Performance and Final Thoughts
The RapidSpar is FAST! For good sectors, you are only limited by the slowest of the source or target drive speed. Thanks to hardware-specific reset capability and optimized settings via RapidNebula, bad sectors can be plowed through in ~1-2 seconds each (I’ve seen <1 seconds for some). This varies by drive manufacturer, as some drives are slower to respond to each reset, but a couple of seconds is way faster than the typical 20-30 seconds it takes for some consumer drives to give up on their own. Sometimes failing drives can hang completely during a recovery, but the RapidSpar can detect those situations and power cycle the drive all on its own! Several of the failed drives in my collection were not recognized by the BIOS of any PC that I attempted to connect them to, meaning no software tools could be used.
Of four such cases, three were successfully initialized by the RapidSpar (the fourth had major issues and was in obvious need of a mechanical repair). Out of nearly 20 total flaky drives tested, the RapidSpar was remarkably successful, even on a 6TB unit with a failing main bearing. That drive was constantly reporting bad sectors for every other tool I used (even a Tableau Forensic Bridge – another hardware imager), but the RapidSpar successfully imaged the entire 6TB in less than a day, and with only a couple of unreadable sectors to boot. By a couple, I mean literally TWO sectors (1,024 bytes total out of 6,000,000,000,000)! That same drive mechanically failed a few hours later, meaning it would not have lasted through any software-based recovery effort.
Yes, I know, it's pricey, but the RapidSpar is less than half the cost of more advanced hardware-based recovery gear. Services using similar tools charge ~$300+ per recovery, so owning a RapidSpar makes more sense for IT shops and mom-and-pop computer repair places who will see a bit of volume. Considering the unit pays for itself after half a dozen recoveries should ease the price tag just a bit. Just remember that while it dramatically increases your chances of a recovery compared with software tools alone, it doesn't work miracles. There will still be mechanical failures that require a clean-room repair, but hopefully you can get those drives plugged into a RapidSpar before that happens.
The RapidSpar is a truly impressive data recovery device. The DeepSpar team have distilled a subset of their vast recovery experience into a product that can initialize drives not even recognized by most systems. Their RapidNebula service provides cloud-based drive-specific optimal recovery settings to the unit, enabling bad sector handling at speeds rivaling any software tool. The included RapidSpar Assistant software is file-system aware, and allows Targeted Recovery of data, allowing surgical imaging and extraction of only the files you are after, saving time and maximizing the chances of success for failing drives. I’ve been throwing faulty drives at this demo unit for almost a year now, and I have come away extremely impressed with just how many high-end recovery features have managed to trickle down into this powerful little unit.
What’s more impressive is how aggressively the DeepSpar team have developed the RapidSpar during its ‘beta’ cycle. I’ve seen bugs squashed and patched within days or even hours of reporting them. It is now clear to me that these folks have a lot of pride in the devices they make, and their enthusiasm about the technical aspects of data recovery is just refreshing to say the least.
I highly recommend the RapidSpar for any IT department, computer repair shop, or even data forensics operation. It's worth its weight in gold even as a standalone disk imager.