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This review is from: WD Red Pro 2 TB NAS Hard Drive WD2001FFSX up to 16 bay: 3.5-inch SATA 6, 64MB Cache
Pros: I reviewed two Western Digital Red Pro series, 2 TB NAS hard drives, with the model number WD2001FFSX. Many people are probably familiar with WD’s standard red NAS drives that have been available for several years now. The original red drives appeared to be a variation on the power conserving green drive series, but with modified firmware to optimize them for use in NAS systems. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that the new WD Pro series red drives appear to be based on the well established black line of performance desktop hard drives. If you compare the specs, both the black and red pro series are rated at 7,200 RPMs, both have dual controllers, dual bearings, both are rated for 24 x 7 operation and both models have a five year manufacturer’s warranty. The red Pro drives also have modified firmware to provide for better performance in NAS systems.
Standard desktop drives will take themselves offline periodically for up to a minute to perform internal house keeping maintenance. This typically includes scanning for weak data sectors and moving the data to spare good sectors, before it’s lost or degraded. Most RAID controllers will not tolerate a drive going offline for more than eight seconds. Many desktop rated drives will exceed this 8 second time limit and drop out of the array. What differentiates WD red drives from other drive models is their Time Limited Error Recover (TLER) spec. This WD firmware spec limits drive timeouts to less than 8 seconds.
Other Pro series drive improvements include: Improved 3D balancing, dual spindle bearings, reduced vibration, and reduced operating temperatures, to improve their reliability in cramped NAS cases. The internal WD NASware firmware has been upgraded from v2.0 to v3.0. This new firmware increases the maximum number of hard drives that can be used in a NAS array from 8 standard red, to 16 Pro series red drives. The Pro series are also rated for 24 x 7 business use, where reliability is critical. The Pro red series warranty has been extended from 3 to 5 years.
Cons: Cost. I thought the cost of the Pro series red drives was a little on the high side. Especially when you consider you may need to purchase 4-16 of these drives just to fill a single NAS or RAID system. A typical RAID-5 setup requires a minimum of four hard drives. These are clearly aimed more at business users who are less likely to balk at the added per disk cost.
Other Thoughts: I installed the two WD Pro red test drives into a freshly loaded Intel Atom dual-core, 64-bit, HP Proliant Micro-Server, which was running Windows Home Server 2011, 64-bit. With its 1-Gbit/Sec network interface, a full 65 GB Windows 7 client backup was completed in only 8 minutes and 35 seconds, at an average transfer rate of 856 Mb/Sec. So allowing for network overhead I thought that was pretty impressive! Other client backups went at similarly rapid speeds.
Both of the WD red Pro drives installed and formatted without any issues. I always do full formats, versus quick formats. In my experience this will provide a more reliable storage experience for my clients. The two red drives consistently operated 6-8°F cooler than the HP Proliant’s stock 250 GB HGST boot disk.
Both red drives were quiet and very responsive. Even with a low power Atom processor, directory queries jumped on to the screen, whenever accessed by Windows File Explorer.
I have been in the PC business since the late eighties and I can tell you that WD is one of the better hard disk manufacturers that you will ever deal with, both from a product quality and a customer support standpoint. They also have one of the best return policies in the hard drive business. WD has a quality control policy of always testing every single hard drive before it leaves their manufacturing facilities.
I have to applaud WD's marketing, at whomever came up with the idea of color-coding their various drive lines. This make it easier for custom builders like myself to recommend the correct drive for a customer's application.
Since NewEgg has switched to shipping their bulk OEM hard drives in the little brown boxes, with the custom air cushion inserts, I have not received a single DOA hard drive. I have received DOA drives from other Internet suppliers that used inferior packaging. Shippers are probably the number one point of DOA failure in my experience for mechanical hard drives.
You can feel the quality of these drives just by picking one up. They must weigh about twice as much as a standard desktop-rated blue drive. These appear to be nice solid hard drives and I have no qualms about recommending them for their intended purpose in business grade NAS systems.
This review is from: Corsair CH-9000066-NA Vengeance K70 Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Blue Switch
Pros: I have used IBM keyboards, Northgate Omni-Key keyboards, but this beats them all hands down. Smooth operating keys, with no binding. Great tactual feedback for touch typist. The keys work correctly the first time when you press them, no fading or skipping.
I like the open design, easy to blow-out cat fuzz. with a can of air. I have the model with the blue click style switches. I am used to using IBM and other similar mechanical keyboards, so noise is not an issue with me. In an office environment you may want to the the quieter versions instead.
Cons: Takes up two USB ports. Poor too brief quick guide. What does the BIOS switch do? No full version online user manual. Come on Corsair you can offer better documentation than this for such a costly keyboard!
Other Thoughts: The red LED's are a nice addition when working at night. They are adjustable as far as what group is lit and how bright they shine. I have had no problems with my LED's working correctly. I could see where a weak USB port could cause issues. Did not work good on my KVM switch.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Seagate STCU100 Diskless System NAS 4-Bay Network Storage
Pros: I reviewed the Seagate STCU8000100 8TB NAS 4-bay network attached storage system, better known as a 4-disk NAS box. The unit shows-up on my network as a “Seagate-D4” storage device.
The Seagate-D4 (D4), test system came with four pre-installed Seagate model ST2000VN000-1H3164 2.0 TB hard drives; running in simple RAID mode. These drives are specifically designed for use in DVRs and compact NAS units. They run at a cooler 5900 RPM. Seagate warns that only one failed RAID disk can be replaced at a time. The system is rated to monitor up to 10 HD video surveillance cameras.
Initial setup was easy. You simply plug-in a patch cable from your LAN into one of the two NIC ports on the D4, then plug-in the D4’s external power supply cords and press the power button. The supplied quick start instructions instruct you to open any workstation browser connected to the same LAN as the D4 and type in a URL to a Seagate website. An automated script then takes over and searches your LAN to find the D4’s IP address. It then walks you through the initial NAS setup process. Note: Setup requires that you have Internet access to install the D4.
Setup consisted of installing the latest firmware/OS updates, creating user accounts, setting admin/user passwords and access rights, and setting options. Tip: Restart the NAS after this initial setup completes for any new firmware and setup changes to take effect. System restarts and shutdowns can be performed from within the browser admin interface. Another tip is to change the D4’s default workgroup name to match your local workgroup. This will make it more easily visible to older OS like Windows XP.
After the initial reboot, any new public shares created, should be visible to all of your LAN clients. Any LAN client can access the public folder(s), create new folders and add files using Windows File Explorer. The assigned administrator can create additional private folders as needed and update the access rights. Group access folders are also supported.
The web interface has five main icons: Device Manager, File Browser, Download Manager, Backup Manager, and an App Manager. Note the Backup Manager is for backing up the D4 only, not your clients. You will need to use separate backup programs for each of your clients. Seagate currently offers only small number of additional Apps on their website. Both an antivirus and a security camera monitoring App are offered though.
Cons: While not a huge con, reboots took the D4 around 5 minutes to complete. Reboots with firmware updates took even longer. The system log also indicated some disk checks took place during one extended reboot session.
The included monitoring software indicated the ARM CPU was running at a rather hot 150-155°F.
From the odd department, the internal system log file had entries in it dating back to 2009?
A single client can easily pin the D4’s CPU at 100% utilization during heavy copy sessions. This does not bode well for larger offices with multiple clients. My impression was that the D4 is a little under-powered in the CPU department. RAM utilization always stayed in the low 25-35% range. As more data was copied to the NAS, RAM usage increased. The system also makes use of virtual memory, which seems silly on a NAS. Why not simply add more RAM? A larger RAM disk cache may have also improved the data transfer rates.
The help instructions are all located online at Seagate’s website. This allows Seagate to always present the most up-to-date help instructions. On the other hand I found the help instructions to be rather brief and lacking in details. For example the instructions offered for the various supported network protocols left me wanting. I have a BSD Unix based NAS4free server running in my basement and as a result I was somewhat familiar with many of the terms Seagate uses. A newbie to NAS may be left totally confused by all of the various network protocols supported and their setup options.
I could not get the Sdrive remote Internet access feature to work. My buddy and I spent several hours working on the remote access issue with no results. It worked fine on my local LAN, but while he could logon to the Sdrive service using my user ID and PW, he could not access any of the public files and folders I had created on the D4.
Other Thoughts: LAN Speed Test measured the following gigabit LAN transfer rates in Mbits/Second, using three file sizes and as compared to my existing home-built NAS4free system. The latter uses an AMD Athlon-II dual-core CPU, w/4 GB of RAM and no RAID:
File Size: Seagate-D4 NAS4free 64-Bit
20 MB: 369 Writing/393 Reading 502 Writing/502 Reading
100MB: 348 Writing/403 Reading 530 Writing/502 Reading
650MB: 279 Writing/365 Reading 369 Writing/393 Reading
The D4's four hard disks all hovered around the mid 95-105° F. temperature range, even under a heavy work load. This bodes well for longer disk life. 8TB of disk space was reduced to 6TB usable, by the built-in Simple RAID data protection system. The installed hard drives carry a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
The D4 ran quietly for the most part. Under heavy use you could hear the internal fan speed-up somewhat. But noise output was never an issue.
Mac users can stream iTunes from the D4 and backup files using Time Machine.
I thought the network transfer rates above were a little on the slow side for a modern NAS. This could be the result of using an ARM CPU instead of a more traditional x86 desktop CPU. It could also be due to lack of RAM, at only 512MB, which would have limited disk caching. The poor transfer performance may also be caused by the slower 5900 RPM video hard drives. I’d love to hear from another end-user who bought the disk-less version and added his or her own 7200 RPM drives.
Overall I thought the price to performance ratio of the Seagate-D4 was acceptable when compared to other similarly priced NAS solutions. I was rather disappointed at not being able to get the Sdrive remote access feature to work during the short review period. Being limited to only accessing my files from my home office LAN was a major disappointment.
A search for help on this Sdrive remote access issue using both Google and Seagate’s own forum site, only returned one unrelated item, which was of no help. Seagate really needs to beef-up their online technical support for this NAS system. I don’t know about you, but I hate calling tech support help lines for assistance. I just don’t have the spare time. I prefer things work correctly out of the box.
Hopefully Seagate can address the online help info short comings with updates to their website and the Sdrive issues with future Sdrive software improvements. Due to the technical and poor online help glitches, I gave the Seagate D4 three out of five eggs. I plan to follow-up with Seagate regarding the Sdrive issue. If we can get it working, I will submit an updated review.