D-Link ShareCenter Shadow
disk drives into DNS-325 is very simple. Just slide the metal surface up and
push the disks into their positions. The system needs no screw but looks solid.
DNS-325 has fewer entrances than other rivals having relative prices, but rear
USB port and USB Copy/Unmount button that can be
configured are enough many users. You can also use this to join more storage or
share USB printer across the network. Power switch is activated by pushing on
the device’s fascia and the absence of a visible switch makes it look finer.
installation disk guides you through a process of installing disks, setting up
administrative password and giving the device an address on the network. It
also asks you to sign up DDNS account by using free DLinkDNNS.com of D-Link, to
enter the remote storage if ISP only gives you a dynamic IP address. An
optional step allows you to configure DNS-325 to send notification emails as
well as alerts to an assigned address. Finally, you are prompted to format and
specify your drives and map your shared folders’ location to a letter of the
drives. After that, the application suggests setting up several add-on tools
including 1 audio streamer, image center and Squeeze Centre media streamer.
interface lacks an elegance compared to that of Synology
it has big and bulky icons, obsolete design and small text. However, everything
is easily found. There’re 3 main areas but one is Favorite tab that is
adjustable and left blank by default. Management appears to be most useful, and
gives access to tools which manages hard disks and storage for you to reformat
and change RAID configurations. You can also rerun setup wizard, use Account
Management settings to create users and assign licenses, configure local
network and Dynamic DNS.
there’re also Application Management screen and designated tabs for installed
applications. They include services like iTunes and media UPnP media streaming,
1 BitTorrent client, file-server interface that can
enter basic webs, FTP server and management interface for back-ups which are
from and to the device, including Apple Time Machine. It’s accompanied with Farstone’s Total Recovery Pro back-up suite for Windows.
performance in our tests was not so impressive. It can consecutively stream
media to several clients without interruption or reduction in frame’s speed yet
if you want to bigger, fast and regular backups, you should go find somewhere
else. RAID 1’s performance was pretty poor in tests on big files with a speed
of 16.8MB/s but it proved itself in tests on small files with an average
11.9MB/s. RAID 0 were faster with 14.1MB/s for small files and 24.4MB/s for big
ones. Lower RAID 1 speed may cause decrease in frame speed when streaming HD
videos to many client.
$135.22 and several good features, DNS-325 is perfect for reusing any old hard
drives you may have. It’s not fast but a server that stream media and file
well, plus our great Budget Buy winner.
Consideration: An unbelievably low price
compensates for a bit low transfer speed and poor interface in this budget NAS
10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet connection, 1 USB port, media server for UPnP and
iTunes, print server, USB, FTP
NetGear ReadyNAS Duo v2
ReadyNAS is a plain metal box but very well-designed.
When opened, the front grille shows 2 disk caddies. Press a button in each
caddy’s bottom and they become separate, ready to be pulled out. Installing 3 ½
inch disk on to the tray is extremely simple, with each disk connecting to the
tray by 4 screws.
On the device’s back, close to Ethernet Gigabit port is 2 USB 3
port. There’s also 1 USB port on the front, below power and back-up buttons.
The latter lets you connect, and with 1 pressing, it allows for backing up data
from ReadyNAS to USB drive.
installed hard disks, we used RAIDar utility of Netgear to locate ReadyNAS Duo vs on the network to format and configure our drives. To
make it work, all drives must be empty so you have to remember to erase any
current volume if you want to reuse old disks. All disks are formatted in Netgear’s expandable X-RAID 2 array structure at default,
but you can configure them like either RAID 0 or RAID 1. Then you are able to
enter administration page by using web browser and map it to a drive letter in
first visit at administration page, you would be guided through a basic
configuration process. Here, you can set your time zone, plus email address of
one contact to which alert messages and errors will be sent, name the device
and change default password.
interface offers a complete suite of tools for managing and reconfigure ReadyNAS. Tab Shares enables you to set up your private
folders’ attributes on the device – like media streaming DLNA (UPnP) and user
access. Another tab allows you to browse folders on NAS and enclosed USB
storage, there’re even interface for image and music files.
also has options for power management and detailed back-up. For instance, it’s
possible to schedule it to sleep at different time on separate days of the
week, the backup screen lets you set it as a Time Machine backup device for
Apple hardware and back up data to USB drive. In addition, you can download a
number of official add-ons, made by the community, enabling you to use the
device as a cloud storage server, online photo album, Squeezebox server, video
streamer, BitTorrent client… They provide more
features, however their quality varies from terrific to terrible so you must
choose wisely. It’s a pity that we’re not impressed by the poor design and a
bulky feeling of ReadyNAS interface.
Duo v2 didn’t perform well in our speed tests. We tested it in these settings:
RAID 0, RAID 1 and default X-RAID 2. In all modes, it was slower than most NAS
enclosures yet the default mode brought the best balance between data security
and speed, with an average speed of 35.9MB/s for big files and 9.8MB/s for
small files. It’s good enough to stream media smoothly, but this cheap NAS has
its powerful rivals.
$178.73, ReadyNAS is cheaper than a number of 2-disk
enclosures. However, it’s more expensive than D-Link’s ShareCenter
Shadow DNS-325, our Best Buy winner, although ReadyNAS
is faster at transferring big files.
Consideration: Despite the custom-capacity X-RAID
2 configuration of Netgear, it’s not either the
fastest or the cheapest enclosure at present.
Ethernet 10/100/1000Mbit/s connection, 3 USB ports, UPnP media server, print
server, web, USB, FTP