TG Gift Guide 07 – Networking & NAS Boxes

by Greg King on December 20, 2007 in Editorials & Interviews, Networking, Storage

Have more than one network-capable device in the house? You need a router! Luckily, that’s exactly what our final gift guide tackles, along with a few of our favorite NAS boxes. Now you will really have no excuse for keeping your game console off the network or your data backed up!

Page 2 – Network-Attached-Storage

I loves me some networked storage. By day, I am a network administrator, keeping the internet pipes clean and flowing and this has help me over the years to develop an affinity for networking and all that goes along with it. As we mentioned earlier, network storage devices are wonderful little units that allow remote access to data across a network without a dedicated PC always being powered on. This not only helps in over all power consumption but also in ease of access to important files.

We have looked at a few NAS boxes in the past and that isn’t going to change in the coming year. For those on your Christmas list looking for something like network storage, let us recommend the following hardware. Please keep in mind that the prices given for each device only covers the unit itself. With any NAS, the addition of a hard drive(s) is required. Without delay, here are our recommendations:

Budget (< $200): Thecus is a company that needs no introduction to the NAS crowd. Long thought of as a leader in the industry, their N1200 is a perfect blend of functionality and convenience. Allowing the installation of one SATA hard drive, the N1200 also has a built in 4 port switch with allows the connecting of multiple PCs directly into the NAS itself. There is one gigabit WAN port and four 10/100 LAN ports to provide you with all the connectivity one can stand.

Another product to consider is the D-Link DNS-323. The DNS-323, which we reviewed last June, shared the budget spot with the Thecus N1200 simply because it’s too good of a device to keep in the Other Offerings section. Allowing up to 2 drives to be installed, the DNS-323 offers decent speed and added piece of mind with its RAID 1 capability.

Another shining point for the DNS-323 is the ease of installation. With the DNS-323, you are giving up a few features like thumb drive back up capability but for the price (under $200) you will simply not find a better RAID able NAS for your money.

Mid-Range: For our mid-range offering, the Synology DS107+ takes top honors. We reviewed the DS107e last October and loved what we saw. Offering the most features we have ever seen in a NAS, the DS107e’s bigger brother, the DS107+, offers a blazing fast on board processor and gigabit connection capabilities.

Add in support for Jumbo Frames and you have one of the best single drive NAS devices on the planet. One thing to consider too is the dedication that Synology has show in releasing updated firmware and functionality well after a product has been replaced by a new model.

High-End: Excluding RAID 5 capable devices because so few people will use them in a home environment, our top recommendation is split between two deserving products. The QNAP TS-209 Pro and the Synology DS207+ are both pristine examples of what a 2 drive NAS box can be. Starting with the QNAP product, the TS-209 Pro offers hot swappable RAID 1, a spectacular feature set and outstanding performance. Moving onto the Synology offering, the DS207+ looks identical to the DS207 that we reviewed last August but brings a more powerful processor and additional RAM to the fight. Look for a review of the DS207+ shortly.

Both of the devices are guaranteed to fill the needs of 99% of all users in the market for a NAS. There will be some special needs that these won’t meet but for most of us, these two devices are as good as it gets in the highly competitive, affordable 2 bay NAS box market.

Other Offerings

QNAP TS-109 Pro: Basically a single drive version of the TS-209 Pro that took top honors on our list of recommended NAS boxes, the 109 Pro brings just as much to the table yet lacks the ability to RAID your data. One thing that it does shine in is in the cooling and noise department. The TS-109 Pro is completely silent and passively cools the enclosed hard drive and does so quite well. Look for our review of the TS-109 Pro soon.

Thecus YES Box (N2100): Reviewed back in March, the YES Box was designed to be the center of the multimedia household. Allowing the RAIDing of up to two SATA drives, the Thecus N2100 can keep your data safe and serve it up at gigabit speeds. Supporting Jumbo Frames and supporting a slew of multimedia functions, the N2100 is a solid addition to any network.

Hammer myShare: A relative unknown, Hammer Storage has a solid offering in the myShare. Offering 2 drives and a slew of multimedia functionality we have come to expect in NAS boxes of this caliber, the myShare is easy to setup and just as easy to administer.

We hope that it helped you in your purchasing decisions this season, and if you are left with any additional questions or comments, please feel free to post in our related thread! No registration is required to post within this thread. Happy holidays!

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