NAS Devices: The Storage Centers (Part 3) - D-Link ShareCenter Shadow DNS-325, NetGear ReadyNAS Duo v2

7/24/2012 5:49:00 PM

D-Link ShareCenter Shadow DNS-325

Ratings: 4/5

Price: $135



D-Link ShareCenter Shadow DNS-325

Installing 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.

The 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 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.

The web interface lacks an elegance compared to that of Synology and QNap, 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.

Besides, 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.

DNS-325’s 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.

With $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 enclosure.

NAS enclosure: 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet connection, 1 USB port, media server for UPnP and iTunes, print server, USB, FTP

NetGear ReadyNAS Duo v2

Ratings: 3/5

Price: $178.75



NetGear ReadyNAS Duo v2

Netgear’s 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.

With 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 Windows Explorer.

In your 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.

Web 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.

ReadyNAS 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.

ReadyNAS 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.

With $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.

NAS enclosure: Ethernet 10/100/1000Mbit/s connection, 3 USB ports, UPnP media server, print server, web, USB, FTP
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