We are all guilty of lackluster data backup and storage management in one way or another. Most music lovers have a single hard drive in their laptop or desktop and when it fails every single album goes up in smoke (Cheech and Chong reference). Others are a little more cautious and attach a standard external hard drive to their music server and run a backup every once in a while. Some of us are even running RAID 5 NAS units and betting that two drives will not fail at the same time. All of this is fine and dandy until you hang up your smoking jacket and set your tobacco pipe down after an extended listening session. Long after you've retired for the evening the dog swings by knocking the pipe to the floor. Unbenownced to both of you a smouldering ember has disappeard into the shag carpetting and before you know it you're wearing you're Hugh Hefner-esque robe in front of your house watching it burn. I'm sure a music sever and collection of ripped albums would not be top of mind at that moment, but no doubt the unreplaceable family photos and family heirlooms would come to mind once everyone was safe. Most people would be <a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=S.O.L.">S.O.L.</a> in this situation. Fortunately FireKing has created the MediaVault HD that can hold 500 GB of data in a fireproof enclosure. This sixty-five pound container is one substantial and safe external storage solution.
<img src="http://images.computeraudiophile.com/graphics/2009/0330/MVHD_set.jpg" style="padding: 5pt 10pt 7pt 5pt;" align="left">I've been using the FireKing MediaVaultHD for about one month and I've really grown to like it. As I previously stated this thing weighs in at a hefty 65 lbs. and has total disk capacity of 500 GB. The disk space consist of two 2.5" 250 GB seagate drives. The drives are powered via USB which is the only connection to the outside world from inside the container. The USB cables seem like part of the container as they weave from the internal drives to an external USB port where the connection to a computer is made. The cable holes are totally sealed off so no air/smoke can penetrate the container's weakest point. One must be careful not to harm the USB cables as attempting to replace them would undoubtedly compromise the container. When the 5400 RPM drives are spinning there is absolutely no sound coming from the enclosure. Audiophiles looking for silent hard drives are certain to find them with this unit. Also note that the MVHD can be used as primary music library storage as the SATA 5400 RPM speed is certainly enough speed to serve high resolution audio.
<img src="http://images.computeraudiophile.com/graphics/2009/0330/MVHD_install_a_h200.jpg" style="padding: 5pt 10pt 7pt 5pt;" align="left">While the MediaVaultHD review unit was in my system I had it connected to my Apple Airport Extreme Base Station much of the time. This way I could use the fireproof container as a backup drive with Time Machine. The configuration worked flawlessly just like any other external hard drive connected to an AEBS. I also tested the MediaVaultHD as a directly connected backup drive. Since most of us have more than 250 GB of music to backup and this unit contains two 250 GB drives I tried a couple different options. Using the Mac OS X Disk Utility I created a 500 GB volume by combining both drives into one visible volume. This approach leaves all the data vulnerable to a single drive failure but it works nonetheless. Another approach I used was to fill up the first 250 GB drive then begin backing up music to the second 250 GB drive. Since both drives have separate USB connections this is very simple and the full drive can actually be disconnected and left inside the container. This would free up a connection for an additional drive inside the MediaVaultHD as there is room spare. The 500 GB MediaVaultHD capacity can be used and exceeded with a little creativity. The drives in the MVHD do require a fair amount of USB power are likely not compatible with a USB hub. I tried to connect both drives simultaneously to my Airport Extreme through a hub but I could not get this configuration to work. It is possible a powered hub could be used but there are no guarantees the unit will work any differently.
<img src="http://images.computeraudiophile.com/graphics/2009/0330/MVHD_usbcable_h100.jpg" style="padding: 5pt 10pt 7pt 5pt;" align="left">
One nice feature about the MVHD is the included USB cables have additional USB ports on them. Thus, additional USB devices can be used even with the two MVHD drives connected.
<img src="http://images.computeraudiophile.com/graphics/2009/0330/MVHD_harddrive_w150.jpg" style="padding: 5pt 10pt 7pt 5pt;" align="left">A couple downsides to the unit are the limitation of two small drives and the container as a whole is very aesthetically challenged. That said I still don't want to send the review unit back to FireKing. There was a great sense of safety knowing my files could survive <a href="
The FireKing MediaVaultHD is one serious external drive enclosure. Consider this unit like an insurance policy that you can actually benefit from every day. Those of us unwilling, or to lazy, to keep a copy of our data in an offsite location should be happy to mitigate the risk of loss with the MVHD. It doesn't get any simpler than plugging in a USB hard drive. This USB hard drive just happens to withstand 1700°F. Recommended with confidence.
Manufacturer: <a href="http://www.fireking.com/">FireKing</a>
Product Website: <a href="http://www.mediavaulthd.com/">MediaVaultHD</a>
Price: $900 - $1000
Availability: <a href="http://www.mediavaulthd.com/buy.html">Where To Buy</a>
1. <a href="http://files.computeraudiophile.com/2009/0330/MVHD_Manual.pdf">User manual</a>
2. <a href="http://files.computeraudiophile.com/2009/0330/MVHD_brochure.pdf">MVHD Brochure</a> (5.22 MB)
3. <a href="http://files.computeraudiophile.com/2009/0330/Comp_chart.pdf">Backup Media Comparison Chart</a>
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