Joined on 11/20/05
cheaper simpler... predecessor of the L4500
Pros: This case, when used with the RSV drive cage, can hold 12 hard drives with excellent airflow/cooling. Some of the other reviews have suggest that removing the power/reset/front-USB module is required to place the third drive cage---this is incorrect. The third drive cage simply gets installed rotated 90 degrees and the case has all the detents set up for that to work smoothly. The updated L4500 places the module on the side so all three cages line up. There's plenty of internal room for a full size motherboard and power supply and lots of fans, and the entire front panel operates as an air filter to help keep the contents clean. If you want to, instead of a third drive cage, you can have 5½ inch peripherals placed horizontally such as optical drives.
Cons: The tool-less drive cages take some fiddling to work but are serviceable. Early versions had front handles that go beyond the 4U standard envelope -later versions fixed this. The RSV drive cage sometime goes out of stock, and several other drive cages I tried from other manufacturers didn't fit well - Rosewill once rounded up some cages for me when I couldn't order them [THANK YOU!].
Overall Review: The updated L4500 holds 15 drives, has better drive cages that are easier to load with drives, and fits the three cages in the same orientation, and comes with all three cages included. If you have no need for 5½ inch peripherals, the L4500 works out better than this L4000. I actually mixed the drive cages of the L4500 with two of these L4000 and two RSV cages to get three boxes that held 13 drives each - I had the L4000's in hand when the L4500 became available. The R4000 is more compact because it lacks the middle fans, but it's otherwise similar and uses the same drive cages as this box. There's other boxes that can hold twice as many drives in 4U, but I've had failures of the mezzanine boards that connect the drives and trouble getting stable controllers for 24 drives under Linux. I can get stable RAID systems with 12-15 drives using motherboard SATA ports and simple SATA add-on cards.
Slow & cool drive
Pros: This is a specialized design for video surveillance applications, with low-power spin up and seeking.
Cons: 17 ms average read seek time. 9 seconds power on to ready time. Don't expect this to be a fast drive in a PC application!
Overall Review: Specifications appear somewhat similar to the DB35 series designed for DVRs, but doesn't promise the same feature set.
Worthy Successor to the L4000
Pros: This is an updated version of the L4000 case, upgrading drive capacity from twelve to 15 drives. The drive cages now use two plastic slides that snap onto the drive and slide into the cage - no more stretching and tugging required. The power/reset/front-USB module note sits on the side, so the three cages line up side by side and can be removed in any order. The front handles fit within the 4U height.
Cons: No longer any provision for 5¼ inch optical drives to fit horizontally. I'm installing system software from USB keys instead of CDs these days, so I don't miss this feature. As a wishlist item, I wish there was a clip to hold a 2½ inch hard drive or SSD near the motherboard. I've been lashing a boot drive to the central stiffening bar, but something that doesn't involve using a cable tie to hold it in place sure would be nice.
Overall Review: Rosewill, for your next design, I'd like to see a 4U box like the Norco 4224 in capacity, with front loading drives but just SATA drive connections (no SAS mezzanine cards). That and a simple pci-express 4x card with 8 SATA software-RAID ports would be killer - just make sure it's stable with stock Linux.... With an 8 port motherboard and two 8-port controller cards, 24-drive boxes could be wickedly cost-efficient!!
Safe for Linux
Pros: Works great in 8-way Raid-5 using the stock Linux kernel 2.6.18. Verified operation with ext3 file system and both 400GB and 500GB disks over 9 month period.
Cons: Kernels earlier than 2.6.17 not reliable, including stock FC5 kernel. Operates at 1.5Gb SATA rate.
Overall Review: It's hard to get information on which cards wil work with the stock kernels. I'd like to move to a 3Gb card for my next purchase, but it'll have to be an experiment.
Avoid this Flakey Cable
Pros: 90 Degree, angled up on hard drive connector. 18" length. Bought eight of these at once to get a break on the price and shipping. The "180 degree" straight connector end appears to be mechanically OK.
Cons: This connector does not survive connector removal and reinsertion. A close examination reveals that the 90 degree connector's construction has a hard plastic connector with solder joints to the wire, with a soft plastic molded surround. Upon removal and reinsertion, the solder joints get flexed and fail, producing an intermittent connector failure.
Overall Review: Now I've got 7 more of these that might go bad on me if I touch anything in the box. Gotta swap them out so I can sleep soundly.