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First Impressions: CRU DataPort ToughTech Duo 3SR

by Thursten Kent on 10/28/2012

We all know have crucial our work is to us. Especially in the digital world we live in today. Having reliable backups and storage is something you have to invest into as much as any lens, or body. It should not be overlooked. I had a few moments to visit CRU DataPort a company that has been in the business for a while and known famously for their tough military spec. products.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things CRU had on display.

 

Tech Specs

Taken from CRU’s website

Product name: ToughTech Duo 3SR
Host Interfaces: USB 3 and eSATA
Data Interface Speeds: eSATA up to 3 Gbps
USB 3.0 up to 5 Gbps
Drive Types Supported: 2.5″ (9.5mm tall) SATA hard drives
LED Indicators (on Front): Power Indicator
System Indicator
RAID Indicator
LED Indicators (on each tray): Power Indicator
Access Indicator
RAID Levels Supported: RAID 0 (stripe) or RAID 1 (mirror)
Bridge/RAID Chipset: Oxford 936DS
Drive Trays Yes
Sliding-lock Bays: Yes
Operating System Requirements: Windows 7, XP, Server 2003/2008, Vista
Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later
Linux distributions that support the desired connection.
Operating Humidity: 5% to 95%, noncondensing
Kensington Lock: Yes
Power Switch: 2 position: On / Off
AC Power Supply: Input: 100-240V ~ 50-60Hz 0.6A
Output: 5V/3A 15 Watt Max (included)
Certification: FCC, CE, CTick
External Material: All-aluminum
Shipping Weights: 3 lbs sans drives
4 lbs with drives
Dimensions: WxLxH 3.5″ x 6.26″ x 1.34″ (89mm x 159mm x 34mm)
Warranty: 2-year limited warranty. See warranty statement for details and limitations. For customer service support, call 1-800-260-9800 or email support@cru-dataport.com.

Ergonomics


The first thing that I liked about this drive is the size. A little over 6 inches in length, and 3.5 inches in height. This is a really compact drive. The whole drive is made from a very solid and rigid feeling aluminum. I did not see any big gaping creases in the case.

In the front, (pictured above) you have three lights giving you indication for your RAID status, power and system which i was not too sure what it was referring to. The screen is non color and simply grayscale with a color backlight. The buttons on the front were kind of firm/soft to the touch. I did not have a chance to go through the menu system since all the units on display did not have any power to them.

In the front you have two very solid and secure doors. It took me a while to figure out how to open the unit. Which all you have to do is slide the black plastic buttons down which will expose and orange indicator telling you the doors are now unlocked. Press the door down and the drive will release. Secure, but difficult to access. I guess that’s the kind of thinking you design into your products when security might come to mind.

Here is a shot of what the drive looks like out of the mini enclosure. The tray system is minimal. It’s pretty quick to place a drive in the tray. A small part of the bracket goes around the side of the drive and you than place it in. My best description for it would be like a thing L-like bracket.  Speaking of RAID options, you have RAID 0 for maximum speed, and RAID 1 if you want to mirror your data.

On the back of the drive is eSATA/USB 2 hybrid connection, USB 3.0 which is also backwards compatible USB 2.0 and an on/off switch. That is something I like to have on my drives. I kind of find it annoying that when you plug in a drive that it powers on right away, I’d rather have the ability to turn it on when I want. This is a thoughtful feature. I also like that in the package it comes with different plugs so if you travel abroad you can use it in many different countries without a worry of blowing it out.

First Impressions

What I like about this model is it can be a good option for photographers/video makers who need a mini raid for on-the-go. My scenario for me is when I’m on a shoot and are making a backups of all my raw footage on set, set these up as a RAID 1 with some SSD’s and have instant backup for your stuff. I can’t speak much for the speeds of this unit–but I’d love to give one a test drive. What I like about the custom option with things like this is as the drives get bigger you will be able to swap in your own. That means you can use this drive more and more as your needs grow.

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