Considering 5N or Mini for first Drobo

I am going to purchase my first Drobo and have narrowed it down to the 5N and the mini. I have several Macs in the house. To me it seems that the 5N has more flexibility with the 5 bays and that the 3.5" drives are less expensive. I have 2 Seagate Barracuda drives that I can start off with. As best I can tell, the 7200 12 1TB is a Sata drive. I know it is not a Sata lll as it shows a 3Gb/s interface. I do see that only Sata ll and lll drives work with the 5N. Does anyone have any recommendations for a new uses on whether the mini or the 5N is a better choice? Would the drive I described work with the 5N?

I’ve had the 5N for only a few weeks, and think it’s a great choice.

(1) It’s fairly fast, and I can do a 50GB file transfer to the Drobo down in my basement faster than I can copy the same files to an old 2TB Western Digital USB 2.0 drive that’s plugged right into the iMac. The data path is iMac > 20 feet of Cat 6 cable > Apple 5th gen router > 3 feet of Cat 6 > Drobo.

(2) You can get larger 3.5" hard drives than what’s available in a 2.5" - Seagate just released their 6TB drives, although $299 is still pretty steep. I think that 2.5" maxes out at 2TB for now.

(3) 3.5" drives tend to be cheaper per TB than 2.5" drives - I found a couple of 3TB Seagate 3.5" 7200 RPM Barracuda for $105 each, while that’s the same price that I paid for a 1TB Seagate Hybrid cost me for an external clone of my Macbook Pro Retina.

(4) You can use an mSATA card as an accelerator or cache to speed up the 5N.

You can go to the Drobo website and find the list of supported drives to get that info.

I have had my 5N now for two weeks and so far I love it. I like the 5N over connected devices. I think once the market catches up it will be easier and easier to serve up data and media via the NAS with no need for a computer. You can do it now with Plex for example but Im not a fan. I used the drive noted below and they were very economical and so far have been great. And with a 3Yr warranty I believe I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

I am having issues with configuring the Drobo Apps but thats a me issue. I am just not familiar with Apps on a NAS.

I would recommend the 5N over the mini. More drives, more options and I think GigE is better than USB. Also in the future I think you might ditch the connected computer and just run from NAS only to all your network connected devices.

my two cents

Unless you really need the Mini’s form factor, I would put the decision between the 5D and the 5N.
For whatever reason (probably Thunderbolt licensing has to do with it), the 5N is significantly cheaper than the 5D.

My situation is more unique as I have a LOT of data as my media library is on one set of Drobos, so I have direct-attach Drobos connected to a small headless PC that serves as the server. The server runs some software that “pools” all the connected storage together. The advantage to my setup is I can expand my storage by simply adding drives as well as upgrading Drobo’s storage. I can also move data around without changing the visible location (unless I change the server itself).

The downside is there are a lot of pieces in my setup, which means more things and places to manage. It’s the price of flexibility, and I’m okay with that because I’m geeky.

If I had less data and could fit onto a single 5N, that would be far less complex.