300MB/s read/writes put in line with other 5-bay RAID5 boxes - so that's nothing special, except perhaps that we can't call all Drobos dog-slow any more. For a five-bay external box in RAID5 mode, this is pretty fast.
There are a few things that make it quite special:
1. Dual parity mode. Can't think of any other 5-bay portable storage box that supports dual redundancy - which is miles above single redundancy in reliability. I don't know how fast it is in that mode though - probably slower than 300MB/s.
2. Zero-bay SSD caching. Do you know of any other portable and relatively affordable storage box with SSD caching? I don't. While it won't do much for those video workflows that only do large (sequential) I/Os, it should do wonders on small random I/Os, including some Pr and AE workflows.
3. The Thunderbolt I/O does work on Windows even though Drobo doesn't support it: at least one editor made it work on a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH motherboard in Windows.
4. USB 3.0 is also there although I don't know how fast it is. Personally, I've never seen USB 3.0 faster than 250MB/s unless it's in UAS mode.
5D is not cheap at $800 diskless, yet some of its seemingly unique features like zero-bay SSD caching, dual redundancy and Thunderbolt I/O, make it a great little box for some editing workflows.
What do you think? Good box for its price and size? Bad box? Is there anything comparable or better?
Systems Engineer DV411 - Los Angeles, CA
"Curb your enthusiasm, Alex!", the voice in my head said.
5D suffers serious performance deterioration on random I/Os and in "performance maintenance" mode (while the brain is doing some internal data organization shuffling - which can take hours and sometimes days.
The Dual Parity mode sees write performance dropping 50% in one case, although I've seen no reliable tests yet.
SSD caching is great on paper but in some cases seems to be eating through SSDs like french fries - in some cases bringing an SSD to "10% life remaining" within a few months. Yet in some cases the SSDs remain healthy after using the box heavily for several months.
Bottom line: 5D should not be used as media storage for editing, as its performance is unpredictable and spiky. Archiving, backup, replication - sure. If you're looking for a fairly small yet consistently performing direct-attached storage box, the "usual suspects" are ProAvio EB400CR, Promise Pegasus RAID (Thunderbolt), CineRAID CR-H458.