Drobo (2nd gen) speed expectations

I just received my 2nd gen Drobo and have been playing around with it a bit. I’m using a Win7 PC (64-bit). My Drobo currently has two hard drives (both WD Caviar Green 7200 rpm drives). It’s connected via fw800 using the included cable. I saw on the support site that the recommended drivers are from unibrain, so those are the ones I started with. I’m finding that my sustained transfer speeds for large files is only about 30 MB/s. I then tried reverting back to the Windows drivers, and actually got slightly better speeds for large files (~35 MB/s). Both of these marks seem rather low. I am aware of the issues with Win7 and 1394b, but I guess I still expected to get speeds around 75-80 MB/s for transfers (especially with third party drivers). I feel like I should be able to get the speeds I’m getting with USB 2.0 or fw400 (but I haven’t tried it with those connection. Am I being naive? Is anyone having better luck than me with a similar setup. Are Macs much faster? Would my drobo be faster if I had 4 drives in it? Are there better drivers to check out?

I have searched these forums and found that, notably, at least one person thinks it’s not worth the pcie slot that the 1394b card takes up in a win7pc. Is that the consensus? And if so, would it be better to go with USB 2.0 or should I just get a fw 800-to-400 cable?

Thanks, and sorry for all the questions.

30MB/sec is what I get with my Gen2 Drobo on FW with my Mac.

The BeyondRAID software has a lot of overhead for the Drobo processor. The DroboS is somewhat faster.

My experience is the Drobo has plenty of horsepower for my needs. I use it attached to a MacBook Pro to run the shared iTunes library.

I can easily play 3 HD (720p) streams to three different devices (iPad, AppleTV, etc) and listen to music in the kitchen.

Well at least I’m not alone. :slight_smile:

When I purchased it, I had envisioned using my drobo as a primary storage device for a planned HTPC build. And while (as you say) it is possible to stream multiple 720p videos simultaneously, this unit may not have the firepower to handle something like an InfiniTV4 and its four simultaneous hd streams, especially if doing so while watching another recorded program. But frankly, I’m not entirely sure what the bitrate of a recorded cable HD program is. Maybe it would be fine?

At any rate, it seems I may have to rethink my media center strategy if I intend to stick it out with the Drobo I currently own.

Does anyone know of any strategies to get a better read/write speed with a setup like mine?

I did have the same expectations with my Drobov2, but never got my computer (WinXP/vista) to work with the Drobov2 in FW800 mode. Got the Unibrain drivers, got a SIIG PCI FW800 card. Dashboard would only “sometimes” see the Drobo, and if I trued to connect to copy files-----Forget it.
I found setting up the Drobov2 using a FW800 to FW400(400 at the computer side) worked fine.
So, I left it at that. I know some people have no problem. The trick is coordination of the right card, cable and computer in Windows to make it work.

So, what kind of speed do you get with the 800 to 400 cable?

I’d say about 30MB/sec, same as you.(ETA- this was my memory, but now doesn’t seem correct)* Because I was using the Drobo FW800 connected to my FW400 card, that was acceptable. It ran about the same as using USB 2.0. My external FW400 drives were higher avging 38-41MB/sec.

Again, I never had success when going FW800desktop to FW800drobo

  • I have tested this on my DroboS to confirm the speeds. Am getting write speed of 17.2MB/sec for .wav files over FW400/800 cable. Getting write speed of 16.8MB/sec for same files on USB 2.0

My Drobo Gen 2 worked OK on FW800 on my PC, which is Win 7 x64, 64-bit PCI FW800 card (CompUSA, don’t remember the model #).

Still, I agree, Firewire in general is tricky, since there are far fewer devices (and therefore less testing that happens in the real world) compared to USB.

so, what types of speed did you get read/write?

Windows was giving me 25-30 MB/sec, but that was before I got rid of the 32-bit PCI cards, so I’d say that’s a low-ball estimate, though I wouldn’t expect a Drobo v2 to exceed 35 MB/sec except in tightly controlled situations.

About the “got rid of the 32-bit PCI cards” - for the curious, I had a (32-bit) PCI graphics card at the time because my motherboard (Tyan Thunder h2000m S3992-E) isn’t supposed to be able to run PCIe graphics cards but I’m now running with a PCIe ATI Radeon 5450 (and can finally play smooth full-screen video) so… go figure.

Haven’t hooked up the Drobo to the machine since, as all my Drobos have now been assimilated into my WHS 2011 Drive Bender storage pool.

We always recommend using the Unibrain FW driver with Windows as it will ensure a stable FW800 connection. Using the Microsoft drivers generally results in an unstable FW400 connection, which in turn causes file system corruption on the Drobo’s volume.

Good point Sky, I am using the Unibrain Firewire drivers.

All good day!!).