Yesterday, we would have said that Drobo is the best external storage solution out there, but today’s news cements that statement. The folks at Data Robotics have just announced the second generation Drobo, and this one is a doozy. The new Drobo is faster inside and out, and we are impressed. First and foremost, Drobo now features two FireWire 800 ports, while maintaining the USB 2.0 connection of the original Drobo. The two ports mean you can daisy chain these bad boys together. The core processor has also been upgraded, so Drobo feels snappier to boot. They’ve also done some firmware tweaking, so now heavy load won’t start bogging down Drobo’s software. What does all this mean? The new Drobo is more than twice as fast as the original at reading data, and almost twice as fast as writing data as well.
In terms of pricing, the good news is that there is no price increase. The second generation Drobo can be purchased on its own for $499 USD. If you want a couple of 1TB drives thrown in, then the bundle will run you $899. If you want to go all out and bundle in 4 1TB drives, then that will cost you $1,299. That’s the best deal on the market quite frankly, as Data Robotics just buys their drives direct from drive manufacturers and doesn’t mark up pricing when bundling them with Drobo units. With the new speeds, Drobo is starting to look like a location for primary storage rather than just secondary. We like where this is heading.
The second-gen Drobo is compatible with the DroboShare NAS add-on, and if you are upgrading from the older model, you can simply pull the drives right out of those and drop them into the new model, and you will be up and running immediately. If you prefer to keep the older version, and just want to chain it to the newer model, you can do that too.