Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ V2
As far as grey metal boxes go, Netgear has crammed a lot of features into this one. The NV+ has both USB 2.0 on the front and USB 3.0 around back as well as a Marvell 1.6GHz CPU with 256MB of RAM inside. This 2TB model came with two Hitachi 1TB HDS721010 disks and achieved scores in the 60-70MB/s range under Crystal DiskMark.
The web accessible user interface is well designed and very straighforward to use. This makes it an easy device to manage, no matter if you're just creating a backup task, setting rules for an individual user or hosting your own personal website. An unpopulated model comes in at well under £300 – half this price if you shop around on-line – and given its flexibility and user friendliness, despite having only one Ethernet port, I'd still be inclined to choose this model over the D-Link DNS-345.
Reg Rating 85%
Price £270 (Unpopulated), £560 (2TB), £620 (4TB)
More info Netgear
QNAP TS-419P II
QNAP’s TS-419P II is a very capable high-end NAS box that brings with it such things as front loading hotswappable drives and dual eSATA ports. Both USB 2.0 and 3.0 are also at this party as well as an LCD screen to convey the system status. Controlling this lot is a 2.0GHz Marvell 88F6282 chip with 512MB of DDR3, a combination that is capable of pushing data through the twin LAN ports between 60-70MB/s.
It’s not the fastest of systems, but the software feature list is too extensive to cover, suffice to say, that you won’t be disappointed with what it has to offer and Mac users will benefit from QNAP's support of Apple's HFS+ format on external drives.
Reg Rating 80%
Price £429 (unpopulated)
More info QNAP
Next page: QNAP TS-412
HP Proliant Micrpserver
At a fraction of a cost of these NAS boxes and with more flexibility, I'm glad I've opted for 2 of these instead of a NAS.
Re: HP Proliant Micrpserver
Totally agree, the price of these NAS devices is ludicrous considering a Microserver is £120 after cashback, comes with 2GB of RAM, a 256GB drive and supports ECC. The 5.25" bay is also useful if you want to install an optical or tape drive or even another 2 HDs for a total of 6.
Granted they don't work out of the box, so you're going to have to fill it with drives and install and configure your favourite OS, but I don't think that's beyond most Reg readers.
Re: What I'd be looking for in such a thing
I agree. A good postscript to this article would be similarly brief round-up of build-your-own options using freeNAS (and the rest). I'm happy with my HP ProLiant Microserver which I know many people have on here and cost a less than £150( (with cashback). No doubt the good burghers of this parish will be along soon enough with suggestions for the latest and greatest.
Re: I don't get NAS boxes...
I bought a Synology DS-413J for £275. It arrived, I stuffed 4 disks in and turned it on (hybrid RAID FTW!). A fair bit of whirring and clicking later, it's all working. Job done.
It sits quietly in the corner and acts as a printer server and media server for all the devices in the house. It runs on 30W.
My gas-guzzling PC with the 6 fans and 1000W PSU doesn't need to be on 24/7.
Easy to like.
What I'd be looking for in such a thing
Properly managed cooling of the disks
Disk vibration dampening
Caddy-free disk mounting
Hardware crypto acceleration for full-disk encryption
Gigabit ethernet -- getting more or less standard, not quite there yet
Own OS support -- I'll be running a *BSD, sporting NFS, maybe AFS
And optionally feeding it a mere 12V
Somehow all I'm getting is "web interface"
Back to building things by hand then. *sigh*