Freecom's SilverStore is a stylish product that combines lots of features and decent hardware. Under the brushed aluminium exterior you'll find a 1GHz Marvell 6283 CPU and 128MB of DDR memory. There's also the expected removable drive trays, which are probably fine, but feel like they could break given the force needed to remove them. The result of this is that I nearly threw a disk into the wall as it finally freed itself. Perhaps indoors is not the best place to swap disks – try an open field.
Extra connectivity comes in the form of a lone USB 3.0 port on the front and a USB 2.0 port at the rear. Uniquely there is also support for Tonido which provides remote access to your files through any web browser, or iOS, Android, Blackberry or WinPho7 device.
Performance is average, being pretty similar to the LinkStation, but it is a tad more expensive, especially at £750 for the 6TB version.
Reg Rating 65%
Price £140 (no disks), £314 (2TB), £390 (4TB), £750 (6TB)
More info Freecom
Freecom Dual Drive Network Centre
Unique to this product are its individually locking drive bays, so if one disk needs to go walkies, the other is still safe. Still, such thoughtfulness aside, this ARM9-based unit is not going to be my personal choice any time soon because it's deathly slow, with a peak read of 26MB/s.
The Dual Drive Network Centre also demands a licence code to unlock any of the media streaming or BitTorrent features. At one time, this cost £18, but Freecom has wised up and the relevant code is stuck on the supplied CD, so be sure to scour the box thoroughly to get these features activated.
Unpopulated, Freecom is currently offering this box for £88, which is a good deal cheaper than any of the others on test. If you've undemanding needs for something like a low-cost background back-up device, then it should be just fine.
Reg Rating 55%
Price £88 (no disks), £263 (2TB), £323 (3TB), £331 (4TB)
More info Freecom
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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.