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Review: CalDigit HDOne

August, 2008



CalDigit HDOne

Price:$2,299 for the 2TB unit up to $7,600 for the 8TB
1941 Miraloma Ave. #B
Placentia, CA 92870
Phone: 1-714-572-6668


review by Chi-Ho Lee

In early 2008, CalDigit announced their new line of SATA raids called HDOne. The HDOne model is positioned as a low cost SATA raid capable of raid 0,1,5,6 and JBOD. The HDOne ranges from a 2TB to an 8TB unit and ( has a list price of about $2,200 for the 2TB unit and $7,600 for the 8TB unit. A 2TB raid 5 unit for around $2,200? This is pretty remarkable! If your work involves any uncompressed HD formats, keep on reading.

My test unit was a 4TB that came already formatted in a raid 5. That's a thing of beauty because you don't need to spend any time formatting the unit when you first set it up. You're ready to go in about 15 minutes.

Here are some pictures that I took of the setup:

Here's the box that it gets shipped in. Fancy! Excuse all the cables in the background!

Upon opening the box, you'll see 4 of the 8 drives all neatly and safely packed in Styrofoam. You'll also find the SATA cable, power cable, and the host card packed in it's own box.

See how careful CalDigit is about their packing! Each drive bay is securely placed in their own Styrofoam slot.

On top of that, each drive bay is clearly labeled in their order. This is drive A3 out of 8. The one odd thing is that the first drive is labeled 0 instead of 1, so you have a total of 8 drives from 0 to 7.

Lift up the top layer of styrofoam and you'll find the rest of the drives and the actual raid unit at the bottom.

The unit is deceptively small. Even though it's an 8 bay box, it's still pretty compact. Here's the unit sitting next to a HDCam tape.

Here's the drive. Each drive has already been attached to a drive tray.

All you need to do is pop the trays inside the box in the appropriate order.

There you go! All done! If you need to remove a drive tray, you'll need to use a key that is included with the unit. Pop the key inside the hole on each bay, the tray handle will pop out and you can slide the tray out.

A 4TB unit configured in a raid will give you about 3.2TB of free space. This will give you about:

  • 258 hrs of DV25
  • 121hrs of NTSC ProRes HQ SD
  • 34hrs of uncompressed 10bit SD
  • 67 hrs of DVCProHD 720p60
  • 6 hrs of Uncompressed 10bit 1920x1080 29.97fps

My current project is a collection of videos for the Smithsonian Institution's Ocean Hall exhibit within the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. All our footage will be onlined at uncompressed 10bit 1080i. We needed a fast and reliable raid and I was psyched to test out the HDOne on this online.

We're using the early 2008 8 core Mac Pro tower with a Kona 3. After installing the drives inside the HDOne unit, I opened up the Mac Pro and installed the host card. With this model of Mac Pro, all the lanes are auto-configured. All I needed to do was to put the card in slot 4 since the Kona card was in slot 3. This took about 5 minutes. I then connected the eSata cable from the card to the box and I was ready to go.

This HDOne unit is basically plug and play. It's already configured in a Raid 5. Once it was powered up, the HDOne appeared on the desktop. Final Cut Pro saw it in the scratch disk menu and it was ready to go. With the Kona 3 card, we captured uncompressed 1080i 10bit, up-converted SD, and cross-converted 720p - all flawlessly - zero drop frames - not even once!

Here are the speed tests of the HDOne at 30% full:

You'll see the Write speed at 335MB/sec! Way above the required 165 MB/sec needed for 1080i 10bit. And you'll see the Read speed of 445MB/sec! I was able to consistently get two streams of 1080i 10bit for playback. I was able to get three streams if I set FCP into Unlimited RT and Dynamic.

But how does it perform when it's nearly full? Here's the speed tests at 90% full:

I know you're not supposed to fill a raid up this much, but hey - real world testing!

You see that we're still getting Write speed at 333MB/sec and Read speed at 401 MB/sec at 90% full. This is pretty amazing!

We've used this unit for about six weeks of daily onlining. We've beaten up this unit in a pretty rigorous real world project and I've encountered no issues with the HDOne. If your post situation requires uncompressed HD onlines, then the HDOne should definitely be on your short list of Raids to consider. Even if you're using compressed formats like ProRes and DVCProHD, you'll still benefit from the speed and robustness of the HDOne.

I've read good reviews about CalDigit's previous products, but having first hand experience with this HDOne has spoiled me for any future raid boxes from other manufacturers.

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