There are fancy enclosures that hold several drive units and use a variety of schemes that fall under the general acronym RAID to protect data from the failure of a single drive. Most of those enclosures have loud fans, and all of them cost a lot of money. Where does a cheap bastard go when he wants RAID 5, quiet and cheap?
- Assembling an iomega Mac Companion Enclosure.
- Iomega's Mac Companion hard drive nicely complements the Mac.
- Press Release.
He buys a bunch of inexpensive but high-quality disks, puts them in inexpensive but high-quality quiet enclosures, and uses SoftRaid to turn them into a single virtual disk with reasonable protection from disaster. After a little research, I found the right drives Seagate bulletproof datacenter-rated blah blah blah and the right enclosure: What is great about this enclosure is that it has TWO firewire connectors, so you can daisy-chain them and connect many drives to a single firewire port on the host computer.
Music to cheap-bastard ears, and not found on other enclosures at any price. Plus, you can buy them cheap on eBay in any quantity you might want, while supplies last. The packaging looks as though they might have been planning to sell empty enclosures, but the documentation and even some of the text on the box is clearly written with the assumption that the drive is already in there and everything is assembled.
So, you have packaging clearly designed to contain an empty, partially-disassembled hard drive enclosure, and instructions clearly for a pre-assembled unit. Perhaps some last, desperate attempt to sell an inventory of enclosures the company could no longer afford to fill.
The only intern left to handle the packaging had no idea what to do about the instructions. As for assembly, there are no instructions. Not in the box, not online.
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Until now! By my third enclosure, assembly was actually pretty easy. As a public service to anyone else who might have jumped on this deal, here are step-by-step instructions.
Step 0: Survey the stuff. When you open the box you will see parts in two groups: The bottom section includes the plastic base, the metal housing, and the circuit board, which is attached to the bottom of the aluminum inner shell.
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The top section has an aluminum inner shell top and the plastic lid for the enclosure. A hard drive mechanism, inside a protective metal inner shell, inside a sturdy enclosure with lights on the front. With that in mind, we will be building from the middle out. Yes, I thought of Silicon Valley when I wrote that.
Review: $7 Iomega Mac Companion Hard Drive Enclosure | Low End Mac
Step 1: Start by disassembling the bottom parts even further. Carefully pop the plastic base out of the outer metal housing, then slip the circuit board with inner shell off the plastic base. This is the step that took me three tries to learn. After this, everything is actually pretty obvious. Step 2: Set the hard drive onto the white shield over the circuit board and slide it forward onto its connector. Step 3: Slide the top inner shell over the drive unit with the little pigtail cable sticking out the slot in the side. At this point, you have something that looks like this:. Step 4: If you look at the picture, you will see a screw holding the drive in place.
The enclosure does not include the screws, but they are a standard size. I resolve to not use that drive as a maraca, and all will be well.
Review: Iomega Mac Companion
Step 5: Slip your well-shielded hard drive assembly back onto the plastic base. Fiddle with things until the connectors line up with the holes in the base. Step 6: The tiny circuit board fits into a slot in the plastic base. Note that there is a wee indentation in the board at one end; that part goes DOWN, where it seats neatly on a plastic fin:.
Step 7: Those go into the holes in the front of the housing, and as you put the housing down over the plastic base the odd plastic bit will slide into the holder directly in front of the circuit board from step 6. Files transfer speeds were pretty impressive overall. Through USB 2. In the AJA system test, it recorded a write speed of The Companion excelled when connected using FireWire It obtained the fastest read speeds of any drive we tested this year, posting a speed of The only two areas where the device stumbled were in price and convenience.
Despite its price, the Iomega Mac Companion is great to look at and functions perfectly well. If you need a storage buddy to go along with your Mac, consider this drive. Buying guide: External desktop hard drives. First Look: Apple Thunderbolt Display.