Product Review - Netgear RND2150 ReadyNAS Duo 500 GB Desktop Network Attached Storage
This is probably one of the best "toys" I've received as part of the Amazon Vine review program... The Netgear RND2150 ReadyNAS Duo 500 GB Desktop Network Attached Storage device. Having never had a network storage device to use at home, I was a bit unsure as to how useful I'd find it. In less than a week, the answer is "how did I live without it?"
First impressions... I expected something much bigger. The largest dimension is 8 inches deep, while being only 4 inches wide and 5 inches high. So in terms of footprint, there's not much there to take up desk or counter space. I plugged it into my Netgear wireless router, ran the set-up software, and it immediately was recognized once I ran the RAIDar software to interact with the administration console on my Windows XP machine. With little effort and no directions, I was able to set up accounts for my wife's machine and Ian's Macbook. I didn't have a clue as to how I was going to walk him through the setup, but by designating the AFP protocol on his share, he found it automatically and started downloading to it right away. He even complained when he couldn't transfer files over 100 MB, as that was the share size limit I had set him at. Evil Dad... :) Now that I know that worked, I bumped him up to 100 GB.
The 500 GB gives me a ton of extra space for backups, media downloads, etc. There are two bays in the unit, one of which is used in this setup. If you added another 500 GB drive, it would use that to set up a RAID configuration. Some have complained that they'd rather have it equal 1 TB instead. If that's important, you can buy a larger configuration that goes to that amount of space, but the second drive is always going to make it a RAID device. Being this is my first NAS device, it's not a big deal to me. In terms of noise (or lack thereof), I'm really happy. It sits across the room from me (about 12 feet away), and I can barely hear the unit. In fact, my Dell desktop is slightly more noisy than the NAS, and I thought the desktop was already pretty quiet to begin with. The only sound that threw me off was when I started doing some downloads on it, and you'd hear the read/write heads moving around. I knew that wasn't a "normal" noise for my office, and it took me a second to realize where it was coming from. Given about a week, I'll probably not even notice the small pops.
The feature that I really like is the built-in BitTorrent client. You can start a torrent download on the NAS, and it'll run independently from there. So instead of having the torrent client taking up cycles and memory on your regular machine, the NAS is just chugging away on the download for you. It's an ideal set-up if you have to move around a lot, or if you're disconnected from your network for any length of time. The BitTorrent client is pretty bare-bones, but it controls all the critical functions, such as throttling the transfer rates in both directions.
I'll dive into the manual this weekend to see what else I can do with it. I know there is automatic backup software you can use, but I currently use an online backup service. I'm torn as to whether I want to maintain that (backups available from anywhere) or save the money (but know I could lose both the computer and NAS in the event of a disaster). But even if I didn't use too many other features of the device, I'd be very happy with it. And if I can keep Ian out of the admin console and restrict his media files to 100 GB, I'll be doing well. :)