Review Of The Promise Pegasus R6
You may recall that a few days ago I posted about some changes I made to my IT setup in my office. The selection decisions I made for new peripherals was based around going from having a traditional desktop PC and a laptop to making my MacBook Pro 15″ laptop my main computer for all my needs. To make this happen, I added the Apple Thunderbolt Display to give me a proper screen for doing both photo and video editing. Besides having only a 15″ screen, my MacBook Pro also only has a 500GB hard drive, so some additional storage was in order. And since I wouldn’t have to spend money on a separate desktop computer, premium storage solutions would now fit in my budget.
Promise Technology Inc. is currently the only storage manufacturer which supports Intel’s Thunderbolt specification which Apple adopted in their 2011 computers and laptops. The Promise Pegasus R6 is a 6-bay High Performance Hardware RAID capable of delivering a blistering two channels of 10 Gb/s (1.25GB/s) per port of performance thanks to Thunderbolt’s high-speed I/O. This means that as a group, the six drive RAID outperform an internal SSD for read/write performance. This is particularly shocking given that the RAID is comprised of Hitachi 7,200 RPM SATA drives:
Each of the six drives in the Pegasus R6 have a capacity of 1TB, and out of the box it’s set for RAID 5 (striping and data parity) which you can change/configure with the included software. If you’d like to see a nice article which explains the differences between the various RAID configurations, click here. But RAID 5 provides some speed benefits, strong data protection, and hot swapability of the individual drives. If any one of the six drives fails, the unit can continue to run without any data loss – buy a replacement drive, and swap out the bad drive for a new one. You can do so while the unit continues to function so you won’t miss a beat productivity-wise. You loose some of the overall storage capacity (you’ll have about to 5 TB of storage available with the R6 in RAID 5 configuration) but it’s still incredibly fast. In fact, according to PC Mag.Com, the Pegasus R6 is “so fast that it beats the internal solid-state drive (SSD) in an Apple MacBook Pro in speed and throughput tests.”
I’ve got the Pegasus R6 sitting right on top of my desktop – aesthetically it matches nicely to my other Apple devices, and it’s neither too loud or large:
Set up of the device couldn’t have been more simple – just plug the power cable in, and connect a Thunderbolt cable between the Promise R6 and, in my case, the Thunderbolt Display.
All this speed comes at a pretty hard to swallow price – the Promise Pegasus R6 retails for $1800.00 in the Apple Store. I saved quite a bit by purchasing it from Amazon (click here for the latest price: PROMISE Pegasus R6 6TB RAID System) but it’s still about twice the price of a comparable non-Thunderbolt six-bay storage device. In fact, in mid-2010, I bought a Buffalo LinkStation LS-Q4.0TL/R5 for about $500.00. It has four 1GB drives as opposed to the six 1GB drives in the Pegasus R6, but that’s still quite a difference in price. I’ll continue to back up data from the Pegasus to my LinkStation, and keep the LinkStation off-site as a form of redundant disaster recovery. If you can justify the expense of the PROMISE Pegasus R6 6TB RAID System or even the smaller PROMISE Pegasus R4 4TB RAID System then by all means grab one – there’s nothing out there faster and more reliable if you have a 2011 or new Apple computer which supports Thunderbolt. Will there eventually be other, cheaper Thunderbolt storage device options? Absolutely…but it may take a while. We’ll need to see PC manufacturers begin to support the Intel Thunderbolt specification, which will in turn spark storage manufacturers to start making devices which also support Thunderbolt. As of this writing, Apple still appears to be the only computer manufacturer offering Thunderbolt support. I think the Apple peripheral market is still seen as a relatively small pond, which explains why there aren’t more storage device manufacturers looking to compete with Promise in this segment right now.
My biggest gripe with the Promise R6 (beyond the price) is that, for as expensive as it is, Promise doesn’t include a Thunderbolt cable in the box, which means you have to have in order to use the Pegasus R6 (It’s a $50.00 cable). My other small gripe is that upon initial power up, the drive initiated a “synchronization” process that took almost 24 hours to complete. But beyond these two minor annoyances, I’m well satisfied with the purchase. Adding the Thunderbolt Display and the Pegasus R6 to my MacBook Pro was about the same price as I would have paid for buying a separate iMac, and gives much more and faster storage than is available inside an iMac. From this point forward, I’m hoping I can upgrade my MacBook Pro every other year, and have a much lower spend than I did when I purchased both a desktop and a laptop – that’s how I’m justifying the price tag. 🙂
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.