Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives
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Our verdict of the TerraMaster D5-300C:
There's no doubt that this is a fantastic drive enclosure, but the 2 RAID + 3 indepedent bay design may not suit your requirements. If you're in the market for these exact features, then you're in luck!
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If you just need something in which to cram as many hard drives as possible, TerraMaster has a solution for you: the D5-300C, with room for five full size hard disks and a ridiculously fast USB-C interface, for a not unreasonable price of around $230.

If you read my F2-220 NAS review TerraMaster F2-220 NAS Review TerraMaster F2-220 NAS Review The F2-220 2-bay NAS enclosure by TerraMaster is a sub-$200 personal backup and storage solution. It has a dual core Intel CPU, and can handle up to 16TB of storage. Read More from January 2017, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of TerraMaster. The D5-300C however, is not a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device. It’s simply a USB-equipped enclosure in which to place multiple hard drives – two of which can be linked together in RAID What Is RAID Storage & Can I Use It On My Home PC? [Technology Explained] What Is RAID Storage & Can I Use It On My Home PC? [Technology Explained] RAID is an acronym for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, and it’s a core feature of server hardware that ensures data integrity. It’s also just a fancy word for two or more hard disks connected... Read More .

Let’s take a closer look; and at the end of this review, we’ve got one to giveaway, complete with two 4TB drives to get you started.

TerraMaster D5-300C Features

TerraMaster D5-300C USB3.0(5Gbps) Type C 5-Bay RAID Enclosure Support RAID 0/1/Single Exclusive 2+3 RAID Mode Hard Drive RAID Storage (Diskless) TerraMaster D5-300C USB3.0(5Gbps) Type C 5-Bay RAID Enclosure Support RAID 0/1/Single Exclusive 2+3 RAID Mode Hard Drive RAID Storage (Diskless) 5-bay RAID storage, compatible with 2.5"/3.5" SATA hard drive or SSD, supports 10TB hard drive, total capacity up to 50TB. (Note: users need to purchase their own hard drives. These are not included.) Buy Now At Amazon $229.99

No drives are included, which means the D5-300C is firmly on the expensive side, especially when you consider that it has no processor, nor can it be connected to your network. What you do get however, is 5Gbps USB-C, support for up to five 10TB HDDs or SSDs, and a unique 2 + 3 RAID system.

Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives TerraMaster D5300C Front 2

The first two drives bays support RAID 0 (high speed) or RAID 1 (redundant). The other three bays do not support raid, so each drive installed in these will show up on your computer as individual drives.

The RAID mode for bays one and two can be easily changed by using a small screwdriver on the back of the device. RAID is optional, if you’d like to access these drive independently, you can do so.

Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives TerraMaster D5300C10 Ports

While this unusual RAID configuration may not be for everyone, it’s an innovative concept. A mixture of RAID and individual drive caddies that does work well if you don’t need massive capacity in a single volume, or redundancy.

The USB-C connectivity is incredible. This massive 5Gbps support means you can read or write to every drive at the same time, with no loss of performance. You can connect to your mobile device, and have the drives appear like several giant memory sticks. USB-C ‘just works’, and I look forward to the day when every device and accessory uses the same port.

If you’re unsure of what exactly USB-C is, then make sure you read out guide to USB Type-C What Is USB Type-C? What Is USB Type-C? Ah, the USB plug. It is as ubiquitous now as it is notorious for never being able to be plugged in right the first time. Read More .

Design

The D5-300C is beautifully designed. Like the other models in the series, its aluminium chassis and dual rear fans ensure the precious data is kept safe from overheating. Not only does this case serve a practical purpose, but it also looks very cool — almost Apple like. This enclosure would be right at home underneath an Apple iMac or Mac mini.

Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives TerraMaster D5300C9 Back 2

Hard drives are installed into quick release caddies, and a simple lever system means they can quickly and easily be removed. The five status lights on the front show when each individual drive is being accessed, and the power button is conveniently placed underneath these status lights.

Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives TerraMaster D5300C3 Buttons

In the Box

Inside the box you’ll find a power supply, spare rubber feet, user manuals, along with various screwdrivers and more than enough screws for your drives. Curiously, several sheets of VHS style drive labels are provided. These can be used to label your drives, but if you’ve not purchased any additional drive caddies, these are rather pointless.

Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives TerraMaster Drives

Included is a USB type A to USB-C cable. It would be nice to have a USB-C to USB-C cable included as well, but it’s not the end of the world.

Interface

There’s not much of an interface. Like a giant flash drive, the D5-300C presents each drive to your computer. Bays one and two, when linked together in RAID are presented as one single drive, and modes are easily changed with the physical switch. A small reset switch has to be held in with a paperclip or other small device. This tells the unit that the RAID mode has changed, and that it needs to update the drives.

Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives TerraMaster D5300C Front

No software is provided or required. This is breath of fresh air in some ways, as software written by hardware companies can often be troublesome and confusing. While you do lose some flexibility, particularly with which RAID versions are supported, it’s a worthwhile price to pay for such an easy to use device.

Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives TerraMaster Mobile

I connected the D5-300C to my Google Pixel (any USB-C equipped device like the Pixel 2 Google Pixel 2 Review: Is This The Best Smartphone Ever? Google Pixel 2 Review: Is This The Best Smartphone Ever? How can Google justify $650 for a smartphone, when the OnePlus 5 sells for $480, or the Motorola G5+ $230. What separates the Google Pixel 2 from its competitors? Read More will work), and all the drives appeared. As my drives already had data on them before installation into the enclosure, Android struggled to read the macOS filesystems. Realistically, if you want to attach such a device to your phone, you should probably format a dedicated drive for it.

Noise and Vibrations

Unlike previous generations of TerraMaster devices, this enclosure is very quiet. Having worked almost exclusively on Apple iMacs and Macbook pros for several years now, I’ve become accustomed to quiet if not silent computers. While the D5-300C does make some noise, it’s inaudible from several feet away, and it’s no noisier than a desktop computer underneath your desk.

A lot of noise is down to your choice of drives. I loaded up several Seagate BarraCuda drives, but fast SSDs would likely be extremely quiet, not to mention lightning fast!

Seagate 4TB BarraCuda SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive (ST4000DM005) Seagate 4TB BarraCuda SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive (ST4000DM005) Cost-effective storage upgrade for laptop or desktop computers Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

Speed

Much like noise and vibrations, read and write speeds are mostly down to your choice of drive. With my mixed variety of Seagate drives (some brand new, others several years old), I achieved 175MB/s read and write on average.

Terramaster D5-300C Review: For When You Have Far Too Many Hard Drives TerraMaster Speed 2

Surprisingly, RAID 0 did not significantly increase the speed. In real world terms, RAID 1 + 0 (unsupported) is the preferred method of striping data, due to its resilience and speed. Splitting data across two mechanical drives is a risky way of storing it, and it’s only really worthwhile with this enclosure if you’re using SSDs. That said, portable SSDs such as the Samsung T5 are fast enough to edit 4K off, without the need for RAID.

Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 500GB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500B/AM) Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 500GB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500B/AM) Superfast Read-Write speeds of up to 540 MB/s Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

Should You Buy It?

The TerraMaster D5-300C is an excellent drive enclosure, but it’s not a simple yes/no answer. As a photographer and video producer, having access to my existing independent drives in one fast box is incredibly helpful, but your requirements may differ.

If you really need to link dozens of drives together in RAID, or want some server capabilities and shared network folders, this device is not for you. Consider the fantastic Synology DS418play NAS Synology DiskStation 418play: The Best 4-Bay NAS For Everyone, with Full Plex Support Synology DiskStation 418play: The Best 4-Bay NAS For Everyone, with Full Plex Support The Synology DS418play is a fantastic choice for a beginner NAS – and even better, it's also the perfect media server, streaming your movies to anywhere in your home. Read More device instead. Similarly, if you only need one or two drives in RAID or otherwise, the 5 bays offered by this enclosure is a bit over the top. If you like the design though, TerraMaster also have a 2-bay device.

There’s no doubt that the TerraMaster D5-300C is an outstanding device, but its unique RAID configuration does limit its appeal.

Enter the Competition!

TerraMaster D5-300C Giveaway

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  1. Ronald Carter
    December 7, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    I can think of several ways this could be real useful for a SOHO environment. Thanks for the review and the contest!

  2. Joe C.
    December 4, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I had one of these. I put a bunch of data on it, and then added a new drive. Who knew that their software was designed to start WIPING the other drives. This thing was LOUD. The interface for actually managing the drives was aweful. Spend the extra 10% and buy a WD mycloud and get something that actually works.

    Also, tech support was only via email, and was with China. So, if something isn't working, prepare to only have one communication per day, because they answer emails in the middle of the night.

  3. Sven neubauer
    December 4, 2017 at 8:17 am

    As I said, I am a convinced Terramaster owner and there is nothing better. I do not believe it. Is it a joke?

  4. Shawn A
    November 29, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    This seems incredibly limiting by design, if I want to create one giant array, you can't even do that, then what is the point of this? Only first two bays are capable of being put into an array, for data protection this is great, but what about the other 3 bays? That will just be for data you don't care at all about losing. They could have just as easily turned this into a RAID 5/6 drive enclosure by allowing all bays to be put into any sort of array that you want, and at no additional hardware cost.

  5. dragonmouth
    November 29, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    With 12 TB drives available on the market, the 10 TB/bay limit is somewhat behind the curve.

  6. Bill Farley
    November 28, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Is this a joke? What an awful design.