Question Add-on Hot Swap SATA Enclosures

Feb 18, 2019
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I have an slightly older Antec case that needs to be repurposed into a Windows Server 2019 Storage system. There plenty of 5.25 bays to use (10, with 6 available). I'm looking for a personal recommendation for dependable hot-swappable 3.5" SATA drive enclosures that can be added into the upper and lower 5.25 bays for redundancies sake.

example image: https://www.logic-case.com/Images/DBImages/Products/5535_1.jpg

I've searched online and there are many opinions both good and bad. I'm hoping for someone who has actually used these devices that can make a recommendation.

Budget is preferably <$100, but quality and dependability counts more (within reason).

Thanks in advance
 
How many drives you looking to use on the hot swap?

There are a lot of options to choose from. From (First number being how many 5.25 drive bays by how many hard drives) 2x3 3x4 3x5 options for under a 100. Check amazon. They have a lot.
 
Feb 18, 2019
15
0
10
0
How many drives you looking to use on the hot swap?

There are a lot of options to choose from. From (First number being how many 5.25 drive bays by how many hard drives) 2x3 3x4 3x5 options for under a 100. Check amazon. They have a lot.
I wouldn't mind having all 10 bays hot-swappable, but honestly I'll take what I can get (6? two 5.25 enclosures each holding 3 drives). I have searched Amazon, Newegg, CDW and the web. I know they are out there. What I need to know before dropping a few hundred dollars, is which brands (because I can recognize only a few) are quality, are engineered well (back plane, fans, protected wiring), and are likely to last. This machine will end up in a COLO center acting as a storage resource. I won't have access to it 24/7/365
This is why I posted here, I figured a hardware site would likely have legitimate opinions.
 
I'm really not sure the following info will be of any value to you in terms of your overall objectives and my incomplete understanding of the equipment you're working with. But just in case the following might be of some interest given your situation and objectives here it is FWIW...

The mobile rack model for removable HDDs (& SSDs as well) we use virtually exclusively on every desktop PC we build is the...
Athena Power MR-125PB
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817995104
$17.10 + 5.16 = $22.26

This mobile rack is a two-piece affair - a removable tray and the rack itself which is affixed to the desktop PC's 5 1/4" bay (identical to affixing an optical drive or some such 5 1/4" device). This model contains a small fan that is dead silent in operation. The rack is dead-flush with the PC case's front bezel.

So you can install any number of these mobile racks as long as a vacant available 5 1/4" external bay is available in your desktop case.

One particular feature we like about this Athena mobile rack model is that it's equipped with an ON-OFF power switch button, a most desirable feature in our opinion. Assuming a user is working with multiple removable hard drives (or SSDs) in their mobile racks and/or has also installed a fixed internally-connected HDD/SSD in his/her system, it's a simple matter to press the ON-OFF button and "on-the-fly" temporarily disable one or more of the mobile rack's drives without the need of using the rack's lever to remove the rack's tray (caddy) containing the HDD or SSD from the rack's internal SATA power/data connectors.

Of course should the user choose to do so it's a relatively simple matter to press the removable tray's lever release button and thus physically disconnect the removable tray containing the disk drive from the system, thus disconnecting the rack's HDD/SSD SATA data/power connectors from the mobile rack's connectors. A simple pull of the tray's lever is all that is necessary.

And should a user desire to employ additional HDDs/SSDs, he or she can simply remove the present disk from the tray and plop a different one in. Thus, users have an UNLIMITED number of drives at their disposal with this device. A simple no-nonsense procedure that's accomplished from their computer chair.

So with a removable HDD/SSD, one gets the speed advantages of an internally-connected drive coupled with the absolute security of the backup/storage data on that disk by easily disconnecting/uninstalling the disk from the system whenever it's desired by the user. Again, all from the comfort of their computer chair.

The one negative to this particular mobile rack is that it's designed to house 3.5" drives and not 2.5" drives (SSD or HDD), however, for nearly 10 years now we've been installing SSDs (or 2.5" HDDs) in the rack without any significant problems. In the past we simply cut up a couple of foam pieces (the type of stuff you frequently get as packaging material) and butt the pieces against the 2.5" drive so that it's firmly situated in the rack. Seems to work fine.

Another alternative is to drill two small holes in the bottom of the rack so that they're oriented with the screw holes found on the bottom of the 2 1/2" disk. Then screw the drive to the rack. Works quite well as long as you can properly orient the drilled holes with the screw holes of the drive.

And I'm aware of other users who simply use packaging tape for this purpose.

Lately we've found that by using adhesive strips (Scotch brand & others) to the bottom (rear end) of the SSD (or to the tray itself) works just fine. And it has the added advantage of easily removing the SSD from the tray and inserting another SSD in the removable tray if & when the need arises.

Should the user be working with a 3.5" HDD all that is necessary is to "plop" the HDD in the removable tray. While screws are supplied to fasten the drive to the tray we virtually never use them unless we're transporting the HDD in its tray over some distance. The 3.5" HDD fits perfectly in the tray without being screwed down.

Over the years we've probably installed hundreds of these racks in the desktop PCs we've built and for other users. We've encountered very few problems with these racks and found no negative implications involving performance & longevity aspects between drives installed as removable drives and drives directly connected to the motherboard's SATA data & power connectors. While the rack & removable tray are fashioned from hard plastic they've held up quite well over the years. We've have encountered very few defective racks/trays and they're used quite extensively in our operations.

I can virtually assure you that once you begin working with one or more of these mobile racks that contain removable HDDs or SSDs you'll never want to build another desktop PC that's unequipped with one or more of these mobile racks. They're that good.
Again, I'm unsure whether the preceding is of any value to you given your specific equipment and objectives.
 
Reactions: AJAshinoff
Feb 18, 2019
15
0
10
0
I'm really not sure the following info will be of any value to you in terms of your overall objectives and my incomplete understanding of the equipment you're working with. But just in case the following might be of some interest given your situation and objectives here it is FWIW...

The mobile rack model for removable HDDs (& SSDs as well) we use virtually exclusively on every desktop PC we build is the...
Athena Power MR-125PB
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817995104
$17.10 + 5.16 = $22.26

This mobile rack is a two-piece affair - a removable tray and the rack itself which is affixed to the desktop PC's 5 1/4" bay (identical to affixing an optical drive or some such 5 1/4" device). This model contains a small fan that is dead silent in operation. The rack is dead-flush with the PC case's front bezel.

So you can install any number of these mobile racks as long as a vacant available 5 1/4" external bay is available in your desktop case.

One particular feature we like about this Athena mobile rack model is that it's equipped with an ON-OFF power switch button, a most desirable feature in our opinion. Assuming a user is working with multiple removable hard drives (or SSDs) in their mobile racks and/or has also installed a fixed internally-connected HDD/SSD in his/her system, it's a simple matter to press the ON-OFF button and "on-the-fly" temporarily disable one or more of the mobile rack's drives without the need of using the rack's lever to remove the rack's tray (caddy) containing the HDD or SSD from the rack's internal SATA power/data connectors.

Of course should the user choose to do so it's a relatively simple matter to press the removable tray's lever release button and thus physically disconnect the removable tray containing the disk drive from the system, thus disconnecting the rack's HDD/SSD SATA data/power connectors from the mobile rack's connectors. A simple pull of the tray's lever is all that is necessary.

And should a user desire to employ additional HDDs/SSDs, he or she can simply remove the present disk from the tray and plop a different one in. Thus, users have an UNLIMITED number of drives at their disposal with this device. A simple no-nonsense procedure that's accomplished from their computer chair.

So with a removable HDD/SSD, one gets the speed advantages of an internally-connected drive coupled with the absolute security of the backup/storage data on that disk by easily disconnecting/uninstalling the disk from the system whenever it's desired by the user. Again, all from the comfort of their computer chair.

The one negative to this particular mobile rack is that it's designed to house 3.5" drives and not 2.5" drives (SSD or HDD), however, for nearly 10 years now we've been installing SSDs (or 2.5" HDDs) in the rack without any significant problems. In the past we simply cut up a couple of foam pieces (the type of stuff you frequently get as packaging material) and butt the pieces against the 2.5" drive so that it's firmly situated in the rack. Seems to work fine.

Another alternative is to drill two small holes in the bottom of the rack so that they're oriented with the screw holes found on the bottom of the 2 1/2" disk. Then screw the drive to the rack. Works quite well as long as you can properly orient the drilled holes with the screw holes of the drive.

And I'm aware of other users who simply use packaging tape for this purpose.

Lately we've found that by using adhesive strips (Scotch brand & others) to the bottom (rear end) of the SSD (or to the tray itself) works just fine. And it has the added advantage of easily removing the SSD from the tray and inserting another SSD in the removable tray if & when the need arises.

Should the user be working with a 3.5" HDD all that is necessary is to "plop" the HDD in the removable tray. While screws are supplied to fasten the drive to the tray we virtually never use them unless we're transporting the HDD in its tray over some distance. The 3.5" HDD fits perfectly in the tray without being screwed down.

Over the years we've probably installed hundreds of these racks in the desktop PCs we've built and for other users. We've encountered very few problems with these racks and found no negative implications involving performance & longevity aspects between drives installed as removable drives and drives directly connected to the motherboard's SATA data & power connectors. While the rack & removable tray are fashioned from hard plastic they've held up quite well over the years. We've have encountered very few defective racks/trays and they're used quite extensively in our operations.

I can virtually assure you that once you begin working with one or more of these mobile racks that contain removable HDDs or SSDs you'll never want to build another desktop PC that's unequipped with one or more of these mobile racks. They're that good.
Again, I'm unsure whether the preceding is of any value to you given your specific equipment and objectives.
While it doesn't directly apply to what I presently need, it does offer a valid recommendation for an another solution that I can see having need for. There are so many brands today that it's hard to know which are of quality and reliable. Thank you.
 
Feb 18, 2019
15
0
10
0
I've had my eye on that Rosewill one, less for the cost factor and more for its appearance that it would sit within the 5.25" bays. What concerns me with this device is how exposed the wiring is and 24% of the reviews giving it 3 stars or less. Silverstone is tempting if it can be placed in the bays.Thanks
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
I've got a Rosewill 4u rack and am not impressed with their 4 drive cages, at least not the ones in my rack or the extra one I ordered.
One of the ones in the rack, when I installed a drive it literally sliced the wiring that was mis-routed & went thru the cage instead of around it.
The extra one, one of the plastic trays snapped when I was trying to get it out. Someone jammed it in there wrong.

So 3-4 stars seems on the mark from my experience. I don't actually use the hot-swap, I just got it for the extra convenience when it comes time, so I can't say if it works well in the long run or not.
 

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