Thecus has also opted for an ARM9 chip in the N2200 EVO - this one being a dual-core 600MHz Cavium CNS3420 - which means that the performance isn't quite so dire as the Freecom Dual Drive Network Centre, but it's still dawdling. You'll spend your life at 30-40MB/s with this one.
Its design is impressive and features two Gigabit Ethernet ports. Drive removal is a snap too. Unfortunately, this just isn't enough to get over how painfully slow the user interface. Still, you can install extra modules and a licence for the Twonky Media server software is included, so you’ll have no trouble streaming to any of your devices.
The N2200EVO will serve most needs and has a modest price, but the latest offerings from other vendors are quite a bit faster for not much extra. That said, the company's Atom-powered N2800 looks like a interesting alternative with its HDMI output, but alas costs around £350 unpopulated.
Reg Rating 60%
More info Thecus
Western Digital My Book Live Duo
The My Book Live brings a much needed feature to the party: easily removable disks. It can be opened simply by pressing on the top and undoing a thumb-turnable screw, making drive swaps simple.
The 6TB unit I tested formatted as 5559GB and used two 3TB Caviar Green disks which use the variable RPM Intellipower system. Although it is a bit more expensive, I found the performance to be comparable to the Linkstation – not amazing, but just fine for a large archive volume.
What sets this apart from other mid-range systems is the WD 2go and WD Photos apps which give you mobile access to your files on any iOS or Android device. You can also go through a browser at WD2go.com, which will mount your remote shares onto your local desktop.
Reg Rating 75%
Price £330 (4TB), £400 (6TB)
More info Western Digital
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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.