Shaped liked two ceramic bricks stacked together and just as big, iStoragePro’s iT2PKTV Pocket View RAID array sports several interface options, effortless hard drive removal, and a useful LCD screen menu, making it a good choice for those who like to keep updated on the state of their device.
The front of the aluminum-encased array is the iT2PKTV’s blue LCD menu screen, where you can access a lot of useful data. By pressing the two Set buttons underneath it, you can see the temperatures of your drives and enclosure, fan speed, SMART status, RAID mode, and history of errors if there have been any in the array’s past. Though the screen is very bright, it’s a bit small and the font is a little difficult to read. Along with the screen, there are holes for ventilation, activity lights, and the company’s logo, which glows white while the array is in use.
A fan underneath the array keeps the iT2PKTV cool. While the unit was in operation, the fan emitted a slight hum that was noticeable from two feet away. The sound wasn’t loud enough to drive us up a wall, but it was a constant reminder that the unit was alive and well.
The back of the array has ports for USB 2.0, FireWire 800, and eSATA, as well as access to RAID switches and the DC power input. You also have accees to the hard drive trays, which are rather easy to remove. Simply push the blue button, pull the lever that pops out along with the hard drive, and remove the screws holding the drive in place if you want to pop in a different one.
As for power, the iT2PKTV doesn’t have an on/off switch. Instead, the drives turns on by either plugging it in through one of the bus-powered FireWire ports, or using the included power adapter for use with USB or eSATA. To turn it off, you just simply unplug it, making it one less button you have to deal with.
The unit we reviewed had two 2.5-inch, 320GB,7200-rpm Seagate Momentus drives, and by default the drives are shipped in a RAID 1 setup and formatted for the Mac. Inside the box comes all the connection cables you need, except for a FireWire 800 to 400 cable for using the array with Macs that have FireWire 400 but not FireWire 800. Also included are a power adapter, CD with user manual and instructions on how to change the RAID configuration. The array weighs 2.8 pounds and measures 7.3 by 4.1by 3 inches, smaller than the typical RAID array, but definitely not pocket-sized.
Try as it might, the iT2PKTV couldn’t topple the speeds posted by other external portable drives we’ve tested, but it was able to stay with the field. The array copied a 2GB folder at 30.4MBps using USB 2.0; by comparison, the Iomega Skin () was faster at 31.3MBps. In the AJA write test, the iT2PKTV posted write speeds of 31.6MBps, which is 0.4MBps shy of reaching the 32.0MBps achieved by four other drives we’ve tested.
FireWire 800 tests showed similar findings. The iT2PKTV read our 2GB folder test at 76.5MBps, almost touching the 77.9MBps high reached by the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual mini (), and achieved 83.6MBps in the AJA read test, close to the 84.9MBps high attained by the OWC drive. Changing the array to a RAID 0 configuration displayed speeds comparable to RAID 1.
Macworld buying advice
If you’re in the market for a solidly built RAID array that’s informative and small, the iT2PKTV is a good choice, as long as you don’t mind a little bit of fan humming.
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