Mediasonic ProBox 4-Bay 3.5" Hard Drive Enclosure

Storage
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TESTING

USB 3.0-Connected System Configuration:

Test Hard Drives:

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Acoustics

Most of the noise from the ProBox is caused by its cooling system, an 80 mm rear exhaust fan, rather than the Seagate NAS HDD 4TB's we used for testing. The fan runs fast, probably to compensate for all the airflow blocked by the controller board inside. There are three manual settings (low, medium, and high) as well as an automatic option, though during our testing, the drives never got hot enough to cause it to spin past the low setting.

Baseline Noise Level (dBA@1m)
Fan Speed Setting (drive config)
SPL @1m
Disabled (filled)
20~21 dBA
Low (empty)
27 dBA
Low (filled)
28~29 dBA
Med (empty)
34 dBA
High (empty)
41~42 dBA
Measuring mic positioned 1m at diagonal angle left/front of case.

The drives on their own inside the enclosure generated a SPL of 20~21 dBA@1m (the fan cannot be turned off — we manually disabled it by jamming it) with a limited level of vibration passed onto the rest of the enclosure. The drives are braced fairly well by the metal grate inside and the external door, though loose, thankfully didn't rattle. The NAS HDD's are relatively quiet models and there's nothing in the enclosure's design to make them sound worse.

At low speed, the fan had a soft, smooth sound except for some broad clicking noises audible close up. It's not the best sounding fan in the world but it certainly helps being buried at the back of the enclosure behind hard drives. It's moderately loud, producing 27 dBA@1m, so it would easily drown out a typical modern four hard drive configuration. The fan gets noticeably louder at medium and high, with the tone increasing with its speed, though the clicking becomes less noticeable.

Compared to the drives alone, the fan outputs considerably more noise in the 150~800 Hz range.

Power Consumption & Thermals

Enclosure Measurements (Idle)
Enclosure State
Sleep
Idle (empty)
Idle (filled)
HD #1 Temp
N/A
N/A
30°C
HD #2 Temp
32°C
HD #3 Temp
33°C
HD #4 Temp
System Power (AC)
7W
5W
25W
SPL@1m
10~11 dBA
27 dBA
28~29 dBA
Fan speed: auto (low).
Ambient temperature: 20°C.

When turned without any drives, the ProBox pulled only 5W from the wall. The AC power draw increased by 5W for each drive we installed. This indicates the power adapter is fairly efficient as we previously pegged the power consumption of the Seagate NAS HDD 4TB at 4.8W idle. After sitting for half an hour (more than enough for HDD temperatures to stabilize), the drives were running at a cool 30~33°C. Even though the fan is mostly blocked off, it nevertheless managed to do its job.

The ProBox has two sync modes that can be used to either turn the enclosure off or put it into sleep about 15 seconds after the PC it's connected to is shut down. The sleep function also wakes the drives up when the PC turns back on but we were only able to get this to work with eSATA, not USB 3.0. With USB, it shut down with the system just fine, but when put to sleep, it stayed asleep, requiring power cycling to get the drives back online.



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