My NAS Box has a first name, it’s s-l-o-w
How do you spell slow? P-X-N-A-S-2, according to Plextor. It’s not a proud achievement, but this one-terabyte network-attached storage device is one of the slower devices we’ve ever hooked up to our network. Transferring files is slow. Accessing the Web-based user interface is slow. Formatting the drives to a new storage type is slow. Slow, slow, slow.
We almost couldn’t believe it ourselves—there had to be something wrong with either our test network, a full-fledged Gigabit network run through a single D-Link DIR-825 Xtreme wireless router, or the setup of the two 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 drives nestled within this two-bay device.
The PX-NAS2 has two drive bays, but you can't remove the lower drive without removing the upper drive, first.
Subsequent tests on other, speedier NAS boxes ruled out the first, and reconfiguring the PX-NAS2’s internal storage setup only brought additional heartache. You get three storage modes to choose from on the NAS box: a JBOD or a RAID 0 “striped” array, which deliver near-identical, slow speeds, or an ice-age-inducing RAID 1 mirror that’s the digital equivalent of taking the dog on a long walk. The numbers speak for themselves: a wee over five minutes to transfer a 2.7-gigabyte file to the NAS box, and three minutes and 30 seconds to read it.
Even the NAS box’s UI feels sluggish. Plextor includes a handy utility that automatically finds your box on the network—that, we like. Although it had a little trouble actually mapping the drive’s folders within our test system’s 64-bit Windows 7 installation, it did adequately pull up the correct Web-based administration page for the PX-NAS2.
And then you wait. You wait all of the various status screens to load on the primary Administration page before clicking a link, you sometimes wait for the churn of the page for the actual link you’ve clicked on and—if you dare try to reformat your drives into a new RAID setup—you wait even longer. If you’re lucky, the NAS box hangs at 99 percent and doesn’t give you any indication of what you should do in response.
Not content to be slow, his NAS is also loud: You definitely won’t want to put it in your living room—unless you’re watching a show about aircraft carrier takeoffs, in which case the PX-NAS2 will fit right in.
It’s comforting to know that at least all the standard features are present on the PX-NAS2’s Web administration side of things. By that, we mean that the device supports features like the good ol’ create-your-own-FTP-server deal, streaming folders to iTunes or a UPnP-friendly living room device, hosting your own Web page, downloading BitTorrents straight to the PX-NAS2, et cetera. We don’t mean to gloss over these unfairly; they’re just the same-ol’, same-ol’ kinds of useful tools that are common to a number of competing products.
We really like how Plextor makes it super-easy to custom-install new features directly into the software administration system. While it is slightly unnerving that useful elements like backup functionality and SMART hard drive analyses aren’t included in the device’s operating system by default, at least they’re easy to get to, right? Curiously, Plextor omitted these useful additions for software elements like a Flickr/YouTube uploading tool. If you’ve ever wanted to seed the Cloud with the contents of your NAS box, the PX-NAS2 is the way to go.
Upgrading the actual hard drives inside the PX-NAS2 appears to be a tool-less procedure at first. Undoing the case of the NAS box is as easy as untwisting three thumbscrews on the device’s rear. The hard drives require considerable more finesse—and a screwdriver—to remove. Not only do you have to detach four screws per drive, you then have to slam the drive into the front of the NAS box to wiggle it out of its immovable tray. To add salt in the wound, you can’t remove the lowermost drive unless you first remove the top one.
Simply put, purchasing Plextor’s PX-NAS2 is going to be more an exercise in frustration than file-management. We recommend you steer clear of this ice box of a NAS box.