By Oneslowz28 at 2009-10-02 11:09
As some of you know, I am a professional photographer. With that job comes the need for reliable and protected data storage. One of my selling points is archival of all photographs for 1 year for free and then offer additional archival time for a small fee. That makes me responsible for protecting the photographs that I am paid to archive. I have been searching the web for the perfect solution and I believe I have found it. The ioSafe Solo disaster proof external hard drives are the solution I have been looking for. Capable of withstanding temperatures of 1500f for 30 min or a submersion in 10 feet of water for up to 3 days.
Here is what ioSafe has to say about the Solo series.
I acquired a 500gb solo for testing purposes. Before we test the drive, let’s have a look at what makes it fire and water proof.
Originally Posted by ioSafe
The rugged desktop ioSafe Solo hard drive brings disaster protection to a price range that everyone can afford. With capacities from 500GB to 1.5TB, the ioSafe Solo can safely protect precious digital family photo albums, MP3 music libraries and days of video memories. For business, the ioSafe Solo hard drive is a great way to protect customer databases or to secure regulated information including patient records (HIPAA, Sox, etc) or credit card information (PCI regulated). Businesses use the Solo hard drive as a backup and storage device, no longer worrying about data loss from moving computer tapes and files offsite. Like other ioSafe disk drives or storage systems, the Solo hard drive is for Mac or PC and uses patented technology including FloSafe air flow cooling, HydroSafe waterproof barriers and the DataCast fire safe insulation.
The solo arrived in a plain white box.
Removing the Solo from the box we can see that it is protected on each end and held away from the edges by closed cell foam.
This is the ioSafe Solo. Its a pretty big enclosure, and quite heavy too. In a little bit we will find the cause of the weight.
The back of the drive contains all the necessary hookups and a power switch. The back also contains the serial number etched onto a metal plate. This ensures that you can identify your drive after a fire or flood.
What kind of review would this be without opening up the Solo and finding out what makes it Fire and water proof?
To get inside the solo we need to remove 14 screws. The first seven screws are located on the top. Remove these using a Phillips bit.
The next seven screws are located on the bottom. Four are located inside the Solo's feet, two are under the "warrany void if removed" stickers, and the last one is near the back.
The top / bottom cover will slide off to one side or the other. Be careful though, as the cover is still tethered to the back / side panel by the cable that powers the front LED. Notice the big white block inside the case. This is the special insulation ioSafe uses to insulate from extreme heat. It is also coated in what appears to be a water proof coating of some sorts.
Here is a close up of the 2 color (red and blue) led.
The 2 insulating block halves. These things are quite heavy when together. This accounts for a substantial amount of the weight you feel when lifting the unit out of the packaging.
Now we see the good stuff. The first thing you notice is that the 500gb HDD is sealed in an anti-static bag with all the connection cables exiting one end. Next you see the circuit board that converts the SATA connection to USB. Note that the board also has a IDE connection. There is also a ventilation fan installed back here.
A close up of the vent tube, power and sata cables exiting the bag. These photos were taken before the heat test so I did not open it up to check if this exit point was sealed with some sort of silicone. I would imagine it is though as if it weren't there would be no need for the vent tube.
Here is a close up of the vent tube. Notice the check valve at the end to prevent fluids from entering the HDD.
Here we can see the Sata connector up close. The 3 header pins at the top are connections for the LED module on the front.
Another angle showing the IDE connector. Note that the header pins to the right is where the power cable for the HDD connects. This same header also provides power to the fan.
First we will test the performance of the Solo. HD Tach lists the HDD inside the Solo as a Hitachi HDP725050GLA360 A5CA. On the HD Tach quick benchmark it posted a Random Access time of 19.1ms and an average read speed of 22.8MB/s. Running a long benchmark gave us a random access time slightly lower at 18.7ms and an average read time of 22.7MB/s
I decided to test the fire proof claim, but due to fire hazards and the weather I was forced to subject the drive to extreme heat. I did this by placing the Solo into the center of my oven which was preheated to 500f. I left it in the oven for 15 min and removed it when the time was up. It took the Solo about 30 minutes to cool down enough for me to touch the outside. I decided to let it cool overnight to let any internal heat further dissipate. The next day I plugged the drive in and tried to access the files.
I am pleased to report that the Solo survived the heat. I know this is lower than the advertised 1500f but I feel that 500f is sufficient to prove that the drives claim of fireproofing is true. Even the LED module and plastic connectors survived the heat.
Retailing for $249.98 from ioSafe.com, which includes a 5 year warranty and 5 years of Data Recovery Service, the ioSafe Solo rugged series of external hard drives are the perfect solution for anyone who wishes to back up their data and know it will be protected in the event of a disaster. It is the opinion of this reviewer that every one should have some sort of disaster proof digital storage in their home. In this day and age, we all store valuable data on our computers. Everything from priceless pictures to business related receipts are irreplaceable in the event of a natural disaster and an external drive like ioSafe's Solo will give you that extra peace of mind you need.
Avaliable in 3 large storage capacities.
Water proof at 10 feet for three days.
Fire proof at 1500f for 15 minutes
A little on the heavy side but that is ok since it just sits in one place all the time.
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