Super mini Vantec HX4 review.

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by terrastrife, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    This is the product:
    http://www.vantecusa.com/en/product/view_detail/488

    Initial notes:
    The top fan grille looks old school.
    The 80mm fan ticks, at max speed it's also way too loud to sit on the table next to you.
    Plastic tray handles feel a bit flimsy but you won't really be using them that often.
    Don't lose the countersunk head screws, you get one spare but normal drive screws won't fit.
    The eSATA and USB3 cables could be a bit longer.

    Performance testing using two Seagate Barracuda Desktop HDD.15 4000GB HDDs in USB3 vs ICH10R

    Large sequential reads and writes are excellent, less than 5% loss in performance, over 160MB/sec.

    Multi disk reads and writes I hit the PCI-E 1x limits of the onboard NEC controller at ~250Mb/sec.

    Small multi disk random read/write drops down to about 120MB/sec (this is about half the performance of the ICH10R) with extremely high active time. The Jmicron SATA PM and USB controllers are getting a work out here. I suspect in eSATA mode the performance would be much better.

    Has been rock solid the last 3 days reading/writing non stop, no drop outs etc.

    TL : DR
    Vantec need to release one with a SATA3 PM solution, otherwise, no complaints about performance here, they're super cheap too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  2. Aetherone

    Aetherone Member

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    Does it do any weird raid or is it a basic port multiplier?
     
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    terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    Its a Jmicron 391 port multiplier (or it should be from all my Googling), there's a version with RAID however (393).

    Topping out at 240-250MB/sec with 4 disks, I am hazarding a guess that the bottleneck here is the pcie1.0 1x USB3 controller, but SATA2 wouldn't be too far behind.

    It'll suffice until I get my DAS up and running.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  4. Dr Evil

    Dr Evil Member

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    Quite an interesting little review since I am interested in owning 1 or 2 of these units (non-RAID). Possible the inside 80mm fan is replaceable? Is the cooling effective enough with all 4 drives inside of it? Does the actual unit feel solid or fairly cheap? Given these are the cheapest external 4-Bay enclosures I can find I imagine its a 50/50 gamble on the quality.
     
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    terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    all 4 disks, two are 5900 two are 7200, have been cranking away for 2 hours now, the top drive returns no temp data, it may be a bug with the chassis, the middle to are ~45 the bottom is 38, i guess the top one is also around 38.

    It feels sturdy enough for the price (although this is because it's wrapped in aluminium), definitely could be better, no where near the quality of a 4 bay NAS however. as mentioned before the handles don't feel too great but they work. quality wise i would say its middle of the ground, what you'd expect from say a steel+plastic pc chassis you will get here.

    as for pulling it apart, there's 4 screws near the back on the sides and also the top where the fan is you may be able to pry open, or maybe remove the scrows and try to pry it). its running so i'm not going to pick it up and check the bottom.

    this is only temporary while i move files around and build my DAS
     
  6. mike-s

    mike-s Member

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    I wrote a follow up to terras experiences s I've had one of these for over a year. Unfortunately tapatalk crapped out and I lost my response when trying to post it.

    Edit : here is a subset, I'm not putting it all up.
    Good:
    Capacity,
    Desk is a lot tidier.
    It may be a plastic body with a metal skin, but it seems to be solidly built.
    Drives now getting active cooling.

    Mediocre:
    The slimline fan is a bit noisy and the speed control on the fan is a compromise, you either get quiet, or borderline inadequate cooling for all 4 drives being on the go. A 90mm fan would have been a better choice when they designed this.
    I'm a bit surprised that there isn't any internal channeling to help direct air over the drives a little more than just pulling air by them.

    Bad:
    Mine had a fan bearing die in under 8 months. I didn't bother with a rma and replaced it with a different fan. I could have hunted a high mtbf slim fan but couldn't be bothered and put a standard thickness fluid bearing fan in there and just used duct tape to hold the case top on the fan. It's a bit ugly, but does the job.

    Also as a hint, set your drives to spin down when idle and it reduces the temperature considerably.

    I give it a 7/10. Performance is good, but it is slightly amiss in execution.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
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    terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    Mike, did you have a problem with the first disk slot not returning temperature and complete feature set? I have no NCQ or complete SMART reading
     
  8. mike-s

    mike-s Member

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    I just checked and holy crap, it didn't have any smarts info for that slot.
    Also I've been using USB 3 and no matter the settings I've used, I realised that the thing just won't spin down
    I think I'll try esata next.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
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    terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    I'm thinking about forcing the cooling route into a Z airflow, so air enters the bottom on one half and exits out the top on the other half by blanking off half and half above the top drive and below the lowest drive, forcing air through the gaps between the disks instead of just going up around the sides.
     
  10. mr camouflage

    mr camouflage Member

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    I had one of these for about 3 days, then returned it. Didn't play well with OS X. Kept doing weird stuff to the second of 3 drives in it. I'd set it up to copy a bunch of files to it, come back after a couple of hours and find that the second drive shows the same directory structure as drive 1, but none of the files exist, and the files that were being copied to that drive were gone. removed drive, repaired it, tried again, same thing happened. Dont know if it was OS X or firmware or drivers, but erasing a drive twice was enough for me to not trust it.

    Also I found the cooling of the lower drives to not be great.
     
  11. mike-s

    mike-s Member

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    I've still not managed to get around to see how easy that sort of mod is. I've got plenty of thermoplastic around that I can cut and shape as needed. If I get it done I'll take a couple of happy snaps and put it up.
     

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