Vantec HX4 JOBD Review
I have a lot of media. Tons of pictures, hundreds of which I’ve scanned from old family photographs. Add to that, my entire CD and DVD collection, paired with all my digital purchases. So much media, it was all rapidly filling a 3TB external drive. And that old drive, previously so fast with Firewire 800, now seemed slow compared to a 2.5in USB 3.0 drive I have. Rather than add yet another external drive to my desk, I began researching ways to consolidate and expand what I already had. I have a 1-bay Qnap NAS that’s nice, but it’s not very fast. Even though it has Gigabit Ethernet, the slow CPU and small amount of RAM it has severely limits its speed. Most entry-to-mid level consumer/SOHO NAS’s have the same problem, unless you are willing to spend several hundred to over a thousand dollars, or more, on a higher end one. Unwilling to drop on a NAS as much as I would on a basic PC, I pressed on with the research.
As I read more and more, I figured my best bet was to crack open the 3.5in external drives I had, I get them all into a single inclosure. It frees up more space on my desk, and on the power-strip, while helping to lessen my pervasive wire rats-nets problem. I settled on the Vantec HX4 Just-A-Bunch-Of-Disks (JOBD) for several reasons. It has 4 bays, and supports up to 16TB in combined storage. The Vantec supports USB 3, and eSATA, while sporting a clean, not gaudy, look. The HX4 has a cylindrical appearance, making it different than the normal boxy JOBD enclosures out there. But, at the same time, it’s simple, with brushed aluminum, and looks pretty good. The reasonable price of $100 for a 4-bay JOBD didn’t hurt either.
Popping your drives in is simple enough. Just unlock one of the bay-trays from the back, attach it to the drive, insert the drive, lock the tray and go. Unfortunately, these are 1/4 trays – just long enough to lock in the back set of screws to the hard drive. It’s not as stable as I’d like, but, with care, it shouldn’t be a problem. After cracking open the cases and removing the drives from a few externals cluttering my desk, I had the HX4 loaded up and ready. Speeds are pretty good, as far as these thing go. I haven’t tried eSATA, but from a 2012 Mac Mini via USB 3.0, it can copy about 6GB of files in 1 minute – not too shabby. Some reviewers on Amazon complained that the Vantec HX4 would drop its USB connection randomly, especially with Mac’s. I can say that, in my experience over the last few weeks, with the Mac Mini running 24/7, the HX4 has been rock-solid, not losing its connection once since it was first set up.
Cooling does not seem to be an issue either. It comes with a 80mm fan that sits on top to exhaust hot air. The fan is always-on, but is controlled by a volume-style knob that varies the fan speed. At the lowest setting, the HX4’s fan is barely noticeable. At maximum, it sounds like a small PC running at load. So far, even while chugging along over a 2.5+TB transfer, the HX4 never got so hot I needed to crank the fan much over the minimum setting. I think the surrounding brushed aluminum significantly helps to keep the system cool. The only complaint I have over the HX4, and it’s a minor one, is the front LEDs are very bright. It would be great to be able to dim them.
All in all, it’s a solid unit, and a great buy at $100. If you have a bunch of old 3.5in Hard Drives laying around, or want to consolidate a bunch of external drives into a single unit – and, maybe, ‘upgrading’ USB 2 drives to USB 3 in the process, then you should check out the Vantec HX4. It’s well made, has an attractive and quality appearance, is simple to set up and use, and it’s as speedy as it gets right now.
- Quality built.
- Cool and quiet.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Reasonably priced.
- 16TB storage capacity.
- LEDs are bright, and cannot be dimmed.
Verdict = Recommended.
References [ + ]
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