ZyXel NSA-2400 network attached storage box
Four-drive central storage for your LAN
Review Ever more capacious computer hard drives encourage us to stuff more and more content on them, which means backing it all up can prove to be a pain. And what if you have more than one computer in your household? Enter the ZyXel NSA-2400, a single, shareable repository for all your data storage needs.
The NSA-2400 isn't the most consumer-friendly of storage units, but then we guess since it'll spend its time tucked well out of the way, looks don't need to be among its strong points. It's a bit smaller than a typical mini-tower desktop computer - it's 30.5 x 30 x 14cm - and it's all decked out with green LEDs and black air vents to give it that IBM server appearance much beloved of small- and medium-sized businesses.
The front of the NSA-2400 is one large door that opens to reveal the four 3.5in 1.5Gbps SATA hard drive bays, pre-populated in our unit with four 250GB drives for 1TB in total. Ours ended up without the door, not out of personal preference, but because the steel hinge pins fell out so often we decided to keep them out.
The drives themselves are fitted into frames for easy removal and replacement. Just push the frame's spring-loaded handle to release it then the slide out the drive. The HDD is held into the frame with four closely positioned screws, so replacing drives if they've failed or you're upgrading is no chore at all.
However, the drives are not hot-swappable, so you can't change them without powering the unit down first. Unless you're using the NSA-2400 for its fault-tolerance, this shouldn't matter much. It's not the kind of box you'd use to host data that you absolutely can't have out of commission for even a very short period. This is a unit for communal data and back-up space - we used it for media sharing, for instance - and it's RAID hard drive configurations provide sufficient security to keep your files safe.
The front of the NSA-2400 has LEDs to show power status, system and network activity, and for diagnostics if something goes wrong. There's also a USB port so you can add extra storage space. You'll find two more USB ports on the back, along with the power connector and the Gigabit LAN port.
Not quite as thorough a review as it could be...
A pretty basic review to go with a pretty basic box. Some of the things that I would have liked to see explicitly covered in the review:
1. Support for UPNP AV - my guess from the review is that this isn't there, but it's not mentioned.
2. Support for AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) natively rather than just SMB/CIFS - as above.
3. Power consumption - low power consumption is one of the big reasons in my view for using a NAS box rather than a fuller-featured server.
Writing good reviews means addressing as many questions that someone might have about a product as possible, not just mentioning the things that immediately come to mind.
As things stand I can't see in what ways this beats one of the Infrant boxes, which do feature all of the above along with many others features. Mentioning more of the technically leading competitive products (such as the Infrant, Thecus and Excito products) in the review might have helped as well to make it more comprehensive.