External storage enclosures give us the flexibility to manage and upgrade as our storage needs grow. Solutions such as these can be found for single drives all the way up to twelve drives and with our without RAID capabilities.
The external solution we have in the house today comes from Addonics in the form of the RAID Tower III. This solution offers five bays of SATA III connectivity with tool-free installation. The back of the tower houses a single eSATA port ready for your port multiplying capable eSATA solution.
Compatibility of the Addonics RAID Tower III extends to Windows 2000 through Windows 8.1. MSRP for the RAID Tower III is listed at $279.99 with a one-year warranty.
Scope of delivery for the RAID Tower II includes the power cable, eSATA cable, and user guide.
The door for each slot carries an orientation guide to help you during drive installation.
Here we have the front of the unit adorned by a really nice acrylic panel. The LED lights indicate power (green) and activity for each disk (yellow).
The back of the enclosure houses an 80mm fan to keep the entire unit cool. To the left, we have the eSATA port that appears to be part of a modular design.
Internally, you can see the backplane and the possibility that it could support SAS drives as well as SATA.
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Here we have the unit loaded up with WD Red 4TB drives.
The Addonics RAID Tower III utilizes the RAID modes available within the OS. Here we are using Windows software RAID. Setting up a large striped volume, you can see the peak read and write speed for the unit came in at 292 MB/s and 177 MB/s, respectively.
Next, we take a look at the drives set up in a spanned array, again using Windows software RAID. Here the RAID Tower II was capable of 161 MB/s read and 161 MB/s write.
Finally, we setup a RAID 5 array and ran our testing again. Here we have peak read at 273 MB/s and write at 254 MB/s.
The Addonics RAID Tower III is certainly a unit with a great deal of build quality and aesthetic appeal. I really like the idea of having a solid steel enclosure with a bit of added flash with the acrylic front panel. The LED activity lights give off the right amount of light and disperse through the acrylic, which kind of mutes it, so it's not too bright.
Performance of the RAID Tower III was pretty good, though I will say this unit should be used for capacity over a performance solution. In our testing, we were able to reach 260 MB/s read and 250 MB/s write with RAID 5, and 290 MB/s read and 180 MB/s write with RAID 0.
MSRP of the Addonics RAID Tower III is listed at $279.99 with a one-year warranty. Current market pricing can be found below.