Sans Digital release new 8 bay TowerRAID+ models with USB 3.0

by ZimTommy on May 31, 2011 · 13 comments

in News

Sans Digital enclosures have long been a favorite of many a WHS user when they run out of drive bays in their MSS or other server.  Sans Digital have just announced the release of four new 8 bay models now with a USB 3.0 port which, on paper, should give you 5Gpbs of throughput compared to that of eSata at 3Gpbs.  All in all these do look like a nice refresh of the series and with 8 drive bays you’ll be free to store as much who knows what on these babies…

For a recap of Alex’s review of the TR5M-B a while back click HERE.  Again,  the Sans Digital range of enclosures is well used by the WHS community and lots of advice and information can be found in the MediaSmartServer forums.

Sans Digital products are available through and other electronics retailers.

Sans Digital 8 bay TowerRAID+

City of Industry, CA – May 25, 2011 – Sans Digital, a leading provider of high performance storage subsystems, is proud to announce new additions to the newly released Tower RAID+ series. The 8 bay USB 3.0 and eSATA Hardware RAID towers (TR8UT+B for black and TR8UT+ for silver towers) and 8 bay USB 3.0 JBOD-Only towers (TR8U+ for black and TR8U+ for silver). Expanding the current product line utilizing SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology to RAID and JBOD storage units, both new models support up to 8 SATA hard drives and up to 24TB of total storage raw capacity.

The latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 provides 10x more bandwidth in comparison to the existing HighSpeed USB 2.0. By incorporating the new USB 3.0 technology, both the TR8U+(B) and TR8UT+(B) are capable of reaching performance speeds 5x faster than the previous models via USB connectivity. For computers not equipped with USB 3.0, customers can still enjoy the versatility of the USB 2.0 port on the computer since USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 at a reduced data transfer speed. The integrated Hardware based RAID engines on the TR8UT+(B) also helps to reduce CPU utilization on the host computer or server. The TR8UT+(B) is capable of running RAID 00, 30, 50, and JBOD with over 200MB/s of data transfer rate. The TR8U+(B), on the other hand, is designed with simplicity in mind to support JBOD allowing up to 8 individual drives to be connected via one single USB 3.0 port providing simple expansion of storage space by individual disks.

To ensure maximum flexibility, a physical RAID mode configuration switch located on the back of the unit enables quick RAID setup eliminating the need to use a software RAID configuration utility. New RAID modes such as RAID 30 and 50 are also supported to provide data protection against potential data loss due to hard disk failure. Compared to the traditional RAID 3 and RAID 5, the RAID 30 and 50 allows up to two disks (one disk per four disks) to fail in RAID 30/50 set without losing the RAID array data. A 6Gbps eSATA interface controller also comes standard with the TR8UT+(B) free of charge for customers who wish to use eSATA but do not have the eSATA port built-in into the computer or server.

With eSATA and USB 3.0 interfaces as well as backwards compatibility with USB 2.0, the new hardware RAID + series is extremely versatile to work with virtually any computers available. “The versatility of the new TowerRAID+ unit combined with the fast USB 3.0 interface and powerful RAID engine makes the TR8UT+(B) and TR8U+(B) a viable option for customers who demand high performance, high quality, and good value at a reasonable price point,” said Stanley Chan, Director of Business Development of Sans Digital. For more information on the TowerRAID+ series, please visit:

Article by

Hi there, I'm Tommy and I've been messing around with PCs and electronics since before I can remember. I had been running my own WHS "frankenserver" for a good few years before I picked up an ex490 on super special after HP has discontinued them and that's, in turn, how I found this little community of fellow enthusiasts.


Comp1962 June 1, 2011 at 6:04 am

I am pleased to see these units myself. I noticed the enclosure has a different case much like the newer TR4m I just bought. The case looks very sweet but the solid front door with air vents on the side has me watching the drive temps which recently appeared elivated. For the time being I have a 4″ fan blowing air into the side vents which has been keeping the drive temps down but I will remove the fan on the weekend to closely monitor the temps. I could very well be over reacting here but having good air flow is everything to keeping the drives cool. If I were to buy one in future I think I would simply remove the front door pannel or just leave it open.

PatrickGreene June 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

They don’t seem to comprehend cooling very well.

Comp1962 June 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm

The case design is very nice and the front door panel is more solid but I just happend to notice the drive temps to be elivated. Last weekend of course was a long holiday weekend but I was unable to monitor the drive temps but this weekend I will monitor the temps without the cooling fan. The front door does have what appears to be side vents to pull air into the unit but the side of the enclosure has the same vents the older unit had.

Now I could be over reacting but I have to tell you honestly when I saw the new enclosure I was impressed with the astetics but concerned about the change in the front door design. After I am able to review the enclosure running without the fan for a few days I will report back but for now I have the fan there as a precaution to keep my drives cool.

Comp1962 June 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm

After closely watching the drives in the newer enclosure the drive temps are elivated but about between 40-44c. With the fan blowing air into the side of the unit the drives will run in the mid 30′s.

TechBari June 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm

The Sans Digital appear to be very nice units, cooling aside. However, I have a HP media smart server 495 and I was curious to know whether this server is limited to the four drive maximum. Also, I was wondering what your recommendation would be to expand my storage capabilities as well as knowing what the maximum size drive my server can handle.

Comp1962 June 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm

@ TechBari ~ Your servers eSATA port can support upto a 5 bay enclosure. With USB you can connect upto an 8 Bay USB enclosure. With WHS v1 it can support upto 32 drives.

I personally like the Sans Digital enclosures and I have 3 4 bay enclosures and a 5 bay enclosure. Using the same backplane used in the 4 bay enclosure I converted 2 EX47x MSS Enclosures to become 4 bay port multipliers.

The units run well. I have been using them now for almost 2 years now and can safely say they have and continue to serve me well and that I would not hesitate to recommend one to anyone.

Schliemann June 6, 2011 at 7:47 am


How can you achieve 8 bays through USB enclosure. I thought that 4 was the maximum through USB for the EX 495/X510. Have I misunderstood something?

Comp1962 June 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Nope they have been making 8 bay USB Enclosures for quite sometime. Below is a link for one of the newer models thats USB 3.0 but backwards compatable with USB 2.0.

If you would like the 8 bay USB 2 model I would contact Sans Digital to see if they are still available or if then can still get them as they are less expensive but if your gonna one day build a server and have USB 3.0 then the extra money in the unit may be worth it for you. The other thing to look at is that is a JBOD unit which is perfect for WHS v1 but if you want to setup a RAID Configuration in say WHS 2011 then this unit may not be what your looking for. If one or more of the people working on a DE Replacement for WHS 2011 prove to be successful the JBOD is what you would be looking for as is the case with WHS v1 which does have DE.

As for your eSATA your server can support upto a 5 bay enclosure. Hope this clears things up for you.

Schliemann June 6, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Not sure how to interpret your reply. Let me try and refrase my question. Let’s say I have a EX 495 and would like to connect it via USB. Would it be possible to use all 8 drives? I seem to recall a thread on the matter stating that only 4 drives can be connected via one USB cable.

Comp1962 June 6, 2011 at 6:39 pm

The answer is yes. If you search the forums you will find forum members who uses these units with their servers and yes they can access all 8 drives with in the unit. Below is one such post you can review:

I think that post should clear up any questions regarding an 8 Bay USB Enclosure and accessing all 8 drives in the enclosure.

Schliemann June 7, 2011 at 9:04 am


Thanks a lot ;)

Christoph June 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

An alternative zu sans digital could be Fractal Design cases. I buyed one for my ESXi homeserver :)

asianjabba July 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

Hi all -
I recently purchased a black TR8UT+B raid tower and connected it to my ex485 with the ‘large’ setting. My ex485 detected it as one big total external usb which is perfectly fine. however when i turn on hdsentinal on my WHS, it displays the usb external as a “?” with no info/temperature it just says H/W LARGE with temp and health as “?”. does anybody else have this problem or can think of a solution? Thank you for reading and any response or tips is greatly appreciated.

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