NAS devices offer big storage on small networks

If your storage needs are heading into terabyte territory, you may want to check out these network-attached storage units.

While I'd encourage you to try the software that comes with a NAS unit, you're not married to any proprietary or pre-supplied backup software. You can choose among anything that's available that recognizes network drives and find something you like from that superset rather than settle for what you're handed.

For this roundup, I looked at three recent NAS units: Promise Technology's SmartStor NS2300N, Iomega's StorCenter ix2 and MicroNet Technology's MaxNAS. Somewhere among these three could be the NAS unit you've been desperately seeking -- even if you haven't realized it yet.

How we tested

All of the PCs and the NAS devices used in these tests were connected via a hardwired Ethernet network using a Linksys EG800W switch. I decided against a Wi-Fi connection because, in the past, I've suffered through a number of anomalies only to find out at the end that it was the wireless connection at the bottom of them all. While Wi-Fi is more than suitable for typical file storage needs, it's difficult to recommend Wi-Fi for multiple streaming events, especially in the already crowded 2.5-GHz band.

To test performance, I timed how long it took to copy a 934MB file from the PC to each NAS unit and to copy the file back to the PC. Then I repeated the procedure while streaming a video from the NAS box to a different PC.

Since each of these NAS units also had media and/or iTunes "server" capabilities, I streamed multiple songs or videos from the devices to several PCs on the network. At one point, I had four different videos streaming off a unit into four different PCs. In no case was there any evidence of lagging or hiccupping or anything else that might be impeding the media experience.

Iomega StorCenter ix2 Network Storage

Iomega was once known for its Bernoulli Box and Zip drive -- two devices that offered higher-storage capacities to those unwilling or unable to use tape drives. Today, the company offers the StorCenter ix2, an NAS box available in 1TB (US$299) and 2TB (US$479) versions.

Iomega's pricing is very competitive with Promise's. The difference is that while Promise offers a hollow NAS box with a "Bring Your Own Disk" feature to keep pricing low, Iomega's StorCenter is populated and ready to run when you unbox it. However, while this makes the StorCenter very simple for the technological newbie, it's a feature that may not appeal to everyone.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags nas

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Bill O'Brien

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?