by Tucker Mindrum

Sony Professional RAID HDD (PSZ-RA4T) Review

Sony designed their line of Professional RAID HDDs to appeal to videographers in need of something that is sturdy, portable, and fast; the PSZ-RA4T addresses all of these criteria with its heavily padded enclosure, retractable handle, and Thunderbolt 2 compatibility. Sony reports that the PSZ-RA4T delivers 440MB/s, making it well suited for demanding 4K workflows. In addition to its USB 3.0, the PSZ-RA4T has two Thunderbolt 2 ports, allowing users to daisy chain up to six units together for stationary applications.

Sony built the PSZ-RA4T to be as durable as possible since it was designed for use in the field. The enclosure is roughly twice the size of the actual drives; the majority of the open space functions to brace the drives against physical or vibration damage (e.g., from being dropped or from being used in a moving car). The chassis is also surrounded by rubber padding, which protects the drives from shock damage.

Memory Media Utility is available for download from Sony's website, which allows PC users to easily access device information and management tools (i.e., available capacity, file system, RAID mode, disk status, and reformatting options).

The PSZ-RA4T is available in 4TB and 6TB models ($470 and $550, respectively) and includes a 3-year warranty.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 4TB
  • HDD Size/Rotational speed: 2x 3.5in/7,200rpm
  • I/F: 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x Thunderbolt 2 ports
  • RAID: Preconfigured RAID 0, Hardware RAID 0 / 1 / JBOD
  • Transfer speed: Up to 440MB/s (in RAID 0 mode)
  • Power
    • Source: AC – DC adapter (VGP-AC19V77)
    • Input: AC 100 V - 240 V, 50Hz/60Hz, Output: DC 19.5 V/3.3 A (Max.)
  • Fie system (Factory default): exFAT
  • Operating temperature: 5 °C to 40 °C
  • Operating humidity: 8 % to 90 % (no condensation)
  • Storage temperature: -20 °C to +60 °C
  • Storage humidity: 8 % to 90 % (no condensation)
  • Shock resistance: MIL 20G/11ms (in operating mode), 50G/11ms (in non-operating mode)
  • Supplied application (by free download): Memory Media Utility
  • Dimensions (WxHxL): 156mm x 100mm x 241mm (without protrusions)
  • Weight: 2.9kg
  • OS: Use with both Mac & Win
  • Included items  
    • Professional RAID
    • USB cable
    • Thunderbolt cable
    • AC adapter
    • Power cord
    • Label
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Important Information
    • Warranty card
  • Warranty: 3 years

Design and Build

The Sony PSZ-RA4T more or less resembles a brick, with a sturdy rectangular shape and retractable handle along the top. The two HDDs are stacked and aligned horizontally inside the enclosure, with a rubber barrier between the drives and the outer enclosure for protection against vibrations/physical damage, as well as the rubber housing that partially covers the edges of the outer enclosure. The face of the device is vented along the bottom, with a power button, access LED, and branding located above the vent holes.

All of the ports are found at the back of the device along with the RAID selection tool, which allows users to alter drive format between RAID0, RAID1, and JBOD. From left to right, the PSZ-RA4T has a power port, a select and confirm button (for RAID selection), two Thunderbolt 2 ports, one USB 3.0 port, and power and access LEDs. There is also some venting, a Kensington lock port, and some branding.

Performance

The Sony Professional RAID HDD was tested on a current gen MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 2 using the Blackmagic speed test in both RAID0 and RAID1 configurations. We will compare the performance of the Sony Professional RAID to that of the LaCie Rugged RAID 4TB HDD.

The Sony Professional RAID HDD exhibited a strong performance when configured in RAID0, posting 359.8MB/s and 363.1MB/s in read and write, respectively. The LaCie Rugged was more or less outclassed, with read and write speeds of only 230.2MB/s and 248.9MB/s, respectively.

The standings were the same when the drives were configured in RAID1, with the Sony posting 189.8MB/s and 182.7MB/s (read and write, respectively) and the LaCie Rugged posting 104.4MB/s and 125.1MB/s (read and write, respectively).

Conclusion

Sony's line of Professional RAID HDDs aims to deliver reliable storage to videographers. By building the PSZ-RA4T with a reinforced enclosure (including rubber padding surrounding the drives as well as rubber padding surrounding the enclosure itself), Sony ensured that on-the-go users can trust that their data will remain safe during use. Sony also built the PSZ-RA4T with an emphasis on speed, which is evidenced in our performance benchmarks: the Sony Professional RAID HDD handedly outperformed the LaCie Rugged HDD in both RAID0 and RAID1 configurations. The hard drive is also easy to use, with configuration options on the back (RAID0, RAID1, and JBOD), and a retractable handle on the top. The only downside to this line of HDDs is that it lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port, which we will probably see in subsequent models.

Pros

  • Physical RAID selection button
  • Sturdy enclosure
  • Great performance

Cons

  • Lacks Thunderbolt 3 compatibility

The Bottom Line

Sony's Professional RAID HDD addresses the unique demands of working videographers by combining top-notch performance with a road ready enclosure.

PSZ-RA4T Product Page

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