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Gadgets

Drobo 2: Return of the data robot

You really should know about the second-generation Drobo -- the sequel to the totally drool-worthy Drobo we reviewed back in February

Yesterday we had a little nerdgasm over the Freecom Mobile Drive XXS. While we're on the subject of cool storage devices, you really should know about the second-generation Data Robotics Drobo -- the sequel to the totally drool-worthy Drobo we reviewed back in February.

In case you'd forgotten, the Drobo is an electronic storage box that can accept up to four 3.5-inch serial-ATA hard drives. Feed it some disks -- the process is as simple as putting a CD into a drive -- and it aggregates their individual storage space to form one humongous, nearly indestructible super drive. Even if one of the disks dies, your data remains safe on the other working disks.

Now your memory's refreshed, you'll be happy to know that the second-gen Drobo has some cool improvements over the first. In addition to its USB connector, it now comes with a FireWire 800 port, which helps it work better with bandwidth-intensive applications such as Final Cut Pro. There's still no Ethernet, which is a huge shame. If you want that functionality you'll need to buy the DroboShare add-on.

The second-gen Drobo has a faster processor inside and that helps reduce the amount of time it takes to rebuild data after a drive failure. It also runs slightly more quietly and there's better ventilation, which reduces the likelihood of your drives overheating.

You can buy one now for around £320 -- drives not included. -Rory Reid