There’s not a lot to say about Fabrik’s Simpletech Duo Pro Drive. That’s not for any lack of remarkableness or underperformance on the part of the device itself. It’s just as plain-Jane as a storage unit can get.
The Duo Pro is two terabytes of storage in a single boxy enclosure. You get some backup software included in the mix, the caveat being that it doesn’t come on a CD, nor could we find any way to re-download the software from Fabrik’s web site. Let that be a fair warning to anyone who opens the Duo Pro box and immediately thinks, “hey, I’d like to run this in RAID 1.” We did that, and nuked every bit of data (said backup software) on the drive. Whoops.
The drives themselves come configured in either a RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration. You adjust the setting by flicking a little switch in the rear of the device. Seems simple enough, right? Unfortunately, those are all the RAID options you get with the Duo Pro – there’s no way to just use the drives as two separate, individual volumes. And they aren’t even that fast.
The USB-connected speeds are virtually identical between both RAID setups – the connection itself being the limiting factor in the equation. But this leaves us scratching our heads a little bit, as we’ve seen faster, non-RAID external storage units on an ol’ USB connection. We can’t complain much about the eSATA performance of the Duo Pro in its striped, RAID 0 mode. It’s fast. But we’re not entirely convinced that the performance is as apt as it could be.
When we stuck the Duo Pro in a slower RAID 1 mode, we noted that the speed of the configuration was nearly identical to one of the slower, single-terabyte drives we’ve tested – Western Digital’s Caviar GP. A mirror configuration should at least be able to overtake the performance of a single drive, especially the slowest terabyte drive we’ve ever reviewed.
So where does that leave the Duo Pro? It’s a solid external enclosure if you have a free eSATA connection, love living on the edge with RAID 0, and have no desire for anything more than storage-in-a-box. It’s a very simple device for a very specific purpose; we think power users will clamor for more options, speed, and looks, but as far as two-terabyte external storage devices go, the Duo Pro holds its weight.
It’s speedy; not the speediest it could be, but certainly within an acceptable range.
No included instruction manual, no exceptional features to note, no way to re-get deleted backup software.