Ten... two-bay Nas boxes
Dual-drive data dumpsters
Product Round-up Network attached storage is the panacea for many of today’s data excesses, especially you’ve developed a music and movie habit, need a backup server or fancy your own personal cloud. Two-bay nas drives are an affordable option for file sharing, supporting mixed platform environments in addition to web HTTP and FTP services. Typically, other luxuries such as DLNA media streaming and BitTorrent functions are also on board, enabling the nas box to haul in and distribute media independently of any host computer.
Conveniently, multibay nas drives can be bought unpopulated, so you can use any existing internal Sata storage you may have and upgrade when it suits you.
On test are 2TB models with the unpopulated offerings from Netgear, QNAP, Synology and Thecus filled with two 1TB Samsung HD103SI drives. The exception is Western Digital’s 6TB My Book Duo, with two pre-loaded 3TB WD drives in place. For benchmarking with CrystalDiskMark, the devices were configured in RAID 0 although all the devices are capable of RAID 1 and JBOD arrangements. So let’s see what’s in store...
Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo
Having tested the LinkStation Pro Duo early in 2011, I'm a little disappointed to see that it hasn't been updated. But I'm not too surprised, either. My only real gripe with this unit is the somewhat sluggish web interface, which takes a while to load pages. These woes aside, I'd consider this model pretty much standard fare for an entry-level nas, which has all of the necessary sharing and streaming features and sufficient performance to satisfy.
You'll get 50-60MB/s all day, which is more than enough to handle your backups, stream media and run a personal web server. At £192 for the 2TB model it's the cheapest device here too, but you can always opt to splash your cash on a 4TB or 6TB model.
Reg Rating 70%
Price £192 (2TB), £278 (4TB), £364 (6TB)
More info Buffalo Technology
Buffalo TeraStation Pro Duo
Although it comes from the same manufacturer as the LinkStation Pro Duo, the TeraStation in an entirely different beast. Sporting a 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom CPU paired with 2GB of DDR 2 Ram, this box not only pushes data through two USB 2.0 ports, but also a pair of USB 3.0 ports and twin Gigabit Ethernet ports. Also to be found on the back are a 9-pin UPS port and a switch to toggle between booting from the internal disks or a USB drive. Turning back to the front you'll find an LCD which displays some useful statistics, and a lockable drive access door.
It's certainly well equipped and the benchmarks show it. Sequential writes hit 100MB/s making this the fastest nas box on test here. The only thing holding the TeraStation back is that it uses the same sluggish user interface that appears on the LinkStation Pro Duo. Admittedly it is faster, but it's still not as snappy as it could be.
Reg Rating 85%
Price £420 (2TB), £540 (4TB), £660 (6TB)
More info Buffalo Technology
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Re: These are just for the lazy and technical illiterates.
Always amazed that the technically literate still are not clever enough to realise that most folks out there are not technically literate hence why most IT projects fail and hardware purchases never realise their full value.
The Tech Literates never bother to give the less able what they actually need and just push the wrong solution.
I have seen many small businesses languishing in tech nightmare with a £3000 Windows 2008 server that some Tech guru said they needed (then cleared off when they got too small for him to bother with) when in fact a £400 NAS would have worked perfectly for their simple file sharing needs with a little redundancy.
Tech Literates? Muppets who like wasting other peoples money more like!
Know your customer and work with them. If they trust you you can raise them up from IT befuddlement. It just takes a little time.
I went down the DIY route
HP Microserver N36L, now the N40L. The N40L offers AMD Turion Neo II (1.5GHz), 4 drive bays, 6 USB ports, Gigabit ethernet, VGA out and 2 PCI-E slots. You get a 250GB HD and 2GB RAM included. Power consumption is under 45W. Certified for Windows and RHEL.
Ebuyer sell them for £230-240, and HP have been offering £100 cashback on them for months now. Stick something like Open Media Vault or other OS of choice on there. Far more flexible option if you're that way inclined.
A friend of mine did the same as me, using Open Media Vault, and he was complaining that it all just worked. He was expecting hours of tweaking and fiddling.
Less power use, less space taken up, less to fiddle with, so more time to spend doing something else.