Hard drives are slow, but SSDs are expensive. TerraMaster hopes to solve the problem with an “industry first” hybrid drive enclosure. Available today, the D5 Hybrid can accommodate a pair of SATA drives and three M.2 NVMe SSDs—it’s an interesting option for those who need routine backups and speedy access to important files.
TerraMaster’s D5 Hybrid isn’t a NAS device. It’s a direct-attached storage solution, meaning that it plugs directly into your computer. If you need multiple external drives, an enclosure like the D5 Hybrid is usually the best option, as it works over a single USB cable and offers some automated data-management features.
You can find plenty of generic drive enclosures on Amazon. But the D5 Hybrid is notable because it combines SATA and M.2 NVMe storage. The two SATA drive bays, which will house your HDDs, are intended for computer backups and other rarely-accessed files. Data that needs to be accessed more often, such as video game assets or large audio libraries, can be stored on the three speedy M.2 NVMe drives.
You can configure the two SATA drive bays with RAID 1 redundancy. When aggregated under RAID 1, the drives will mirror each other’s content, meaning that you won’t lose any data when one drive fails. You can also choose from RAID 0, Single Disk, or JBOD configurations if you prefer speed or capacity over data redundancy. The M.2 NVMe drive bays are locked to a Single Disk configuration.
High-speed data transfer is facilitated over a USB 3.2 Gen2 connection, which provides a maximum bandwidth of 10 Gbps. TerraMaster promises a maximum 980 MBps transfer rate for the M.2 NVMe drives, and if you use a RAID 0 configuration, you’ll be able to access your HDDs at up to 521 MBps. Substituting the HDDs for SATA SSDs gives you a 960 MBps transfer rate in RAID 0.
TerraMaster also provides its TPC Backupper software for automated computer backups, but this software only works on Windows, and it isn’t actually required for D5 Hybrid functionality. If you’re on macOS or Linux, you’ll just need to use a different application for automated backups, such as Apple’s Time Machine.
This “hybrid” approach to hot and cold data storage is very compelling, especially for creatives and professionals. That said, if you don’t need five drives or 68TB of external storage, a cheaper drive enclosure will get the job done. Those who only care about HDDs should look into RAID enclosures, which facilitate long-term storage and data redundancy.
You can purchase the TerraMaster D5 Hybrid enclosure today at Amazon and Newegg. It costs $219. Note that this product comes diskless—you need to buy the drives separately.