ports
  • 1x eSATA port
  • 2x 9-pin FireWire 800 ports
  • 1x Mini USB 2.0 High Speed port
Data transfer
  • eSATA up to 3Gbps (300MB/s)
  • FireWire 800 (1394b) up to 800Mbps (100MB/s)
  • USB 2.0 up to 480Mbps (60MB/s)
System requirements (PC)
  • eSATA: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • FireWire 400/800: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • USB 2.0: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Your hardware device must have the correct corresponding port (e.g. USB 2.0, FireWire 800 or PCI card)
  • eSATA Plug and Play support required for host controller
System requirements (Mac)
  • eSATA: Mac OS 10.4 or above
  • FireWire 400/800: Mac OS 10.2 or above
  • USB 2.0: Mac OS 10.2 or above
  • Your hardware device must have the correct corresponding port (e.g. USB 2.0, FireWire 800 or PCI card)
  • eSATA Plug and Play support required for host controller
System environment
  • Operating Temperature: 5°C ~ 40°C
  • Operating Humidity: 20%RH ~ 80%RH
  • Storage Temperature: -20°C ~ 70°C
  • Storage Humidity: 10%RH ~ 90%RH
Power supply
  • External power supply (UL, cUL, CE, TUV approved)
  • Input: AC 100-240V
  • Output: DC +12V/2A
Dimensions (LxWxH)
  • 5.2 inches x 3.5 inches x 2.2 inches
  • 13.3cm x 8.9cm x 5.6cm
Package contents
  • Taurus Mini enclosure (HDD not included)
  • eSATA cable
  • USB 2.0 cable
  • FireWire 800 cable
  • Power adapter
  • User manual
Remarks
  • In order for the computer to access volumes larger than 2TB, both the hardware and Operating System need to support large volumes (e.g.: Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.4 and above).
  • The Taurus Mini Super-S is not designed for one drive alone and only works when two hard drives are installed.


Company Information

Akitio
13965 Stage Rd., Suite D
Santa Fe Springs, CA. 90670
Phone: 562-802-3288
Fax:
562-508-4278

Product: Taurus Mini Super-S
Part Number: PDM-MSBU2OS-AKTU
Street Price: $100
Source: Manufacture supplied

URL: www.akitio.com
Support: Click Here


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