Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 NAS Review (Part 1)

5/26/2013 11:07:07 AM

Today we will discuss the new NAS storage system from Western Digital based on Intel 1.8 GHz Atom dual-core processor and featuring two internal hard disks. It is also reinforced by Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials and this product is also directed to the target market for the SMBs with 25 client devices or less.

Western Digital is one of the few first and leading HDD manufacturers remained after a mass of mergers. However, this company also offers other sorts of products, including media players and storage devices coming with network, this product is considered to be the main business activities of this company. It needs a large HDD for storage of multimedia files whereas NAS storage devices cannot do this without HDDs.

The products that a company does not specialize in manufacturing often seem quite meager if it is considered in terms of features and capabilities of the products. But even lacking the features targeted to the users, at least they still can be expected to be on sale at an attractive price level.

The Sentinel DX4000 is currently the unique NAS storage device in the company’s Small Business Storage category. It was initiated as a NAS storage device that is easy to set up and manage with specific data protection features, secure remote access, high performance and compatibility with different operating systems.

The Sentinel DX4000 comes with various HDD configurations ranging in capacity from 4 to 16 gigabytes. We take the low-level version for our tests. It is based on the x 86 platforms with an Intel Atom processor and Microsoft Windows Storage Server Essentials 2008 R2. It comes with a 3-year warranty. Additionally, the manufacturer provides paid technical support and WD Guardian services whereas the warranty period can be extended to 5 years.

The mentioned operating systems are referred to the low-level version in a series of operating systems for NAS storage devices from Microsoft. It is also reserved for the SOHO businesses with the number of other devices up to 25.

Package and accessories

The Sentinel DX4000 is packaged in a large box with the size of 34 x 29 x40 cm but its inside is filled up with the air and the rubber pads. The manufacturers have been concerned about the issue that how the devices are sent to consumers without occurring any problems.

The product box

The product box

The supplied accessories include an external 120W power adapter with many cords for various regions, an Ethernet cable, a thick instruction book and a leaflet with technical support warranty information.



Frankly speaking, an external power adapter is not a good solution for NAS storage devices with 4 hard disks, but it's easier to replace in the event of incident and better when considering the internal temperature of the case. This power adapter is manufactured by FSP and its main device connected to it is for the laptops rather than the desktop computers. Such cables are not popular, so you should try not to lose any of them. The fan of NAS storage device will pop up when you connect the power adapter regardless of how is the operating status of the NAS storage device. The supplied accessories do not include any discs or software at all. All are already written on the hard disks.

The exterior design

The Sentinel DX4000 looks very nice. Its black case is designed in such a way that it does not look bulky although its size can be compared to other 4-disk SOHO NAS storage devices: 16 x 22.5 x 20.5 centimeters. At the top of the front cover, we can see a Power button, the operating status of the system and the HDD activity indicators, and a 2-line dot-matrix display with two buttons.

You can use these buttons to select the information you want to see on the screen (name and address of the network connected NAS storage devices, the number of the HDDs, or the available capacity).

The device’s case

The device’s case

The door of the HDD slots has got a metallic grid located in the center so that the outside air can get into the case. The vent grid with coating looks very shiny. There are also small vents on the sides of the metallic case.

The rear of the device

The rear of the device

On the back of the case has two power connectors, Ethernet ports and USB 3.0 ports; a Reset button is hidden inside, the grid of a 90mm fan for ventilation​​, and a Kengsinton slot. All the connectors are located on the top of the shield, so they are easily accessible, but the cables do not look neat. The two power connectors are believed to make the NAS storage device look solid.

The case is tenable because of the legs with rubber soles.

The image of the product interior

The image of the product interior

The Sentinel DX4000 does not offer any conventional means to disassemble the case. You do not need any tools to install the HDDs into the NAS storage device.

The sturdy metallic frame of the NAS storage devices is riveted in most locations, so it is very difficult to replace or clean the cooling fan inside. There is quite a small PCB on top of the case. It comes with an Intel Atom D525 processor and an ICH9 chipset covered with pyramid-shaped heat sinks. The hardware platform like this existed 2 years ago. The system memory consists of two single 2GB DDR3 modules from Samsung attached in a SO-DIMM slot.

The image of the product interior

The image of the product interior

A connector plate is used to connect the HDDs together, which is a more certainly reliable solution than using cables. The hard disk controllers are also integrated into the chipset. USB 2.0 is not used in this NAS storage device, but it has got an additional NEC controller supporting two USB 3.0 ports. The Ethernet controllers are based on the Intel’s 82574L chips. There is a 3-pin fan connector with the fan system.

There are plenty of unlabeled pads there, but we do not know whether there is a video output port in these locations.

Meanwhile the high-end NAS storage devices that come most recently from other brands offer VGA and HDMI ports, the Sentinel DX4000 is different. The lack of the video output port is probably due to the requirements of the Intel and Microsoft that require the use of their chips and software.

The hardware configuration can be compared to the modern x86 NAS storage devices except for the lack of eSATA (the chipset is probably to provide two or more ports) and video output port. This absence makes it almost impossible to run some other operating systems on the Sentinel DX4000.

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