Many products let you add hard-drive storage to a network, but few are as flexible and as affordable as Netgear's $229 Storage Central SC101.
- Quick easy installation, Partition capabilities
- Nothing of note
A storage solution that is economical for larger home networks, with added protection from drive failure.
Price$ 159.00 (AUD)
We tried a shipping version of the compact unit, which has slots inside for two parallel ATA drives (not included). Outside, its integrated heat sink pulls heat away from the drives. Installing two hard drives was a snap: we used a coin to release the front cover; then we popped the drives in, connected the power and IDE cables, closed the SC101, and linked it to my network's router with the bundled RJ-45 cable (regrettably, the unit supports only 10/100 Ethernet).
The wizard accompanying the friendly, easy-to-use Storage Central Manager software assigned an IP address to each drive in the device. We could then make up a name for the selected drive and set aside part of that physical drive's capacity for storage. For example, you can effectively split a single 300GB drive into two 150GB volumes, each of which receives its own drive letter.
The software allowed us to share the SC101 with other systems on the network, but we first had to install the Storage Central Manager on those PCs. As the SC101 finished its installation, Windows XP found the drive automatically and assigned it a drive letter. Windows Explorer shows the drive as just another hard drive, so you can drag and drop files to it or use it with your favourite backup package (the unit ships with SmartSync Software's SmartSync Pro 2.1).
You can repurpose a drive from an older system to serve with the SC101, or buy two 250GB hard drives for about $300 and get 500GB of storage for around $529 - a bit less than the $570 you'd pay for a single 500GB network-connected drive without the added security of relying on two drives.
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