nas boxes en Rumor: Intel Planning Atom CPUs For NAS Boxes <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u138055/atom_inside_thumbnail.jpg" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Ah, network attached storage; whether you’re <a href="">building your own</a> or <a href="">buying premade</a>, nothing beats a NAS box when it comes to storing and streaming media files across a network. For the most part, NAS boxes offer a stripped-down interface and very few bells and whistles, making them fairly energy-efficient compared to full-fledged PCs. Hey – aren’t netbooks low-powered too? Yep, and now that most everybody’s passing up netbooks in favor of tablets, a new report says that Intel may be planning to shift some focus for its low-powered Atom chips from netbooks to NAS boxes.</p> <p>Anything you read in DigiTimes should be taken with a grain of salt – or seven – since the publication doesn’t exactly bat .1000 with its rumors, but this one actually makes some sense (and hey, NAS boxes should get more spotlight time, anyways). DigiTimes’ as-always-anonymous sources claim that <a href=";pages=PD&amp;seq=205">we’ll start seeing new 32nm Atom CPUs for NAS boxes and entry-level servers as early as the second quarter of 2012</a>. The publication even outs the chips’ alleged codename: Centerton. </p> <p>While Atom chips don’t offer anywhere near the brawn of Sandy Bridge, they can certainly hold their own against the CPUs currently found in NAS boxes. But then again, most people don’t expect – or even want – too much out of their network storage. Does the thought of an Atom-powered NAS box intrigue you?</p> Atom processor Hardware intel Intel Atom nas NAS Box nas boxes rumor News Mon, 26 Dec 2011 19:12:16 +0000 Brad Chacos 21944 at Qnap TS-239 Pro Turbo NAS <!--paging_filter--><h3>It's full of Linux!</h3> <p>The QNAP TS-239 Pro reminds us of nothing so much as an easier-to-use version of our <a href="/article/features/cheap_and_nasty_how_build_open_source_server" target="_blank">home-rolled FreeNAS server</a> (January 2010). Unlike most NAS boxes we’ve reviewed, with their little ARM embedded processors and 512MB of RAM, the TS-239 Pro packs a full gigabyte of RAM and a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor. Furthering the impression that it’s a mini computer is the VGA-out port, which, when combined with a USB keyboard, lets you configure the QNAP’s Linux OS directly. Essentially, the TS-239 Pro is a two-bay Linux home server, with all the features you’d expect from a home or SMB NAS box, from UPnP and iTunes streaming to FTP and web servers—and even some features you wouldn’t necessarily expect, like support for networked cameras.</p> <p>Like most NAS boxes, the web GUI is the key to configuring and using the TS-239 Pro, and QNAP’s web interface is better than most. The first screen you see when you log in offers wizards for creating groups, users, and shares, and configuring FTP access and backups. A side menu tree offers status, disk and hardware management, and more. System logs and S.M.A.R.T. disk info are easy to find.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><a href="/files/u90693/Qnap-full.jpg" class="thickbox"><img src="/files/u90693/Qnap-405.jpg" width="405" height="415" /></a><br /><strong>The drive trays on the QNAP TS-239 Pro feature locks, so miscreants can't take advantage of the easy-access bays.</strong></div> <p>The TS-239 ships with several shares enabled by default—helpfully, these all start with Q: Qmultimedia for media, Qweb for websites the NAS is hosting, Qusb for USB devices plugged into its two ports, etc. Both the included iTunes and UPnP media servers scan Qmultimedia out of the box, but you can change this. User and group permissions are one of the QNAP NAS’s strengths; it’s easy to set per-user permissions for files and folders, unlike some similar NAS boxes.</p> <p>Like Synology’s NAS, the TS-239 Pro doesn’t ship with any drives by default. We tested ours with two 1TB Samsung Spinpoint HD103UJ drives in RAID 1. File transfers were quick, as you’d expect from a 1.6GHz processor and 1GB of RAM—we copied a 2.79GB file from our PC to the NAS in just one minute, 20 seconds, and 650MB of smaller files in 18 seconds—both faster than the Synology DS409+, with its ARM processor. Unsurprisingly, the Athlon X2 240 CPU and 2GB of RAM in our <a href="/article/features/cheap_and_nasty_how_build_open_source_server" target="_blank">homebrew FreeNAS server</a> spanked the QNAP’s transfer speeds, with our 2.79GB file transferring to the FreeNAS server in 53 seconds—nearly half a minute faster than the QNAP. Of course, the QNAP also consumes far less power.</p> <p>While the web GUI is laid out differently from Synology’s, the features offered are largely the same—although the Synology DS409+ is a little more feature-rich, with iPhone apps, support for more networked cameras, etc.—and useful if you need ‘em; pointless if you don’t.</p> <p>We dig the locking drive trays and sleek style of the TS-239 Pro, but it gets a bit loud during file transfers. The TS-239 Pro has a powerful processor, plenty of ports, a great web interface, and a lot of options, though having only two drive bays means you won’t be using RAID 5. At $500 for a two-bay NAS with no drives, it’s approaching Windows Home Server prices, but the TS-239 has enough power (and enough features) that it’s worth buying.  </p> Hardware Hardware nas nas boxes qnap reviews Turbo February 2010 2010 Reviews NAS Boxes From the Magazine Thu, 28 Jan 2010 17:58:13 +0000 Nathan Edwards 10577 at Synology DS409+ NAS <!--paging_filter--><h3>Powerful and feature-rich, but not for newbs <br /></h3> <p>The Synology DS409+, though targeted at small- and medium-size business owners, is a great addition to any home network, with a robust web admin panel, media streaming of all stripes, cross-platform support, and easy backup—of the computers on your network, and of the NAS itself. To call this merely “network-attached storage” does the device a disservice.</p> <p>The DS409+ is a squat brown-black box with a minimalist feel, and it ships sans drives, so you’ll have to provide your own. The ports are on the back of the device and include two USB 2.0, one eSATA, and one Gigabit Ethernet. In addition to two 8cm fans, the hinged back panel contains four thumbscrews, which, once unscrewed, allow the panel to open and the top of the case to lift off. The DS409+’s four hard drive trays accommodate 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives, which must be screwed into the trays and slotted into the NAS box’s SATA backplane. The DS409+ can be configured with up to 8TB of storage; we tested ours with four 750GB Samsung Spinpoint HD753LJ 7,200rpm hard drives in RAID 5, making a 2TB volume. (The DS409+ also supports JBOD and RAID levels 0, 1, 5 + spare, and 6.)</p> <div style="text-align: center"><a href="/files/u90693/NAS_Synology_full.jpg" class="thickbox"><img src="/files/u90693/NAS_Synology_405.jpg" width="405" height="420" /></a><br /><strong>The staid exterior of the Synology DS409+ belies its feature-packed but slightly obtuse web interface.</strong></div> <p>With its 1.06GHz Freescale CPU and 512MB of RAM, the DS409+ turned in excellent performance. We transferred a 2.79GB file from our PC to the NAS in just a minute and a half, and from the NAS to the PC in 60 seconds; 600MB of smaller files took just 22 seconds to copy to the NAS, and 18 seconds the other way. That’s better performance than Seagate’s BlackArmor 440 (reviewed in August), which has a higher-clock processor but half the RAM of the Synology.</p> <p>The web administration panel is incredibly full-featured—and slightly daunting. Admins can see at-a-glance data on disk usage, S.M.A.R.T. hard drive diagnostics, user quotas and permissions, and the status of network services. And oh, the services! In addition to the by-now-standard fare of iTunes and DLNA/UPnP media streaming, the updated firmware lets the DS409+ act as a web server, hosting PHP and MySQL databases, an FTP server, and a mail server. The DS409+ also supports terminal access via telnet/ssh. One of our favorite features, AudioStation, can stream your music library to any computer, iPhone, or Windows Mobile smartphone. Or the DS409+ itself can act as a jukebox if you connect it to a set of USB speakers. PhotoStation does the same for photos. Surveillance Station acts as a control panel for your networked webcams; Download Station lets you schedule BitTorrent, FTP, RapidShare, and other P2P downloads—you get the idea. The included Data Replicator 3 software lets users back up their local machines to their private folders on the NAS.</p> <p>The DS409+’s web interface gives you a satisfying amount of control over a dizzying array of features, and though it’s not very user-friendly, we can’t complain about a lack of amenities. It’d be nice if the drives were more accessible—we liked the front-mounted hot-swap bays on the Seagate BlackArmor 440—and $550 is steep for a device that ships without drives. Ultimately, though, the DS409+ is a powerful and speedy NAS device that is just as appealing to the home networker as to the SMB owner, and we don’t hesitate to recommend it.</p> Hardware Hardware nas boxes reviews 2009 Reviews NAS Boxes Holiday 2009 From the Magazine Tue, 19 Jan 2010 02:00:00 +0000 Nathan Edwards 9357 at Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440 <!--paging_filter--><h3>A whole lotta NAS for a whole lotta dough <br /></h3> <p>Last month we reviewed Western Digital’s MyBook World Edition, a small, white, single-drive, one-terabyte NAS box aimed solidly at Joe User. This month, we have the Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440, the MyBook’s polar opposite in many ways.  It’s big, it’s black, it’s user-serviceable, comes with four Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB drives, and is marketed toward small businesses without a dedicated IT staff.</p> <p>The BlackArmor 440 is a brick, the front of which has a two-line green LCD status screen, a front door that opens to reveal the four hot-swappable screwless drive bays, one of the box’s four USB 2.0 host ports, and a power button. The back holds the 12cm exhaust fan, the power jack (for the external power brick), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and the other three USB 2.0 ports.</p> <p>The LCD display offers system status information and a few buttons to navigate with, but the real power comes from the BlackArmor’s web interface, which is easily accessible from the BlackArmor Discovery software included with the NAS. The Discovery software also provides easy mapping of shared folders—the defaults are Public and Downloads.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><a href="/files/u90693/Drive_SeagateNAS_full.jpg" class="thickbox"><img src="/files/u90693/Drive_SeagateNAS_405.jpg" width="405" height="345" /></a><br /><strong>The BlackArmor 440 is probably more NAS than a home network needs.</strong></div> <p>Via the web interface, admins can configure users’ quotas and permissions (including who can access the devices on each USB port); set up email alerts; set up, manage, and monitor the SMART status of drives and volumes; and turn on iTunes and media sharing and global access. Other options include FTP, HTTPS access (using your own SSL certificates or ones generated by the NAS), CIFS, NFS, Bonjour, and more.</p> <p>One interesting feature is the ability to create multiple RAID arrays on the same drives. It’s a neat trick, but most users should stick with the single RAID 5 volume the 440 comes with.</p> <p>One of the BlackArmor’s most useful inclusions is the BlackArmor Backup service, a custom app by Acronis. The 440 includes 10 full-version licenses, and more can be acquired from Seagate. For small-office users, that’s a lot of value.</p> <p>In its default RAID 5 configuration, using one Gigabit Ethernet port, the 440 transfers files quickly. Copying a 2.79GB file from the NAS to a PC on the local network took two minutes and 38 seconds, while writing that file to the NAS took just over a minute. Connecting the other Ethernet port increases transfer speeds, but that port can also be used to make NAS-to-NAS backups or server backups.<br /> <br />After a week of testing, one of the 1.5TB drives in our review unit failed, so we got an opportunity to see the 440’s recovery process in action. The LCD screen and the web management panel both displayed alerts, and the RAID 5 was still functional, though degraded.<br /> <br />To rebuild the array, all we did was eject and replace the faulty drive. From there, it was a matter of three or four mouse clicks before the RAID 5 array was recovering itself in the background. Rebuilding a 4.5TB array takes a long time, so we were pleased that we could still use the volume normally during the process.</p> <p>The Seagate BlackArmor 440 is a powerful NAS with a huge array of business-oriented features. In fact, it’s almost certainly overkill for home users, unless you have a large home network. After all, it’s eight times the price of the consumer-friendly MyBook World 1TB. But with its enormous capacity and wealth of features, it would make a very useful addition to a small office network. </p><p>&nbsp;</p> Hardware Hardware nas boxes reviews seagate 2009 August 2009 Reviews NAS Boxes From the Magazine Thu, 27 Aug 2009 17:00:01 +0000 Nathan Edwards 7576 at How To: Build A NAS Box <!--paging_filter--><div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u22694/NASopener.jpg" alt="How To Build a NAS Box Opener" width="415" height="249" /></div> <p>Crush the performance of consumer network-attached storage devices by building your own! And you can use a number of legacy parts to do this on the cheap!</p> <h3>Time: 3 Hours</h3> <h3>What You Need<br /></h3> <ul> <li>FreeNAS <br />Free, <a href=""></a></li> <li>ISO Recorder <br />Free, <a href=""></a></li> <li>USB Thumb Drive</li> <li>Motherboard</li> <li>CPU</li> <li>Case</li> <li>Memory</li> <li>Videocard</li> <li>Optical Drive</li> <li>Power Supply</li> <li>One or More Hard Drives</li> </ul> <p>A network-attached storage (NAS) device is the Robin to a LAN’s Batman. The two should be inseparable, and for good reason. A NAS box gives you a guaranteed way to store all of your files and stream your media. Running a NAS box also means that you don’t have to boot your power-leeching desktop rig every time you want to access your files from another device.</p> <p>But you don’t have to go out and purchase a NAS device. You can build a superior alternative using spare parts left over after upgrading your PC.</p> <p>We recently gathered a bunch of components that had been gathering dust in the Lab and built a FrankenNAS that absolutely pulverized its admittedly budget retail competitor, the $135 Linksys NAS200. Using an Asus A8N32 SLI Deluxe motherboard and a dual-core 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 CPU, we were able to shorten our transfer speeds to one-sixth of the NAS200’s on small transfers and around one-seventh on larger file moves. Note that you don’t even need top-of-the-line hardware for your device. Our open-source operating system, FreeNAS, will run on almost anything.</p> <p>But just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s simple. So we’re going to walk you through the finer points of setting up a FreeNAS-based network storage device of your very own. You’ll be streaming your favorite movies in no time!</p> <h3>1.Burn the FreeNAS ISO to CD</h3> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u22694/Step1.jpg" alt="Step One" width="415" height="290" /></div> <p>The first step in the process is building the physical NAS box, but since it’s no different from assembling a PC, we’re skipping ahead to the installation of the operating system. In order to do that, you’ll first want to set your NAS motherboard’s BIOS to boot from an optical drive. </p> <p>FreeNAS is based on FreeBSD, a Unix-like open-source OS developed in the early 1990s. It’s not Linux and it’s definitely not Windows, so you should be aware that using the OS as the backbone of your file storage is going to first wipe out anything that might be on the hard drives you use. On the upside, FreeNAS itself requires no hard drive space for installation. It’s so compact, we’ll be using an embedded version that can run off a USB thumb drive or a CompactFlash card as small as 32MB.</p> <p>Download the FreeNAS ISO and drop a CD in your burner. If you don’t already have software capable of burning an ISO image to a CD, download and install the free utility ISO Recorder. If you’re using ISO Recorder, right-click the file you just downloaded and choose the option “Copy image to CD.” </p> <p>Once you’ve burned the image, put the CD in your NAS box’s optical drive, restart your computer, and boot FreeNAS from the CD. One caveat: Make sure your motherboard’s BIOS is configured to boot from a USB device, as we’ll be installing the operating system to a thumb drive. </p> <h3>2. Install FreeNAS on a USB Thumb Drive </h3> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u22694/DOS.jpg" alt="Step 2" width="415" height="267" /></div> <p>We’re going to set up our NAS to boot from a USB thumb drive so we don’t limit our upgrade options. If you didn’t listen to us in the last step and are using an old mobo that just won’t boot from a removable device, you have two options. You can boot from the CD and store your configuration file on a USB thumb drive or CompactFlash card or you can partition your hard drive, copy the OS to that partition, and boot from there. Be aware, however, that you cannot use the resulting storage partition for RAID: FreeNAS allows only whole drives in an array.</p> <p><strong>Quick Tip:</strong> Double-check whether FreeNAS offers support for your hardware by checking the compatibility lists at <a href=";Itemid=30">;Itemid=30</a>.</p> <p>When the FreeNAS Console Setup menu appears (tap the Escape key if the FreeNAS splash screen doesn’t disappear on its own), plug a thumb drive into the NAS box’s USB port and choose the menu item “Install/Upgrade to a hard drive/flash device, etc.” At the next prompt, choose the first option: “Install ‘embedded’ OS on HDD/Flash/USB.” Choose the optical drive containing the FreeNAS ISO image and hit Enter. Next, select the USB thumb drive on which you want to install the OS. Note that the installation process’s default choice is the hard drive, so make sure you’ve changed it to your thumb drive before you hit the Enter key. </p> <p>After you’ve installed the operating system on the thumb drive, remove the CD and reboot your NAS box. </p> <h3>3 Configure Your Network Settings <br /></h3> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u22694/Step3.jpg" alt="Step 3" width="415" height="210" /></div> <p>When your NAS box has rebooted, choose item 1 from the Console Setup menu: Assign Interface. Unplug the NAS box’s Ethernet cable and choose the OS’s Auto Detection option. When prompted, plug the Ethernet cable back in and hit the Enter key. You should get a message that reads “Detected link-up on interface XX,” where “XX” is the name of your Ethernet interface (in our example, the name was “nve0”). Hit the Enter key again.</p> <p>The next screen will read “Configure OPT interface.” This enables you to configure a second Ethernet port, assuming your motherboard has one. For now, choose the option that reads “Finish and exit configuration” and hit the Enter key. Accept the naming scheme presented in the next screen and hit Enter.</p> <p>Next, type the number 7 and hit Enter to reboot the computer. When the machine has finished rebooting, choose item 2 from the Console Setup menu: Set LAN IP Address. The OS will ask if you want to use DHCP. Choose Yes unless your network is set up with static IP addresses. At the next prompt, select “AutoConfiguration for IPv6.”</p> <p>The OS will then give you the IP address that’s been assigned to the NAS box. You can now ping your NAS box to verify that it has joined your network and you can manage its settings using your web browser. Just type the NAS box’s IP address into your browser’s address bar. The default user name is “admin” and the password is “freenas.” </p> <h3 align="right"><a href="/article/howtos/how_to_build_a_nas_box?page=0%2C1">Next: Configure Your NAS, Format the Drive, and Get Started!</a> <br /></h3> <hr /> <h3>4. Configure Your Drive</h3> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u22694/Step4.jpg" alt="Step 4" width="415" height="237" /></div> <p>Once you’ve logged into the web GUI, you’ll want to take a whack at a few important configuration steps: Change the name of the NAS; set the correct date, time, and time zone; and create a unique username and password. Start by clicking General (in the left-hand menu stack, under the System heading) and change the desired information in the large pane on the right. </p> <p>Click the Password tab, type in the existing password (“freenas”), and enter your new password in the two boxes provided.<br />You’re now ready to prepare your hard drive. Go back to the left-hand menu and choose Management under the Disks heading. The plus sign inside the circle on the right-hand pane indicates that you can add an element to the NAS. In this case, we’re going to add a hard drive. Click the plus symbol and all the drives in your system (including the optical and USB thumb drive) will appear in the window next to the Disk heading. Be sure to choose your hard drive. </p> <p>You might want to experiment with some of the options on this page (especially “hard disk standby time,” “advanced power management,” and “acoustic level”), but leave them at their default values for now. Do make sure that the value for “Preformatted file system” is set to “unformatted” before you click the Add button; then click Apply Changes. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>5. Format and Mount the Hard Drive</h3> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u22694/Step5.jpg" alt="Step 5" width="415" height="263" /></div> <p>Ready to wipe your drive? Return to the Disks heading in the left-hand column of the NAS box’s administrative options and click Format. Make sure you’re ready to proceed, as the option will erase any information previously stored on the drive. Choose your hard drive from the drop-down menu, enter a volume label, and accept the remaining default choices: “File System: UFS (GPT and Soft Updates),” “Minimum Free Space (8),” and “Don’t Erase MBR (unchecked).” Click the Format Disk button.</p> <p>A drive must be mounted before it can be accessed, so go back to the left-hand Disks menu and click Mount Point. Click the circled plus sign, select Disk from the drop-down Type menu, and choose your hard drive from the drop-down Disk menu. Choose EFI GPT from the Partition menu and UFS for the File System value. Click the Add button when you’re finished. An OK message in the Status window indicates that the drive was successfully mounted.</p> <h3>6. Enable Services and Create Shares </h3> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u22694/Step6.jpg" alt="Step 6" width="415" height="475" /></div> <p>We need to access our NAS box using computers running Windows, so it’s essential that we enable the SAMBA networking protocol on our NAS box. Look in the left-hand column for the heading labeled Services and click the CIFS/SMB menu item. Place a check mark next to Enable in the main window but leave all the values at their default settings. Click the Save and Restart button.</p> <p>Now that SAMBA’s up and running, you’ll need to create one or more network shares that allow your remote computers to treat the NAS box’s hard drive(s) as though they’re a local resource. Click the Shares tab in the “Services: CIFS/SMB: Settings” window and click the circled plus button. In the screen that appears next, give the share a name, add a comment describing the purpose of the share, set the path, and click the Add button. Click the Apply Changes button on the next screen. </p> <p>When you’ve finished configuring FreeNAS, click the Backup/Restore button to create a backup of your configuration. You should now be able to find your NAS and your newly created shared folders listed in Windows XP’s “My Network Places” (or Vista’s “Network”). </p> <h2>How to Stream from Your NAS Box </h2> <p>Now that your new NAS box is ready to go, getting all your movies and photos to stream to your media device of choice is extraordinarily easy. Here’s how you do it. Pull up your FreeNAS administrative options page and click UPnP under the Services menu. Click the Enable check box and assign a name to your device. Then select the NIC you’ll be using. Add the directories you want to share and pick a component profile that best matches your UPnP device—like your Xbox 360, for instance. Click Save and Restart, and you’ll be ready for some movie-watching! </p> freenas how-tos michael brown nas nas boxes 2008 October 2008 From the Magazine How-Tos Fri, 26 Sep 2008 16:00:00 +0000 Michael Brown 3655 at Qnap TS-209 Pro II <!--paging_filter--><p>Based on the name alone, one would expect Qnap’s TS-209 Pro II NAS box to offer more features than its predecessors—particularly our leader in this storage category, Qnap’s TS-109 Pro. And while the former does allow for increased capacity, it does not provide significant improvements in performance or offer more features than the TS-109 Pro, which has been out for more than a year.</p> <p>The TS-209 Pro II differs from the TS-109 Pro in two fundamental ways: First, the TS-209 Pro II is a two-bay device that only requires you to remove a faceplate to access the hot-swap drive bays, a much simpler process than the disassembly required to stick a new drive in the single-bay TS-109 Pro. Second, the TS-209 Pro II sports 256MB of internal DDR II RAM, double the internal memory of the TS-109 Pro.</p> <p>We assumed—perhaps incorrectly—that this additional memory would do <em>something</em>, anything, for the TS-209 Pro II’s benchmark performance. It does not. In fact, even after we added a speedy Velociraptor drive to the unit to eliminate any kind of hard drive bottleneck, the TS-209 Pro II was still unable to top the TS-109 Pro in any benchmark. The TS-209 Pro II took an extra 18 seconds to transfer 659MB (180 files) from our computer to our NAS in our small-file test. In our large-file test, the TS-209 Pro II took more than a minute longer than the TS-109 Pro to transfer a single 2.79-gigabyte file.</p> <p>The TS-209 Pro II is fast when compared against the entire category of NAS devices. But it’s not faster than our speed champion, the TS-109 Pro. Nor do any compelling features push it above and beyond its predecessor. The latest firmware update to the TS-109 Pro gives that device the same features and options as the TS-209 Pro II, including a BitTorrent downloading application, a networked webcam surveillance application, and an iTunes streaming service. The TS-209 Pro II differs only in its RAID offerings, due to its support for two hard drives versus the TS-109 Pro’s one.</p> <p>We dislike that the TS-209 Pro II drops the eSATA connection that was included with the TS-109 Pro. It’s not a mission-critical deletion, but we’d still much prefer to back up the contents of our NAS box over a speedy SATA connection rather than USB. It would also be nice to have a friendlier hot-swap setup in the front of the TS-209 Pro II. Removing the front bezel doesn’t pain us, but in a perfect world, we'd be able to insert drive without having to take anything off of the device first.</p> <p>The TS-209 Pro II is a fast product with a bounty of features beyond what we typically see in NAS products, it’s just not among the speediest NAS devices we’ve tested. If you don’t need the increased storage that a second drive bay brings, you’re better off purchasing one of the company’s faster single-drive options—like the TS-109 Pro.  </p> Hardware Hardware nas boxes networking qnap reviews storage web exclusive Reviews NAS Boxes Web Exclusive Wed, 03 Sep 2008 20:08:40 +0000 David Murphy 3400 at Qnap TS-409 Pro <!--paging_filter--><p>Is bigger always better? Not necessarily. Qnap’s TS-409 Pro is packed with the same features as the company’s <a href="/article/qnap_ts_109_pro">TS-109 Pro </a>but includes twice as much memory and supports four hard drives rather than just one. And it rocks, but only if we compare it to similarly sized foes, such Buffalo’s four-drive TeraStation Live. </p> <div style="text-align: center"><a href="/files/u22694/Qnap-TS-Pro-2.jpg" class="thickbox"><img src="/files/u22694/Qnap-TS-Pro_415.jpg" alt="Qnap TS-409 Pro" width="415" height="444" /></a><br /><strong>The TS-409 Pro doesn't include any additional connections over the TS-109 Pro. In fact, you lose an eSATA port.</strong> </div> <p>The TS-409 Pro is the fastest multiple-drive NAS box we’ve tested, producing excellent scores in our read and write benchmarks. But the same can’t be said when we expand the field to include single-drive NAS devices. </p> <p>Qnap’s own TS-109 Pro overtakes the TS-409 Pro in half of our transfer benchmarks. We didn’t expect this since the hardware in the two products is almost identical. If anything, the TS-409 Pro should trounce its predecessor, thanks to an additional 128MB of onboard DDR2 memory.</p> <p>It’s no surprise that the devices’ administration software is also nearly identical. However, since it supports multiple drives, the TS-409 allows you to configure RAID levels; other additions include support for hard-drive SMART statistics and a new way to schedule backups to connected USB devices. We would have liked even more improvements, such as a more streamlined interface for easier use, a better downloading application, and a one-button approach for backing up one internal drive to another.</p> <p>Qnap downgrades the NAS experience by stripping functionality out of the TS-109 Pro and packaging these features into external software applications for the TS-409 Pro. You now manage FTP, HTTP, and BitTorrent downloads using the QGet program. We’d much prefer a client with the functionality of Azureus or uTorrent—QGet lacks scheduling and tweaking options.</p> <p>The included Netback Replicator is a great one-click backup application but a poor synchronization app since it goes only one way: You can’t sync a folder on the TS-409 Pro to your computer. The program only copies files you dump into a folder on your machine to a folder of your choice on the TS-409 Pro. </p> <p>The TS-409 Pro is the best multi-drive NAS box we’ve tested, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Since Qnap is upgrading all of its other NAS devices, it might be worth waiting to see if the company spruces up this one as well. </p> Hardware Hardware nas boxes networking qnap reviews storage 2008 August 2008 Reviews NAS Boxes From the Magazine Mon, 14 Jul 2008 22:50:09 +0000 David Murphy 2741 at Buffalo TeraStation Live <!--paging_filter--><p>Our little hearts were ablaze with excitement when we busted open the chunky Buffalo TeraStation Live. And with good reason; on paper, the four-drive NAS device looked like it was going to be an easy winner–its two terabytes of total storage in a RAID-5 configuration made us smile.</p> <p> As it turns out, we celebrated prematurely. The Buffalo TeraStation Live performs about as well in a file transfer test as it would in a foot race. Surprisingly, it was the only NAS device of the four tested here that had slower read times than write times. At 5:16 (min:sec) to transfer a 3GB file from the NAS to a PC, you’ll be in for a bit of a wait should you decide to use this device as a media hub–you might as well put in a vacation notice at work if you’re copying two terabytes’ worth of data.</p> <p>Write speeds were marginally better but still not fast enough to catapult the TeraStation Live to the front of the file-transfer footrace. That said, the TeraStation Live offsets the pain by packing a few neat features into this otherwise plain-Jane device. We love the device’s user-management settings—a handy web interface makes it easy to add new users, assign users to groups, and control file-access operations.</p> <p>Also handy is the TeraStation Live’s built-in media server feature. We were able to pull up a shared batch of MP3s on iTunes with no problems whatsoever. But this rounds out the feature list for this NAS device. Nothing distances Buffalo’s NAS box from its competitors in terms of features, which forces us to rely on its slow transfer speeds for an overall verdict. We’d recommend the TeraStation Live for its data redundancy and ease-of-use, but like this device, we simply run out of steam for further praise.</p> Hardware Hardware nas nas boxes reviews February 2008 2008 Reviews NAS Boxes From the Magazine Wed, 16 Jan 2008 00:30:30 +0000 David Murphy 1582 at QNAP TS-109 Pro <!--paging_filter--><p>We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. QNAP’s TS-109 Pro NAS device is more an enclosure than a NAS box–the storage part of the equation is BYO. Thankfully, NAS devices’ speeds are primarily determined by the connection and the interface of the device itself–purchase a decent hard drive, you’ll be sticking it into one of the fastest NAS boxes we’ve tested.</p> <p>That said, we’re impressed with the features packed in this enclosure. And boy, what a list! A veritable cornucopia of network-attached storage, the TS-109 functions as a file server, a backup server, a web server, a media server, and a download server. Throughout our testing, we found that each element was as easy to use and helpful as the others. In fact, some were downright awesome: The file downloading application is a great alternative to keeping a loud, energy-sucking computer on overnight. But that’s just a single example. There’s no poison apple in the TS-109’s bucket of features.</p> <p>We did have a bit of trouble getting the included installation CD to work. But once the “find my NAS device” application installs, accessing the TS-109 isn’t too taxing a process. Again, we had trouble browsing to the device in our network, but after typing in the TS-109’s name in the address bar (\\test, in this case), it appeared without fuss.</p> <p>It’s a minor deficit in an otherwise useful device. No, not just useful–extraordinary. We have yet to find a NAS box that’s as speedy and feature-packed as this one, so much so that it makes the lack of an accompanying hard drive quite forgivable.</p> consumer electronics esata Hardware Hardware nas nas boxes network attached storage qnap reviews Reviews NAS Boxes From the Magazine Web Exclusive Tue, 13 Nov 2007 01:54:32 +0000 David Murphy 1590 at OWC NASPerform <!--paging_filter--><p>Installing the OWC NASPerform to a computer via a network is a confusing mix of simple and complicated. The installer program itself is a welcome relief from the typically agonizing process of having to play with IP address and configuration screens. But that doesn’t mean OWC has spared you from a headache: You have to not only type in a 20-digit device ID just to connect the NAS box to your rig but also input a “write key,” which is printed on a label on the enclosure, if you want more than read-only access. So much for simply dragging and dropping files or controlling users via a handy web interface!</p> <p>We’re used to doing a little legwork to get a NAS device to work, so the NASPerform’s configuration wouldn’t normally draw our ire. However, the entire system works on a mount-unmount interface. To edit the read/write settings, you have to unmount the drive first–which caused Windows XP to crash each and every time we attempted to do so. In fact, we never did get the drive unmounted. By some act of divine power, we were able to uninstall the program, if deleting the program can really be considered a solution.</p> <p>The device comes with no additional features whatsoever. It’s a storage box. End of discussion. Its speeds are painful—the device rivals the Buffalo TeraStation Live for the coveted Slowest Data Transfer Speeds award.</p> <p>And really, that’s all she wrote. The NASPerform comes only in sizes up to 750GB, so you can kiss away your dreams of having a terabyte of network-attached storage. That’s if you buy this device, which we hardly recommend as an ideal solution for your network-themed storage needs.</p> consumer electronics Hardware Hardware nas nas boxes network attached storage owc reviews Reviews NAS Boxes Web Exclusive Fri, 09 Nov 2007 21:27:44 +0000 David Murphy 1592 at LaCie Ethernet Big Disk <!--paging_filter--><p>The 2TB LaCie Ethernet Big Disk is appropriately named, we suppose. Other potential monikers: the LaCie Ethernet Big Headache, the LaCie Ethernet Sucks at Networking, or perhaps even the LaCie Ethernet Where Did My Drive Go. We jest, but there’s truth to our ramblings–the LaCie Ethernet Big Disk is horrific as a network-attached storage device, mainly due to our frequent failures to get Windows to even see the drive.</p> <p>The included CD comes with a bunch of manuals, but the meat and potatoes is a small configuration application. You load it up to find your LaCie drive (sure beats typing an IP address into your browser, we suppose), and a single button-press launches the drive’s web-based configuration utility. Play with the settings all you like–there’s not much to do, save for enabling the Ethernet Big Disk’s media server.</p> <p>The real fun comes when it’s time to find the device on your network. We tried looking for it in the default MSHome network path–no luck. We tried following the manual’s instructions and typed in the device’s name (\\EthernetBD). Zilch. We finally tried using the device’s actual IP address, which let us access the device (named Ethernet_bd, unlike what’s stated in the manual).</p> <p>The Big Disk delivered acceptable speeds, but not anything to cheer about. The device lies squarely in third place in this roundup of four, but speeds are irrelevant if you can’t transfer files to or from the device using Network Neighborhood. Since many network boxes can connect just fine 100 percent of the time, we believe the Big Disk has a Big Fault.</p> consumer electronics Hardware Hardware LaCie nas nas boxes reviews terabyte Reviews NAS Boxes Web Exclusive Fri, 09 Nov 2007 19:26:40 +0000 David Murphy 1589 at Hammer Storage Myshare <!--paging_filter--><p>When we first got the Myshare into the Lab, we were a bit taken aback by its simplicity. There’s no fancy software to accompany the 500GB device; it’s actually two 250GB drives striped using RAID 0. If you want to access the Myshare, you have to go through Windows Explorer, just as you would with any other network drive.</p> <p>This route might be less sexy than a software-themed interface, but man, does it work. We nearly spit on the ground with joy when the Myshare was loaded and ready to go in less than 10 seconds—a far cry from the agonizingly slow Western Digital device <a href="/article/western_digital_my_book_world_edition_ii">previously reviewed</a>. And in our highly scientific “transfer a lot of stuff” test, we were able to toss over a 3.6GB chunk of files in an average time of 5:13 (minutes: seconds). That, dear readers, is awesome.</p> <p>Admittedly, 500GB of space isn’t a groundbreaking achievement in storage. But that’s just what this edition of the Myshare offers; Hammer Storage is already selling versions with up to 1.5TB of space, and a 2TB edition should be ready by the time you finish reading this very sentence. Have fun transferring every file you have to the device. You won’t even need an entire weekend to do it. </p> hammer Hardware Hardware nas nas boxes RAID reviews storage 2007 August 2007 Reviews NAS Boxes From the Magazine Wed, 12 Sep 2007 21:14:06 +0000 Dave Murphy 1378 at Western Digital My Book World Edition II <!--paging_filter--><p>We fondly recall reviewing this unit’s connected brother in arms, the My Book Pro Edition II (March 2007). The products are virtually identical, featuring two 500GB hard drives locked in a RAID 0 configuration that gives you one honkin’ terabyte of space. The difference, of course, is that you access the World Edition II through an Ethernet cable instead of a FireWire or USB connection.</p> <p>A little piece of software called MioNet serves as the gateway between your computer and this NAS box. We love how it effortlessly allows you to share folders from your My Book with anyone you want via an awesome web-based interface. But that’s all it does unless you want to open up your wallet. Yes, that’s right, to share folders that are on your computer and access other functions, like remote login to any PC with MioNet installed, you have to pay the piper—$7 a month or $65 a year. Say it slowly now: What. The. Hell. </p> <p>Worse still, we have good reason to believe that MioNet cripples the My Book’s performance. It takes the My Book forever to load up and be recognized by the program, and sometimes the connection doesn’t even occur. For some strange reason, the drive won’t show up in Windows Explorer but will be accessible through the Manage Devices option in MioNet.</p> <p>Considering it took an average of 12:42 (min:sec) to transfer 3.6GB (475 files), we remain thoroughly unimpressed with the My Book World. A pity, really; we had such high hopes.</p> david murphy Hardware Hardware nas nas boxes reviews Western Digital 2007 August 2007 Reviews NAS Boxes From the Magazine Tue, 11 Sep 2007 00:44:57 +0000 David Murphy 1373 at Asus WL-700gE Wireless Storage Router <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/sites/" alt="asus_router.jpg" hspace="5" align="left" />Asus has solved one of the most common problems download junkies face: By marrying a Wi-Fi router with a hard drive and built-in BitTorrent client, the company has eliminated the need for you to leave your power-hungry PC running 24/7.</p> <p>Asus doesn’t limit you to BitTorrent, of course; the device is capable of using ftp or http for file transfers, too. It’s also a decent solution for anyone interested in hosting their own website, blog, or online photo album. But with the wide availability of free solutions for the latter, peer-to-peer file sharing is this router’s obvious raison d’être. </p> <p>It’s equally obvious, however, that Asus didn’t spend much time designing the client software—optimistically called Download Master—which comes preloaded on the router’s 160GB PATA hard drive: The user interface is crude and there’s virtually no documentation. It’s easy enough to figure out if you know the basics, but green-peas will be lost. </p> <p>Asus’s Photo Album Exporter is only slightly more refined: It allows you to create a crude online photo site by transferring digital photos from your PC or a USB memory key onto the router’s hard drive. Once there, you can add captions and then organize the images into albums. You can’t add borders or anything else, but the software does automatically rotate and resize every photo. In fact, you don’t need to fire up your PC to transfer files from a USB thumb drive, either—plug a thumb drive into one of the router’s three USB ports, push a button, and the router automatically sucks up the drive’s contents. Upgrading the router’s built-in hard drive voids the product’s two-year warranty, but you can plug in a USB drive or two to create a rudimentary array.</p> <p>As a router and wireless access point, the WL-700gE is a solid, no-nonsense part. Asus shunned the shifting sands of Draft 802.11n in favor of the more predictable performance of 802.11g, and it installed a staid four-port 10/100Mb/s switch in the back instead of a sexier gigabit switch. One thing the WL-700gE is not is cheap: At press time, we found it street priced at $235.<br /> <em><br /></em></p> <p><strong>Month Reviewed:</strong> February 2007<br /> <strong>Verdict:</strong> 7<br /> <strong>URL:</strong> <a href=""></a></p> bittorrent client download Hardware Hardware nas nas boxes network attached storage reviews Router wi-fi wireless February 2007 2007 Reviews NAS Boxes Networking From the Magazine Mon, 12 Mar 2007 19:38:44 +0000 Michael Brown 844 at