Adding a new hard drive to a computer is usually an easy task but my own first experience in adding a RAID array a decade ago, was something to spawn nightmares. There will definitely be no nightmares when setting up the ToughTech Duo 3SR. Just make your selections on the LCD screen and in seconds your RAID is ready to use.
It is my belief that a little paranoia is a healthy thing when it comes to backing up your computer. Never rely on just one type of backup for your important data. Wiebetech recommends using the 3-2-1 backup rule. Simply put, your backup should exist in 3 different locations using 2 different forms of storage media and at least one of the copies should be stored off-site. A RAID array can be an efficient part of your backup routine but it shouldn’t be your only backup. The easy setup and quick release drive sleds of the ToughTech Duo 3SR simplify the task of using multiple hard drives for your backups.
What’s in the box
- ToughTech Duo 3SR Unit equipped with 2 – 500 GB 2.5″ hard drives
- World Power Adapter with US, European, UK, and Australian plugs included.
- USB 3.0 cable
- USB 2.0 type A to A cable
- Screws for securing the hard drives. Using the screws is optional.
- Quick Start Guide and Warranty Information
- Data Backup PC3 Backup Software with license key
- Black leatherette travel case with Velcro closure
When you remove the ToughTech Duo 3SR from its box you will note the solid construction and weight of the device. It screams quality. It also comes with a small stand that holds the device on its side giving it a smaller footprint on your desk. The LCD screen and controls are conveniently placed on the upper side where you can access them easily. In the front of the 3SR are latches for 2 drive sled bays. Just release the latch and swap out a drive and insert another drive. The drives can be mounted with or without screws. Latch the door and you’re good to go. At the back of the 3SR you will find options for connecting it to your computer. Select eSATA or USB 3.0 and the corresponding cable which is provided. The USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0. There is a recessed power switch to prevent accidental shutoff and the port for the power adapter is nearby. The aluminum shell allows for cool, quite operation requiring no fans. It’s neat, compact and a brilliant design.
The Data Backup PC3 software installed easily to my desktop system running XP Pro SP3. It loads to the system tray when the computer starts up so a reboot was necessary. The program is provided as a 30 day trial version but the disk comes with a registration code to unlock the program for continued use. The look and feel of the program is very similar to Novastor Backup and other easy to use backup options. You can setup and maintain your backups on the ToughTech Duo with this program. You may also select the option for Online Storage to setup an account online for backing up your data. This option will be available when the program loads to the system tray. A popup will tell you that you have not selected an online backup option yet. Clicking on the option will take you to the page for Steelgate Technologies. They offer a 30 day free trial and backup storage options starting at $5.50 a month.
I connected the USB 3.0 cable to the 3SR and plugged the other end into a powered USB 3.0 hub. I didn’t expect it to work but I thought it was worth a try. XP couldn’t see the drive, nor was it showing in the Drive Management as unallocated space. I switched the USB cable from the hub to another USB 3.0 port on the back of the computer. This time, XP acknowledged that the 3SR was connected but the drive was not showing up in My Computer. It was listed as Drive 10 in Drive Management and the Activation Wizard automatically started up. The drive was quickly activated, formatted and assigned a drive letter.
Windows 7 recognized the 3SR immediately and the drive was visible without having to jump through hoops activating and formatting it first. Win 7 could see and access the 3SR even when it was connected to a USB 3.0 hub.
The Tough Tech Duo 3SR operates in 2 modes:
RAID 1 – Data is written to the first hard drive and then mirrored to the second drive. If something happens to one drive, the backup on the other drive remains intact. Just add another drive to rebuild the array and follow the instructions on the screen. Your computer will display the capacity of only 1 formatted drive even though there are 2 drives in the 3SR. RAID 1 is the preferred option for data protection.
RAID 0 – Data is written across both drives at once for faster write times but if one drive fails, your RAID array will be broken and your data will be lost. Your computer will display the total capacity of both drives as a single volume. It will look as if there is 1 big drive instead of 2 smaller drives.
When the User’s Manual, which is available from the Wiebetech website, and Quick Start Guide were written, Single Disk Mode was also an option on the Tough Tech Duo’s menu but was later removed. It’s still mentioned in the documentation but is no longer an option on the device so just ignore that part.
It’s important to note that when a new hard drive is added to the device, or you change your RAID settings, the hard drive will be formatted and activated. All data on the drives will be lost. You will want to back up any important data before making these changes.
The user friendly menu allows you to select the RAID mode (RAID 1 is the default) and other options for monitoring the temperature and drive health with settings for LED and audible alerts for potential problems. The drive sleds provide tool free access for adding and removing hard drives.
- RAID 1, RAID 0 operation modes.
- Default RAID 1 Mirroring to assure data integrity and protection on the road.
- High Capacity Storage up to 1.5 TB striped or 750 GB Mirrored with two 2.5″ 750 GB drives.
- Aluminum shell designed for optimal heat dissipation.
- Easy-release removable 2.5″ drive sleds.
- 3SR Model offers eSATA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 host connectivity.
- New user friendly display menu, input selection and drive health monitoring.
- Uses S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) to track hard drive health, alerting user of potential problems.
- DC power available for USB & eSATA operation. Power adapter included.
- Drive sleds allow for drive insertion/removal without tools.
- Compatible with 9.5mm high SATA or SSD 2.5″ laptop drives.
- Works with Windows XP, Vista, 7 (both 32 & 64 bit), Windows 8, Mac OS X, and Linux distributions that support USB or eSATA.
The ToughTech Duo 3SR is easy to set up and use and the ideal solution for adding storage and RAID backup options to your computer. It functions efficiently, coolly, and silently to protect your data integrity. If your business has vital data that needs a flexible backup solution, you should take a look at the ToughTech Duo 3SR.
The Wiebetech ToughTech Duo 3SR is available with or without the hard drives included. Amazon, Provantage and Zones online offer the package with and without hard drives included and priced accordingly.