If you need external storage, but only need it on one system at a time, then a DAS might be the right solution for you. One of TerraMaster‘s latest units is the D2 Thunderbolt 3 which is just such a solution.
While NAS‘ have the advantage of being accessible from every network connected device, the DAS units have a speed advantage. Especially units with Thunderbolt 3 shine here. With 40Gbps bandwidth available, you can easily max out your drives for the best performance possible.
Design wise, TerraMaster sticks to what we know from them. A beautiful aluminium shell with carefully designed parts. This model does feature a thing we haven’t seen on the NAS units and that is the carrying handle. DAS is moved more and as such, it can be very convenient. I loved it during this review as it allowed me to grab and change settings on it quickly.
Speaking of changing settings, the D2 Thunderbolt 3 unit supports RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD/SPAN, and single modes for the installed drives. Which you pick depends on your needs: Capacity, redundancy, or performance.
Thunderbolt 3 has more advantages than just a high throughput ability. You can also chain multiple devices to a single host port. Connect the first to the system, the second to the first, the third to the second, and so forth. That keeps the setup clean and allows more devices to be connected to otherwise port-limited devices.
Another benefit of Thunderbolt 3 is that it can carry a lot more than just data signals. You can attach up to 5K displays too. That becomes especially easy with the TerraMaster D2 Thunderbolt 3 DAS as it comes with built-in DisplayPort 1.2. Expand your laptop’s capabilities without a dedicated docking station.
Now, some might argue at this point that USB 3.1 Gen.2 offers the same, but it doesn’t. Not only does it have a fourth of the bandwidth, it’s latency isn’t as good.
The TerraMaster D2 Thunderbolt 3 keeps cool under harsh conditions. This is due to two features, the aluminium case which in itself is a great for heat transfer as well as the temperature controlled fan system.
The D2 Thunderbolt 3 also keeps your mind cool as it features hot-plug and hot-swap as well as automatic RAID rebuild. The unit also features power-saving mode to put less strain on the installed drives.
Drive support is very important for a DAS. After all, you wouldn’t want to get one only to find out that you can’t install the drive which you like. Luckily the TerraMaster D2 Thunderbolt 3 supports all sorts of drives. From HDD over SSHD to SSD, from 2.5″ to 3.5″. As long as it is a SATA drive, it’ll all work. The unit supports the latest 14TB drives and soon to be released larger drives shouldn’t be a problem either.
The performance will naturally depend on which drives you’re going to use and which type of setup you pick. But assuming you pick the best, you’ll easily reach figures of 760MB/s reading and 390MB/s writing.
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