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First Look: CalDigit S2VR Duo 500GB RAID Storage

By John Virata

RAID based storage devices have always been a popular hardware addition to NLEs, DAWs and for those who need the fastest disk performance. Others need the security net of a RAID system that ensures data integrity, while others just need a lot of fast storage space. With the drop in hard disk space thanks to competition and consolidation, external RAID devices have come down quite a bit in price.

CalDigit, a relatively new company in the external RAID space, offers a device that will appeal not only to traditional RAID users, such as video editors, but also to digital photographers who need a fast solution that also protects their archived digital images. The system, called the S2VR Duo, sports two SATA 3Gb/s hard disk drives in a quick release cage that plugs into the S2VR Duo's enclosure. The drives can be quickly swapped out for more storage by powering down the enclosure and removing the drives with a twist of a screw.

The drives are caged, and slip right into the S2VR Duo.

What the S2VR Duo does is allows the company to go after several markets with essentially the same device, the difference being how the end user sets the drives up and what SATA card is purchased along with the S2VR Duo. CalDigit offers two cards in this regard; a PCI-e FASTA-04e card targeted at those who are doing uncompressed 10-bit SD video editing and need the fastest RAID 0 performance output from the device, and those with a PCI X-based motherboard, which is slower than the latest PCI-e based systems. Because digital photographers are more interested in data integrity the fastest solution is often overlooked in favor of a mirrored solution that better protects the data.

Setting up
The S2VR Duo was installed on an AMD dual core workstation. The RAID storage system works with both Macintosh G4, G5, and Mac Pro systems, and Windows systems. This involved placing the drives into the enclosure and latching them with the included screws, running the install disk, connecting the PCIx card, and connecting the eSATA cable. The install disk includes the Configuration manager that enables you to set up the RAID how you want it.

Configuration manager

The Configuration manager details all the pertinent information regarding the S2VR set up, including the status of the power supply and system fan, as well as the firmware version and the temperature of the unit. You can set up the manager to send you an email in the event of a drive failure, and you can also specify what you want the Configuration manager to do in the event something occurs. Your choices include automatically rebuild, manual rebuild (in the event your set up was protected), email notification and voice mail notification. From the Configuration manager, you can configure the RAID system. Your choices include Performance (RAID 0), Protected (RAID 1), and JBOD.

RAID Configurator

First Impressions
Digital Photographers will enjoy the protection that the S2VR Duo offers their image collections. The system is relatively easy to set up and is fairly fast for an external solution. It has a rated read speed of 148MB second and is priced starting at $449. For video editors with the fastest PCI Express-based computers, the company offers the FASTA 4e, a $299 card that supports 10-bit uncompressed HD, 8 bit uncompressed HD, DV, HDV, DVCPRO HD, 8-bit and 10-bit SD video. With this card, digital photographers can experience up to  148MB/s, making the S2VR Duo an ideal scratch disk for Photoshop. The RAID Configurator makes setting up the drives fairly painless. You can quickly change from RAID 0, to RAID 1 or JBOD, provided you archive any data that you want to  save, while the management utility keeps track of the integrity of the system. For more information, visit

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]
Related Keywords:CalDigit S2VR Duo 500GB RAID Storage, RAID Storage, external RAID storage


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