Promise Smartstor NS4600

Stylish storage with server pretensions?

Promise SmarStor NS4600

Review The term Network Attached Storage or NAS seems rather simplistic and doesn’t really do justice to a device like Promise’s Smartstor NS4600, which comes with four drive bays and a heap of server abilities. Add to this its polished black shell, funky blue lights, built-in power adapter and exquisitely quiet fan, and you’ve got yourself a living-room-friendly storage behemoth.

Promise SmarStor NS4600

Promise Smartstor NS4600: a quiet beast, but power hungry

The big button on the front of the NS4600 is a one-touch backup button, not the power button as we thought for the first 10 minutes of using (or not using) the NS4600. The power button hides around the back beside a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB ports and one eSata port for external hard drives.

Opening the front door reveals the four hot-swappable 3.5in bays, each with a simple plastic caddy that is fixed to a drive using four screws. The caddy system makes drive installation a breeze and also does well at dampening hard drive noise. Being a bare bones system, you’ll need to supply and instal your own drives.

As well as 256MB DDR2 Ram, the Smartstor NS4600 has Intel’s new Tolapai’s system on a chip with an integrated Pentium M CPU inside. There’s support for 32 simultaneous users and all the usual file sharing protocols: SMB, CIFS, NFS, AFP, plus there are FTP, print and web servers on board – php included, but no MySQL support at present.

Promise SmarStor NS4600

Smartnavi provides controls for both Macs and PCs

Installing Promise’s Smartnavi application enables control of most functions from a PC. Among other things, it lets you schedule backups of your PCs and start bittorrent downloads. With the latter, you drag and drop the .torrent file onto a “drop zone” – a small icon that floats on the desktop – to get the NS4600 downloading. SmartNavi also works with Macs and is used to integrate the NS4600 with Apple’s Time Machine backup application as well as supporting Bonjour networking to access storage devices and printers.

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