Promise SmartStor DS4600 direct-attached storage device
Promise's direct-attached storage device has plenty of connections, but it isn't particularly fast
- eSATA and FireWire 800 connections, hot-swappable drive bays, one-touch configuration, Mac support
- Flimsy drive rails, can only have one volume, media centre and photo album functions are useless
Promise's SmartStor DS4600 direct-attached storage device provides up to 8TB of storage in a hot-swappable enclosure that has an impressive amount of connectivity. We would have liked better volume management, however.
Price$ 550.00 (AUD)
Promise's SmartStor DS4600 is a direct-attached storage (DAS) enclosure that can house up to four hard drives and provide up to 8TB of storage. It's suitable for a direct connection to servers or workstations, it supports RAID arrays, and its design allows you to hot-swap the hard drives. Its management interface and build quality leave something to be desired, however.
The Promise SmartStor DS4600 DAS device can be connected to a PC or server through the single eSATA, USB 2.0 or FireWire 400 ports or one of the two FireWire 800 ports. It has the same physical design as the Promise SmartStor NS4600 NAS device. Four drive bays sit behind a lockable front panel. Instead of caddies, the SmartStor DS4600 uses plastic rails which surround the drive in order to prevent vibration during operation. We didn't notice any vibrations, but the rails' lack of rigidity makes it installing drives painful.
Promise includes its SmartNAVI software to manage the SmartStor DS4600 DAS device, and it's available in Mac and PC versions. Using SmartNAVI, you can configure RAID volumes, monitor hard drive health and upgrade firmware. Media Centre and Photo Album functions are also available, but these are of questionable usefulness without the ability to serve media over a network.
SmartNAVI provides backup and restore features for any of the drives on the connected computer. Backup is as simple as dragging and dropping the desired folder onto SmartNAVI.
The four hard drives can be configured in a RAID array; there is support for RAID levels 0, 1, 5 and 10. However, even if all four drives are inserted, the SmartStor DS4600 external hard drive only allows you to treat them as one volume. This means you can't configure the four drives in two or more separate volumes or in multiple RAID arrays.
Holding down device's one-touch backup button will automatically configure a RAID array when new hard drives are installed. If there are two drives, it will configure a RAID 1 array; for three or four drives it will use a RAID 5 configuration. It formats the array using the NTFS file system; Mac users will have to format the volume to HFS+ after the process is completed.
The SmartStor DS4600 will automatically detect when it has been disconnected from a computer and stop the hard drives from spinning.
We tested the SmartStor DS4600 with two 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives installed in a RAID 0 configuration. Our tests involved transferring files between it and a PC equipped with a [[Artnid:257954|300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor hard drive|Western Digital Velociraptor (WD3000GLFS) internal hard drive. Over USB 2.0, it performed slowly. In our large file test — transferring 20GB of 3 to 4GB files — the SmartStor DS4600 had a write speed of 26.4 megabytes per second, a read speed of 27.9MBps and a read/write speed of 11.7MBps. When transferring 3GB of 1MB files, it had read and write speeds of 25MBps, and performed a simultaneous read/write operation at a rate of 10.2MBps.
Connected over eSATA, the SmartStor DS4600 improved significantly. In the large file test, it had identical read and write speeds of 78.2MBps, as well as a simultaneous read/write speed of 35.1MBps. Small file operations were somewhat slower; the external hard drive wrote 3GB of 1MB files at a rate of 50.8MBps, read the same data at 68.2MBps and performed a simultaneous read/write operation at a rate of 34.5MBps.
Overall, the SmartStor DS4600 is slightly faster than LaCie's 4Big Quadra but fails to match the My Book Studio Edition II from Western Digital. For data storage, the SmartStor DS4600 suffice, but high-performance data processing tasks would benefit from a faster hard drive.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- HPE is bringing Optane storage to Unix servers
- These new super fast Intel SSDs provide a bridge to Optane
- Prices of SSDs and DRAM will crash in 2019, Gartner predicts
- Pure adds more NVMe with an eye to the next storage speed bump
- What one company learned from testing Intel's superfast Optane SSDs
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
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.
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!
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.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCSQL Server Database Specialist l Bathurst LocationNSW
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCIdentity Access Management - Business AnalystVIC
- FTProcurement OfficerACT
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior Marketing Manager | Global Technology CompanyNSW
- CCData Migration Lead | Recruitment Focus | DocklandsVIC
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- CCReporting System Specialist - Port MacquarieNSW
- FTBI and Report DeveloperQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTSenior DBANSW
- TPSenior Java Developer - Contract till June 2018QLD
- FTSenior Front End Developer - BRISBANENSW
- CCPega DeveloperQLD
- FTScrum MasterNSW
- FTDigital Solution ArchitectNSW
- CCSQL Server Database Specialist l Bathurst LocationNSW
- TPSenior Developer - API - Data ReportingNSW
- FTImplementation Engineer - NetApp DATA ONTAPWA
- CCPega DeveloperACT
- FTOperations Manager - NV1 Cleared - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTPeopleSoft Campus Solution ConsultantNSW
- FTSecurity AnalystQLD