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REVIEW: Glyph 050Q Quad Interface Storage System

Posted April 11th, 2006, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Glyph Technology now offers a "Quad Interface" enclosure (USB2, FW400, FW800, SATA) that uses the Oxford Semiconductor 924 chip set. Its rugged steel case can sit on your desktop or be rack mounted.

We tested with a Seagate 500GB 7200.9 Serial ATA drive on three different Macs: The Quad-Core, the PowerBook, and the MacBook Pro...

GRAPH LEGEND
Quad Core = Quad-Core G5/2.5GHz Power Mac
PowerBook = 17" Aluminum G4/1.67GHz PowerBook
MacBook Pro = 15" Intel MacBook Pro 2.0GHz Core Duo

USB2 = USB 2.0 port rated at 60MB/s
FW400 = FireWire 400 port rated at up to 50MB/s
FW800 = FireWire 800 port rated at up to 100MB/s
SATA = SATA port rated at up to 150MB/s
SATA2 = SATA II port rated at up to 300MB/s

CONCLUSION
The Glyph 050Q Quad Interface enclosure's strong point is its versatility. Whatever interfaces you have on your Mac, it's bound to work with at least one of them. We reccommed using it with a FireWire 800 or SATA port for maximum performance. The fan is quiet, the power supply is internal, and it can be adapted to rack mounting. It is constructed with durable stainless steel and uses tri-laminate sound-damping metal, which absorbs drive vibration before it can get to the chassis.

NOT ALL MAC PORTS ARE CREATED EQUAL
1. As you can see from the graphs above, the USB 2.0 interface on the MacBook Pro was significantly faster than the USB 2.0 interface on the Quad-Core. We still find that amazing. Further, we found that the USB 2.0 port on the front of the Quad-Core ran faster than the one in the back.

2. FireWire 400 has a much slower write speed on the MacBook Pro. Overall, the Glyph 050Q performed more slowly than other FireWire 400 storage devices we've tested in the past.

3. Built-in FireWire 800 is not available on the Intel Macs including the MacBook Pro. It's a shame since it's much faster than USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 in our tests. Thankfully, there is at least one company working on an ExpressCard /34 FireWire 800 product that will available soon for the MacBook Pro. However, the Intel iMac will have to go "begging" for maximum possible external storage speed.

4. There's no built-in external SATA port on the Intel Macs -- which is a shame since they all use SATA for the internal storage. At least the PowerBook can use SATA storage with the help of a FWDepot or FirmTek CardBus card -- which is what we did. And, of course, the Quad-Core has SATA II host adapters from Sonnet and HighPoint for its PCIe slots. As for ExpressCard/34 SATA host adapters, we know of at least two companies close to releasing them for the MacBook Pro.

QUICKBENCH 3 (beta)
We used the latest version of QuickBench to test drives. For the sustained read/write, we averaged 50MB, 60MB, 70MB, 80MB, 90MB, and 100MB block transfers. For random read/write, we used the standard random test and averaged the 32K, 64K, 128K, 256K, 512K, and 1024K results.

WHERE TO BUY THE GLYPH TECH QUAD PORT ENCLOSURE

Glyph Technology's website lists dealers in all 50 states plus Canada and Mexico.

WHERE TO BUY OTHER QUAD INTERFACE ENCLOSURES

FWDepot -- They sell the G-DRIVE QUAD enclosure with the same four interfaces as the Glyph Quad Port enclosure. It is based on the same Oxford 924 chip set.

Their eRAID 5 system supports USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and SATA. It supports RAID 0, 1, 3, and 5 in the box.) They have 18 other RAID products.

Wiebetech -- Their RT5 five tray enclosure supports USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and SATA. It supports RAID 0, 1, 3 and 5 in the box. They have a 10 drive version, too.)

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2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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