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PROMISE SmartStor NS4600 Network Attached Storage and Digital Media Server

  • Intel 600 MHz Processor
  • 1 x 10/100/1000M
  • 2 x USB2.0
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Learn more about the Promise Tech. SmartStor NS4600

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Customer Reviews of the Promise Tech. SmartStor NS4600

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  • Colby M.
  • 11/15/2012 7:09:44 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

3 out of 5 eggsMixed feelings

Pros: Actually I've had good luck with the reliability of this unit...it does what I want it to do, it has plenty of connections, and it's never given me any technical issues. It's been running for over a year strait, and has never given me any fuss. It does lack in features compared to some other units, but I knew that when I purchased it.

Cons: I'm giving it three stars for one reason...it's loud. The build quality doesn't live up to a $400 NAS. The mounting system for drives transfers vibration, which makes the entire unit hum quite loudly because there are too many plastic-on-plastic areas that are not held together tightly. I tried several different speeds of drives (I intended on using WD Green drives, which I did end up using) as well as several anti-vibration hard drive mounting options, none of which completely took care of the issue. After a few months I got fed up with it and took it apart and fixed the problem with Instant Gasket (basically creates a rubberized surface between plastic joints). The low rating comes from the fact that I had to do this on a > $400 storage system...that should not have been an issue. Had this unit cost $200, I would have accepted it as "you get what you pay for," but I don't feel that it's something that I should have had to do on this.

Other Thoughts: I don't feel I wasted money on this, nor do I feel that it's overpriced. I would, however, like to see a bit more effort put into the build quality...it's not terrible, there were just obvious shortcuts taken to save a few pennies.

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  • Anonymous
  • 10/19/2012 6:21:29 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsfatal single point of failure

Pros: small, quiet, cheap...

Cons: mostly moot as Promise retired the NS4600.
The enet iface croaked on mine and that is fatal since the esata and usb ports are client only, a deal breaker for a backup system with NO COMM BACKUP. The people who designed this system didn't understand the concept of secure backup. Would be very leery of any system designed by this company. Their proprietary OS puts the final nail in this joke.

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  • John G.
  • 3/25/2011 6:15:52 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsPromise Tech Support

Pros: Inexpensive

Cons: Reliability
Tech Support: almost non-existent;

Other Thoughts: We had both units go down. We called tech support to open a case. Two days go by without a follow-up and we called to find out the original tech was out of the office. We were assigned a new tech. Then told someone from Taiwan would need to remove into the unit. We jump through hoops to get that setup through our firewall and it never happened. We are basically dead in the water and have no support to help us. We're looking into 3rd party data recovery companies.

I do not recommend using these units for any critical data. They are unreliable, but worse is the support behind it.

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  • Daniel A.
  • 12/12/2010 9:08:18 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsGood, fast, quiet hardware; flaky, clunky firmware

Pros: Quiet: the adaptive fan genuinely works, keeping the device almost unnoticeably quiet
Fast: Successfully saturates a 100 Mbps line over AFP.
Works with TimeMachine on Mac.
Built in BitTorrent client and download manager works well.

Cons: No access to firmware: underlying Linux system is locked down, so I can't even check what's going wrong when the CPU maxes out and the system becomes unresponsive.
Not much activity in the 3rd party extension area.
WebAdmin UI is fine but inconsistent.
Setting up TimeMachine was a pain.
Seems to need the occasional reboot. I don't know why because I can't log in to check!

Other Thoughts: I gave it four stars despite the Cons because despite the pain of setting it up and administering the device, it functions well on a day to day basis. The speed and quietness are what I care about on a daily basis, and there the machine exceeded my expectations.

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  • Bill Z.
  • 8/20/2010 10:47:30 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsNO PROMISE -NEGATIVE EGG RATING

Pros: I like the blue lights.

Cons: Lets see...where do I start. Well I am a long time Promise Tech owner. I had two of the NS4300 which I hated. Problem after problem. I complained to tech support and it was always "Next firmware we will be fixing that problem." Then with all my open cases and problems left unadressed they EOL the NS4300. I complained like holly heck. Ended up dealing with some guy named Billy a lot. They sent me a NS4600 to shut me up. Ok this thing works on half of the PROMISES that the NS4300 was supposed to deliver on. By default the unit has S.M.A.R.T. drive software loaded. It also has power setting to spin down the drives when not in uses. Well the two don't work very well together. After spinning down my drives it would detect an error in the drive or state that the drive was not connected. I called tech support and got a run around. I finally noticed a patern. Under "Management/Power Options" I set the drives to never turn off. Informed tech support and they blamed the drives firmware. Whatever

Other Thoughts: Promise Tech support is bad. The management is to blame. The SOHO NAS division needs to be fired and replaced.

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Steven O.
  • 12/23/2009 3:11:51 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsGood Basic Value, But Flawed

Pros: Good basic value for the money, runs cool, quiet, consistently, and has lots of features (more than I'll ever use). I installed 4x Hitachi 2 TB drives in RAID 5, and switched to static addressing with no problem. (Have 4x Maxtor 500 GB drives in my 4300). Drive power-down on user selectable inactivity interval works on 4600 (does not work on 4300). Automatically recognizes APC Smart-ups for automatic shutdown, but not any other brand.

Cons: Both USB ports and eSata ports are client only, so you can extend the storage capacity with slower, non-networked storage, but you cannot connect directly to a server for local-disk backups. NAS Replication function only works on identical models: 4600 to 4600; 4300 to 4300; not inter-connectable. This was confirmed by Promise Tech Support, with no workaround available or underway. I consider this a major flaw. File permissions are wonky, allowing explicit control at the share level, but not at the directory or file level, even though some invisible owner permissions are set automagically at these levels. Also, when mounting a share in Windows using the workgroup approach (most home networking), remember to connect with a different user name, and use the format: nasname\username with the username as defined on the NAS, not in Windows. There is a limitation as well that you can use only one username to connect all shares from a given NAS to your Windows box.

Other Thoughts: I bought the 4600 because I've had 2 good years of service out of the 4300, despite it's rather wonky quirks. 0 Failures. I wanted to use the 4600 as a replication target for my 4300, and general PC / Server backup device, which is a great use for it given the cost, web-interface, GBE, and drive power-down capabilities. But the lack of support for NAS replication across models really messed me up. Also, while the setup wizard supports RAID 0,1, or 5, you cannot use it to setup a 4-drive RAID 0+1, and you cannot migrate from any other RAID to a 4-drive 0+1. So, even though they claim support for that, I don't see how you get there.

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Kevin G.
  • 12/22/2009 6:42:50 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggsNo complaints

Pros: We just bought two of these units to do near-line data archiving and put 4 2TB Western Digital drives in each configured with RAID 1+0. With a little perl and rsync we're doing nightly server archives of all our important data (and using hard links to de-duplicate identical files). Easy for us to simply copy lost/deleted/overwritten files back to necessary server when someone makes a mistake. The second unit is a full mirror of the first for fault tolerance and runs in a different building. We'll get full archiving with file level de-duplication and off-site backups for a very attractive price -- probably cheaper in the long run than our current tape library system. By using hard links for de-duplication we can preserve daily archives for a month and monthly archives for many, many months before we run out of space.

Cons: The eSATA port on the device supports additional storage attached to the NAS but does not allow use of the NAS as a local eSATA device -- you MUST access it over your network. You'll need to connect it to a router initially to configure it so that it can get a DHCP lease (our network uses static IP addresses, so this was an annoyance). Also, while the units can be configured to mirror data between them automatically, the automated mirroring does not preserve hard links on the file system, so file level de-duplication won't work with the built-in mirroring (easy enough to work around with an rsync script, but should be respected by the system).

Other Thoughts: So far, the system is running consistently, reliably, and quietly. Lots of bang for our buck!

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Daniel D.
  • 12/3/2009 9:01:37 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsAVOID

Pros: Fast transfer speeds (600Mbs on cat 5e) when it's working.

Cons: Avoid this unit at all costs. I too had purchased this to run as a 4x1.5Tb raid 5 array. I had close to 2 Tb of media storage when one of two of the drives failed simultaneously. First note was that the media were bad and they should be replaced. At this point ALL of my media was lost (I had about 1/3 on a secondary backup). 100s of hours of DVD backups were lost.

The same thing happened a second time, about 6-7 days after the first occurrence. This time, their support said that no 1.5 Tb drives are supported. Ugh.

The system works well when it's working, but when it fails it shows working drives as unplugged then plugged in, and then they show up as "free space". The only way to remount them is to reformat and restart. I'm hoping to get a refund due to the undocumented nature of the 1.5Tb drive failure. I've asked Promise if this will be corrected in a future firmware and have not heard back yet.

VERY VERY frustrated.

3 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Joseph C.
  • 11/17/2009 7:41:28 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsNS4600

Pros: Very fast on data copying to and from the device. Streaming movie from it works just fine.

Cons: The filesystem they are using is inadequate or not appropriately configured. I have lost ALL of my data twice because of filesystem issues. I have it configured for raid 5 so that I would hopefully have redundancy. Techsupport has been no help. They blamed my drives the first time which passed disk check utilities in another system. So I purchased all new drives and am in the same situation again, all data gone after only a few weeks of use. I would not buy this again.

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Christopher H.
  • 10/28/2009 11:15:33 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsGreat Hardware, Incomplete Firmware

Pros: Low power consumption, low noise, great network performance, perfect compatibility with PS3 video streaming, and can stream (properly-encoded) video when accessed from the internet (even with iPhone).

Cons: The latest firmware available doesn't actually provide these advertised services: Apple Time Machine Backup, WebDAV, iTunes Video Streaming. Support says an update is coming "by the end of the month." No expandability via plugins (built-in are all that's available). The desktop client for controlling the NAS (SmartNAVI) is crapware; the web interface is much better.

Other Thoughts: Great little unit, overall!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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