Ever since its formation in 1993, Glyph Technologies has become one of the primary providers of data storage solutions to the digital audio and post production industries. By developing relationships with manufacturers such as Digidesign, Mark of The Unicorn and TASCAM and with storage partners Seagate, IBM, Sony and Pioneer, Glyph has developed into one of the world’s preeminent production storage solutions. The new IEEE 1394a/iLink- (FireWire) based GT 103 enables the easy management of high track count audio in a self-contained 1RU rackmount system.
The 1.7-inch x 19-inch x 16-inch GT 103’s 1RU stainless steel and aluminum enclosure features Glyph’s new QuietMetal and Integrity features. QuietMetal is an inner frame that protects recordings from unwanted fan and drive noise. Integrity is an advanced FireWire interface that improves hot-swap integrity over existing ATA-to-FireWire products. The Integrity system’s bridging electronics are built into the cartridge. This system provides a tremendously reliable and robust hot-swap interface.
The hot-swap drives in the 16 pound GT 103 are interchangeable with the GT 051 tabletop and the GT 308 eight-bay 3RU enclosures. The GT 103 is configurable in any combination of three GT Key hot-swappable 80GB, 120GB, 160GB or 200GB drives. The eight-bay GT 308 is a 3RU rack that holds up to six FireWire hot-swap drives, plus any combination of two DVD/CD-RW, AIT tape backup, and/or SCSI hot-swap drives. This is an amazing amount of storage horsepower in a three-space rack. For tabletop and portable applications, the GT 050 FireWire or SCSI fixed, and the GT 051 FireWire hot-swap tabletops provide convenience and nearly-silent operation. Both of these units are a nice compliment to the GT 103.
The heart of the GT 103 is the GT Key hot-swappable drive. These 7200 RPM drives use the Oxford 911 chip for bridging and have a rotational average seek time of 8.2 msec. With an 8MB cache, the drives’ max external transfer rate is 400 Mb/sec (50 MB/sec). The drives support Mac OS 8.6/9.x/10.x and Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP, and any other standard OS that supports FireWire.
I received 80GB, 120GB and 180GB drives for my tests and I have been extremely pleased with their performance. Glyph has updated to higher capacities since the review unit was sent. I found that the ability to fit three drives into a single rack space is a highly desirable commodity. I love the whole concept of the GT series drives. The idea of having the GT 103 at the studio and then having a GT 051 at home is fantastic. Bringing drives back and forth from home to the studio or from one studio to another becomes amazingly simple.
Over several months I logged literally hundreds of hours on the drives without a single problem. Actually this is not completely true. In one instance my computer crashed while information was being written to one of the Glyph drives and I had to call tech support to get the problem sorted out. Without mentioning that I was reviewing the drives for a magazine, the support staff was amazingly helpful, completely willing to go the extra mile to help me overcome the problem. In a short amount of time (and without losing any data), I was back on line.
Included with every Glyph drive is their list of service policies that ensure the user will have top notch customer service. With the Hard Drive Advance Replace policy, a hard disk drive that fails within the first year of its warranty will be replaced by 10:30 AM the next business day. The 48 Hour In-House Repair Warranty promises that any Glyph storage product that is in warranty will have a maximum turn around time of 48 hours in the Glyph repair facility. If a product needs replacing, Glyph will install a new or serviced part in the device and ship it back within 48 hours.
I rarely use more than 20-25 tracks when recording to Pro Tools but to test the drives I created a 32-track session utilizing all of my 32 inputs and assigned them all to the 80GB drive. The drive performed flawlessly. I let the session run for 15 minutes and I didn’t have a single problem. I repeated the test with the 120GB and the 180GB drives and in both cases they performed without fault. Copying files from one drive to another was also faster on the Glyph than on any of my other drives.
The front panel mounted FireWire port is a wonderful feature. I constantly have people bringing FireWire drives in and out of my studio. This additional port saves me from climbing behind my rack every time I need to connect or disconnect a drive.
The 1RU GT 103 is configurable into any combination of three GT Key hot-swappable 80GB, 120GB, 160GB or 200GB drives, thus providing configurable high-density storage that is dependable and quiet.