Firmtek Seritek/5PM Review

Firmtek’s SeriTek/5PM enclosure is an excellent option for users in fields such as audio or video-editing who want to use RAID systems to improve performance or provide additional data security. And, usefully, it also supports JBOD – ‘just a bunch of disks’ – so that you can simply add lots of external hard disks to your Mac system.

Or, to be precise, it will add storage to your Mac Pro or MacBook Pro system, as it uses the high-speed SATA interface for which you’ll need one of Apple’s ‘Pro’ machines. Firmtek also sells a range of suitable SATA adaptors, and our SeriTek/5PM review unit was provided with an ExpressCard adaptor for the MacBook Pro.

The SeriTek/5PM is a neat and compact unit, small enough to sit on top of a Mac Pro system, and manufactured in a brushed aluminium that perfectly matches the style of both Mac Pro and MacBook Pro models. More important, though, is the amount of storage and the level of performance that you can get from the unit. The SeriTek/5PM can hold up to five SATA drives – which you have to provide yourself – and these can be installed in a matter of seconds, thanks to the unit’s convenient front-loading design.

Each drive can be up to 1TB in size, giving you a huge 5TB maximum capacity (depending on the RAID format you’re using).

And, with a suitable adaptor, you can also connect multiple SeriTek/5PM enclosures to your Mac, providing enormous storage potential. The individual drives are also ‘hot-swappable’, allowing you to quickly swap in different drives for different projects, so the SeriTek/5PM is extremely versatile.

The performance you get will vary, depending on the precise configuration of your system, but the ExpressCard adaptor provided for our review provides speeds up to 130MBps when using a high-performance RAID 0 configuration (which treats the five drives inside the SeriTek/5PM as a single large drive).

However, Firmtek says that faster adaptors used with a Mac Pro system could achieve speeds of around 230MBps.

OUR VERDICT

Most Mac users will get by perfectly well with conventional FireWire and USB drives. However, the Seritek/5PM is ideal for professional users who need greater storage capacity, performance and data security that they can get from conventional hard disks.

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