Drobo (3rd gen) to Drobo 5C, part 1

This is part of a multi-part review of the Data Robotics Drobo 5C.

See also: Introduction

Drobo 5C box.

I have received my Drobo 5C unit which I will be using for this review. Much like the 3rd generation model, the 5C comes packaged in a large white Drobo box, with the unit itself wrapped in a cloth shopping bag protected by two foam inserts. In the top of the box is another smaller box which contains the paperwork, power supply, power cable, and a USB to USB-C cable.

Data Robotics does a nice job at packaging their products. It’s not quite on the level of Apple, but fairly close.

Let’s take a look inside the box…

Drobo 5C box and contents.

Drobo 5C accessories: USB cable, power cable, and power supply.

Drobo 5C quick start guide (inside of the removable cover of the small box).

Since the 5C can hold five hard drives, it is about one inch taller than the previous model. Here is the 5C (left) compared to the 3rd generation model (right):

Drobo 5C vs Drobo (3rd gen).

Please excuse the protective plastic covering you see on my drives. I tend to keep it on things I buy to protect them, so when I sell them later it is still in “like new” shape.  (I do remove any plastic that would cover air vents or similar.)

The first thing I noticed was that the 5C case is a different design. While similar looking, instead of being a sleek case where the front and back are flush to the metal casing, the new model seems to just be a metal casing, with the front and rear inset a bit with a gap running all around them. This seems like a step back, cosmetically. It just doesn’t look as sleek as the past incarnations, and the gap seems like it would be even more places for dust to collect.

You can also see that the blue capacity lights are now along the bottom of the enclosure, and no longer behind the removable front cover. I always throught the “show through” lights were a nice touch, so I am sad to see them go. BUT, in the previous Drobos I had, there were two additional lights hidden behind the front panel: power and data transfer. I would sometimes have to remove the front panel to see if the Drobo was locked up, or if the data transfer light was flickering. Function wise, being able to see these without removing the panel is a plus.

Here is a photo of the two units with the front covers removed:

Drobo 5C vs Drobo (3rd gen) – front panel removed.

You can see that the drives start a bit lower than in the old model, which is why the unit can hold an additional drive and not be as tall as you might expect. You can see the two “hidden” lights on my old Drobo, that now appear at the far left and far right of the new Drobo 5C.

In the next part, we’ll take a look at moving drives over from the old Drobo to the new 5C, and see what it takes to activate the Dual Disk Redundancy feature.

More to come…


2 thoughts on “Drobo (3rd gen) to Drobo 5C, part 1

  1. Pingback: Drobo (3rd gen) to Drobo 5C, part 2 | Appleause

  2. Pingback: Drobo (3rd gen) to Drobo 5C, part 3 | Appleause

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