Promise Technology Pegasus3 R4 RAID Storage REVIEW

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In my professional life, I started out as a video editor. A lot of computer users deal with data backups on a regular basis, but it’s nothing like dealing with video files. You have gigabytes of data to deal with like most people would deal with megabytes. Passing files around becomes unruly very quickly and that’s why it’s important to have a solid hard drive for storage purposes. For many years, my company utilized portable hard drives such as WD MyBooks as our main backup option. They are convenient and easy to pass back and forth between editors. The main problem is that the connection isn’t quite fast enough to edit from. Having a drive — or drive system — that can handle real-time HD editing is a huge benefit for video editors. You don’t have to worry about your main computer crashing under the weight of hundreds of video files or have to move files around just to make room for your current project. This is where the Pegasus3 system comes in quite handy.

Dubbed the perfect compliment to the all-new MacBook Pro, Pegasus3 connects by Thunderbolt 3, which allows for ultra-fast transfer speeds. The Pegasus3 can actually handle real-time HD (1080P) and 4K video editing streams. There are three versions of the Pegasus3 — R4, R6, and R8. Each designation refers to the amount of drive bays included in the storage system. The raid system comes equipped with dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, which allow transfer speeds of up to 40 Gb/s. Promise includes one Thunderbolt 3 cable along with the system, but with a second, you can actually daisy chain up to six devices together for a real powerhouse RAID system.

The Pegasus3 R4 is shipped with four 3TB solid state drives preinstalled. This is a total of 12TB of storage that equates to over two hours of uncompressed 4K footage. The R8 model can hold up to 64TB of hard drive space. The drives are hot-swappable for servicing purposes. The Pegasus system supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and JBOD. Promise partnered with technology company Symply to provide the Symply Storage Management Suite for Pegasus users. This software makes it incredibly easy to manage any of the files that are stored on the RAID system. It’s very intuitive and easy to use.

Promise classifies this device as ‘portable’, but it does weigh 15 pounds and it measures 7.5 x 7.3 x 9.6 inches. So, can it be transported? Yes, but it’s large enough that you have to plan for it carefully. I do see this as a great option for offsite video editing.

Initial Set-up
The Pegasus is pretty much ready to go out of the box with minimal set-up required. This is refreshing from some other backup systems that require drive installation and endless formatting for proprietary software to be installed. Once you unpack the Pegasus, select a place to for it to be stored. At first, I had this sitting on my desktop but later decided that I wanted it stored in a less conspicuous location. I decided to move it to the floor behind my desk but was hesitant about that because of the carpet and potential damage that might be caused by static electricity. I reached out to Promise support and was told that carpeted flooring was still a safe place for the Pegasus to live.

There is a large note in the quick start guide of the Pegasus that encourages you to make sure that the latest Thunderbolt 3 driver is installed. To learn more about Thunderbolt 3 and the 2016 MacBook Pro, click here. After you are certain your system is up to date, you plug the Pegasus into power and then you plug in the Thunderbolt 3 cable into your computer. One of the really cool features of the Pegasus drive is that it powers on when it’s connected to a computer. So, it will automatically power up when connected to a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port on a computer and will shut down when your computer goes to sleep or shuts down itself. I found this to be a great option because it kept the drives from being on 100% of the time.

Pegasus3 does have a very specific power-up sequence.

  • The power button turns orange
  • An audible signal will sound — one short beep then one long beep
  • When the start-up process is completed:
  • The power button turns blue
  • The drive carrier power/status LEDs turn blue
  • Two short audible beeps will sound if the driver has been installed on the connected computer
  • The link LED turns blue when there is a valid connection on a Thunderbolt 3 port

I did have a little bit of a hiccup when I first connected the Pegasus to my computer. It was a simple connection error that was corrected within a few minutes. Pegasus3 is shipped from the factory pre-configured with one RAID 5 logical drive. You can change the default configuration with instructions from the manual.

The first time you power on the Pegasus3 there is a lengthy synchronization process that will run in the background. This can take a few hours to complete and the system is not usable until it’s done. The Pegasus will appear on your computer as an external hard drive when the process is done and you can begin storing files on it.

Testing
Ever since it arrived, I intended on using the Pegasus3 primarily for video editing. So, one of the first things I did was open Final Cut Pro and remap my video library to the Pegasus. Then, I moved the video files that I had stored on my laptop to the Pegasus. The file bundle totaled 36GB. I expected the transfer to be quick, but I was blown away when the files were dropped onto the Pegasus within seconds. SECONDS…not minutes. As a basis for comparison, I transferred the same file bundle to an external hard drive using USB 3.0 and the move took 18 minutes. While this is still a very speedy transfer rate, nothing can compare to the speeds I got through the Thunderbolt 3 connection.

For a couple of weeks, I used the Pegasus3 drive as my main editing storage. It worked flawlessly. To be honest, it was like I was working with files that were stored natively on my computer’s hard drive. I didn’t notice any difference.

Conclusions
The Pegasus3 R4 RAID from Promise Technology seems to be a very solid drive system. The build quality of the case is top-notch and the software that manages the data is very easy to use. I love the speed from the Thunderbolt 3 connection and it’s great to not stress over storage space. I can recommend this to video editors and content creators alike. It’s a great add-on for any computer system.

For more information, visit promise.com/Pegasus3-R4
Find Promise on Facebook and Twitter.

Originally published at macsources.com on March 9, 2017.

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