Apple's new G5 desktop architecture gave
with one hand and took away with the other. While it brought
significant processing speed to video professionals, there was
only one additional internal SATA drive bay for data storage
not much of a limitation when working with DV, for a glaring
one for any other format. Curiously, firewire read/write speeds
were also hamstringed when using PCI controllers, and several
firmware updates have improved on that issue. Non-DV editors
were then forced to use more expensive options for data storage.
Fortunately, several key developers have
responded with low cost, external SATA enclosures that house
inexpensive, fast SATA drives. FirmTek, Sonnet, and systems configurator,
MacGurus, among others, now offer external multi drive enclosures
and PCI SATA cards with both external and internal SATA ports.
The SeriTek/1SEN2 bundle, reviewed here, consists of a two-port
external Serial ATA PCI adapter, and an external dual-bay enclosure.
The product is easy to install, configure and use. Moreover,
the overall package is emblematic of value, solid construction,
and excellent workmanship.
The 1SEN2 enclosure measures 2.5"x4.75"x9.0" and
includes a rubber base. The fit and finish of the enclosure
and hot swappable hard drive trays are excellent one of
the most impressive features of the product.
I attached two identical 250 GB Hitachi
SATA drives to the trays using the four supplied screws, and
each easily slid into each slot in the enclosure. The trays
and fit of the enclosure aligned the backs of the drives to the
proper power and SATA connectors. A set of plastic locking latches
is included, together with two keys to lock the drives into the
The back of the enclosure has two SATA
connection ports, and on/off switch, and a connector for the
DC power supply.
The power supply is the only complaint
I have with this unit. It is configured as a power brick and
cord combination with a connector to the enclosure reminiscent
of small serial or S-video plug. The connection was not as tight
as I wished, although it didn't present a problem in operation.
The PCI card.
The PCI SATA host adapter card installs in any PCI-X or PCI
slot, and is compatible with all PowerMac G3, G4 & G5 computers.
SeriTek recommends installation in the top slot of shipping
G5s, which is the 64-bit, 133 MHz slot. I also installed it
on the third slot, and did not detect any measurable performance
differences between these alternative install positions.
Installation is consistent with any PCI
card. Remove the PCI cover plate and screen, and gently place
the card in the available slot. Installation into the top PCI-X
slot was more difficult due to a space issue with the G5's latch
hinge. Once installed, attach the included high quality SATA
cables to enclosure and PCI card, and turn on the unit.
I configured the two drive, 500 Gb Hitachi
RAID using Apple's disk utility, and ran tests to compare throughput
among it, a Wiebetech 80 Gb 8Mb buffer 2.5-inch bus-powered firewire
drive, and a Hitachi 250 GB SATA drive installed in the second
bay. As for throughput, Drive Genius (http://www.prosofteng.com/products/drive_genius_info.php)
reports the following:
The Seritek 1SEN2 bundle remains an excellent,
high quality value for external SATA drive access. It is a hot
swappable, bootable and inexpensive two-drive solution that meets
and exceeds throughput requirements for just about every standard
definition capture configuration.
Although I used two identical 250 GB
Hitachi SATA mechanisms, the enclosure can be configured up to
1 terabyte of storage once those drives become available.
Copyright ©2005 David
A. Saraceno is a motion graphics artist located in Spokane,
Washington. He has written for DV Magazine, AV Video, MacHome
Journal, and several state and national legal technology magazines.
David also moderates several forums on 2-pop.com