Drobo Mini and Drobo 5D Storage Arrays Have Thunderbolt and USB 3.0

With support for both HDDs and SSDs, they feature automated tiering

By on November 2nd, 2012 15:30 GMT

Drobo is known for its storage arrays, the same way Western Digital and Seagate are known for their HDDs, and the same way OCZ, Micron and many others are known for their SSDs.

Drobo's new storage devices, Drobo Mini and Drobo 5D, are described as the first storage arrays to possess both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.

Thunderbolt is twice as fast as USB 3.0 (10 Gb/s versus 5 Gbps), but is supported only by a handful of motherboards, plus Apple's systems. USB 3.0, on the other hand, is found basically everywhere now.

Thus, the Drobo Mini and Drobo 5D are compatible with, one might say, practically every relevant type of system out there. After all, USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with 2.0 and 1.1 ports.

The Drobo 5D is a “desktop workhorse” that, while it lacks RAID support, can hold five HDDs or SSDs at once.

Drobo Mini, on the other hand, can house four 2.5-inch SSDs or HDDs, or even hybrid drives (probably).

"With the Drobo Mini and 5D, we're adding speed to Drobo's well-known ease-of-use. They are the industry's first storage arrays that automatically and affordably mix and match high-speed SSDs, HDDs and Thunderbolt support," said Tom Buiocchi, CEO of Drobo.

"We created these products with the needs of creative professionals and Mac enthusiasts in mind. They're faster and more reliable than ever before."

Both new Drobo units have one USB 3.0 port and two Thunderbolt ports (each), plus hit-swap support (can change drives on-the-fly) and alert lights on the front (warn when the drives are getting full).

The Drobo 5D is priced at $849 / 660-849 Euro, while the Drobo Mini sells for $649 / 505-649 Euro. Anyone with too many videos and music files but nowhere to store them all may wish to take note, although we imagine business users will be interested in backing up their file databases as well.

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