Thunderbolt on Windows with Asus, Intel and Promise

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Promise Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt DAS Array

In addition to the Intel and Asus motherboards featured on the previous page, we also scored a Promise Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt-enabled RAID enclosure to see how Thunderbolt behaved under Windows. We should point out, however, that Promise offers two Pegasus RAID enclosures, the four-bay R4 you see pictured here and a higher-end six-bay model, aptly called the Pegasus R6.

The Promise Pegasus R4 has a clean, minimalist design aesthetic. Save for a single glossy, black strip of plastic running down the left-front of the enclosure, the entire device has the same brushed metal finish throughout. The R4’s only button, its power switch, resides at the top of the black strip which adorns the front. The rest of the front is dominated by the R4’s four drive bays, in a setup similar to most NAS devices currently on the market. The actual drives are mounted into trays, which slide into the bays and are locked in place by simple latch mechanism. The build quality of the trays and bay mount seems very good; everything fits together well and has a sturdy feel.

  

  

The sides, top, and bottom of the Pegasus R4 are mostly bare, but there are a few things to see on the back. At the very top of the back-side of the R4 is a 9-pin I/O port, adjacent to the device’s pair of Thunderbolt ports. There’s also a couple of fan grilles on the back of the R4 to allow the device’s main cooling fan to expel warm air from the system and for the smaller fan to exhaust warm air from the power supply. Underneath the smaller fan grill is a 3-prong power connector. Although Thunderbolt allows for power delivery through its cable up to 10W, that’s not enough juice to power the R4, so it needs to be connected to an electrical outlet as well.

  

Inside our Promise Pegasus R4 were a quartet of Hitachi 1TB drives, initially configured for operation in RAID 5 mode, but the device also supports RAID 0, 1 and 10. Configuring and connecting the device couldn't be any easier. Simply connect the Thunderbolt cable to the PC and R4, install the drivers, and you're done. An easy to use setup utility give user's the ability to log in and see device/drive status and configure the RAID mode. Once connected to the system, the array acts like any other drive attached to the system. 

Next, we'll fire up this TB-enabled RAID array and see what sort of throughput it offers.


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