Performance, Pricing and Conclusion


With four WD Red 6TB drives installed and formatted to defaults (single disk redundancy), we connected the Drobo to a few different USB 3.0 devices to verify compatibility and speed. Nearly all of our results looked something like this:

Sequential Write:

Very good write speeds, clipping 210 MB/sec. This is ~2x what is possible with the original Gigabit iSCSI DroboPro, and nearly an order of magnitude above what the prior 4-bay Drobos could muster.

Sequential Read:

A steady 232 MB/sec on reads. Again, very good speeds seen from the Drobo here. We did manage to catch the Drobo doing some background data shuffling with one of our writes, but it was not nearly the performance hit we have seen on prior generation units:

Random Access:

This is an ATTO run at the default QD=4. Remember this run was with WD 6TB Reds, which are not geared towards random access. Here's what a single 6TB Red looks like when tested directly connected to the testbed (bypassing the Drobo):

With the Drobo between the host and the drives, we lose some of the Red's buffering performance on small random writes. This is mainly because the Drobo does not appear to pass queued commands, but it does turn in decent random performance for a HDD-based storage device connected via a non-UASP USB 3.0 link.


The new Drobo is MSRP'd at $350, but it has been selling for much lower on Amazon. As of this writing it is listed for $308, but last week the price dipped to $267, which is roughly half of what prior 4-bay Drobos have sold for.



  • Speed. The fastest Drobo we've tested to date.
  • Dead simple setup and configuration process.
  • The same BeyondRAID technology that we could not break 5 years ago.
  • High quality stamped steel construction.


  • We would like to see these refinements and improvements carried over to models with a higher number of bays.

The new third generation 4-Bay Drobo is exactly what the company needed, packing the features and reliability of BeyondRAID into a small and quiet unit. The updated hardware enables USB 3.0 throughputs exceeding 200MB/sec, and an integrated battery backup minimizes the chances of data loss or array corruption during unexpected power failures. Most amazing is how Drobo was able to include exceptional build quality at such a low asking price. I used to hold back on recommending Drobo because of its high cost and USB compatibility issues, but those have been essentially been solved.

Awarding Editor's Choice here as Drobo has finally delivered their BeyondRAID technology at a competitive price – something they've wanted to do for a very ling time.

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