Drobo Revs Up To Firewire 800, Faster USB 2.0

July 8, 2008
David Schloss, Technology Editor

I fell for the Drobo the second I saw it at a photography trade show. The boxy enclosure wasn't flashy or extravagant, it was functional and it solved an issue that is paramount to photographers everywhere, "how do I store my growing collection of images without losing them?"

The Drobo is hard to describe in a single-sentence (I've tried) but here's the elevator pitch: The system is an enclosure with a built-in brain that takes any data you save to it and stores it across up to four standard SATA internal drives. The Drobo lets you know when a drive is getting full and prompts you to replace it, without having to shut the system down or stop working. If a drive fails, no problem, the data is spanned across the devices and any failed drive can be replaced, again without shutting it down. The enclosure has four slots and will support up to 16TB of data (when 4TB SATA drives are available).

The main knock against the original Drobo though was the built-in USB 2.0 port, a bit slow for the needs of the pro photographer.

This new FireWire 800 Drobo solves that problem with a new faster port. Simply plug the unit in, slide in some drives and you're off.

For those without a FW 800 port, you can simply use a FW800 to FW400 cable to plug into any FireWire based machine, which includes many PCs and all Macs of recent memory.

For the digital photographer with a growing archive, the Drobo is a powerhouse tool and the new FW 800 version makes the tool applicable for real time photographic work.

The latest addition to the PDN family, the PDN Gear Guide in print, has a total circulation of 30,000, and covers the latest and greatest in photographic equipment. Initially created in 2006 to be the official guide to PDN's annual flagship photography event, PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo, the PDN Gear Guide is now also available online for gear news and updates 365 days a year.
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