Our home media server has four 400GB drives configured in a RAID5 array using an Adaptec 2400A adapter giving us 1.2TB of RAID5 storage. This media server’s filled with our pictures, songs, movies, and TV shows accessed via MythTV.
As is usually the case, MythTV is very good a illustrating how little space 1.2TB really is, and we filled it up fast. Soon I was deleting shows and files that I wanted to keep but needed to make room for the next ‘Days’ episode.
Of course, the Adaptec has only four ports, all filled, and this was plugged into a circa 2003 Xeon server with only PCI slots. Generally, they’re only building PCIe & SATA RAID cards so upgrade was out of the question unless I bought a whole new server. Further more, the system has an extended ATX motherboard in a case supporting only four internal drives. What a disaster.
Eventually I’ll get a new server but until then, the best, fastest solution was to simply hang a new 750GB drive off a cheapo PCI to SATA drive in a cheapo SATA enclosure.
Enter the Vantec UGT-ST200 PCI to SATA adapter and Vantec eSATA case. The adapter came in at ~$29 and the case at ~$49 at Frys.
The external eSATA case was really nice. The finish was perfect to the point that you didn’t want to touch it which is not something you want to do as its aluminum case _really_ disipates the heat generated by the 7200 RPM drive well. It came with a power adapter, USB, and eSATA cables. I installed a Seagate 750GB drive, plugged it into the USB port on my Dell e1705 with XP and transfered 350GB of data without a hitch.
The adapter has one internal and one exteral SATA port and the nice suprise was the included internal SATA to external eSATA adapter allowing you to connect two eSATA devices if desired. Physical installation was typical and Fedora Core 6 (fc6) found the adapter and drive the first time. I think the 150MB/s SATA drive is actually faster than the RAID array.
Now that I have an additional 750GBs in the server, I transferred all the things that I had backups for or didn’t care if I lost to it, leaving the ‘valuable’ stuff on the array.
Generally, the experience was positive and would not hesitate to buy both products again.