So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Netgear Australia ReadyNAS Duo RND2150
A solid and fast NAS device
- Intuitive HDD swapping, hot-swapping capability, wide range of supported formats, capable of downloading BitTorrent files, Gigabit Ethernet, comes bundled with hard drive
- Lack of flexibility in controlling hard drive RAID capabilities, steep learning curve for user interface, expensive, comes bundled with hard drive
A well-designed device that is let down by its software and cost. However, experienced users who are looking for a reliable NAS should definitely consider the Netgear ReadyNAS Duo RND2150.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
The Netgear ReadyNAS Duo RND2150 is an impressive two-bay network-attached storage (NAS) device with a solid exterior and a well-performing set of features. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm for the product is somewhat dampened by its hefty price tag and a software interface with a steep learning curve.
Unlike many of the latest NAS devices to hit the market, the RND2150 comes bundled with a 500GB Seagate hard drive (ST3500320AS) that spins at 7200rpm. This bittersweet inclusion is sort of like providing a selection of family-friendly DVDs with a new DVD player purchase. You may not hate Lassie or Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, but you'd much rather keep the money and spend it on something that won't become a paperweight. If you want the NAS to function as a RAID array, you'll need to pick up an identical drive or buy two new ones.
A key feature of this device is its solid exterior, which measures 220x100x141mm. The black aluminium casing feels firm, particularly when compared to the fragile-feeling Synology DS207+. Although we found that it got heavy after constantly moving it around, it will probably be staying in one place once it finds a home.
The NAS features a Gigabit Ethernet port, so it's capable of connecting to your network at hight speeds. Unfortunately, the unit features Netgear's X-RAID technology. Unlike industry standard RAID modes, X-RAID automatically converts any second drive into a mirror of the first drive and uses subsequent drives for expansion. Despite this being the safest option for storing data, and perfect for devices such as Netgear's ReadyNAS NV+ RND4000, it limits the choices for users.
In case of one drive failing, the hot-swapping capability means that users aren't forced to shut down for maintenance. Instead, the damaged drive can be pulled out and replaced while the other hard drive continues to function.
One big advantage of the RND2150 is its intuitive design. Hot-swapping a hard drive in the Synology DS207+ means unscrewing the case, unplugging then unscrewing the drive you want to swap, plugging in a new drive and screwing it in, then re-screwing the case shut. Netgear makes it simpler by having two 3.5in hard drive cartridges and slots that are accessed by opening the face-plate.
Also on the face-plate is one of the device's three USB 2.0 slots. These allow users to plug USB flash drives in and transfer the data directly to the installed hard drives. On the rear of the case are the remaining two USB slots and a fan that runs at a bearable sound level.
The RND2150 is able to use BitTorrent to download files directly to the installed hard drives, bypassing the PC. Owners of compatible media devices such as the Logitech Squeezebox Duet will benefit from the ReadyNAS Duo's streaming capabilities — a massive bonus for home theatre lovers. Files can be shared via HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, NFS, AFP and CIFS/SMB.
All of these capabilities are accessible through Netgear's standard browser-based interface. Although the ReadyNAS Duo's system of organising programs and capabilities is logical, novice users will quickly be overwhelmed by the steep learning curve. While the tree structure of general categories is straightforward, clicking on any one of them dumps the user in a flurry of confusing questions about folder categories and user sub-trees.
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