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Introduction

Update 5/31/2007: Corrected Conclusion

freedom9 freeStor 4020

At a Glance
Product freedom9 freeStor 4020 (N0042000)
Summary BYOD 4 SATA drive RAID NAS with RAID 0,1,5, 10 and AD, NFS support.
Pros • Supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 5+ spare and 10
• USB print server
• Gigabit Ethernet port with jumbo frame support
• Hot-swappable drives
• Active Directory support
Cons • Lower performance than other RAID 5 NASes
• Limited FTP support
• No media servers

If freedom9's freeStor 4020 looks vaguely familiar, that's because it is essentially the same product as the LaCie Ethernet Disk RAID, which is in turn a very close relative of the Intel SS4000-E. The main differences that the 4020 brings to the party is that you provide the drives and it sports a 600 MHz Intel Xscale processor vs. a 400 MHz. Since we've already reviewed the LaCie and Intel products, we'll be taking a very quick tour through freedom9's version.

The 4020 has basically the same dimensions as the Intel and LaCie products, 4.53" x 9.45" x 8.27", and weighs in just shy of 10 pounds without drives. Figure 1 shows the front panel with indicator descriptions and Figure 2 the rear.

Front panel

Figure 1: Front panel

Note that the 4020 has only a single gigabit Ethernet port vs. the two ports on the LaCie and Intel versions. Jumbo frames are disabled by default with frame size set to 1514 Bytes. If you want to use jumbo frames you check the box and enter the frame size directly instead of selecting from fixed sizes like most other NASes I've seen.

Rear panel

Figure 2: Rear panel

Note the separate fans for the power supply and drive bay, which when added to drive noise results in a product that you won't want to park in your living room. Power consumption is around 65W and there are no power save / disk spindown features.

Figure 3 shows a view from the top of the 4020, with all drives removed. The drive backplane connectors can be seen to the right and the 600MHz Intel 80219 Xscale processor is center top. 256 MB of RAM is supplied by a PC3200 DIMM and there is 8 MB of flash (Intel JS28F640) on the board. The other key components are an NEC D720101 USB 2.0 Host controller, Intel EW31244 SATA controller and Intel 82541 gigabit Ethernet controller

freeStor 4020 board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: freeStor 4020 board

I moved out a bit and changed angle to shoot Figure 4, so that you can see more construction details. The PC3200 DIMM can be accessed by removing the left cover and is at the bottom of the photo. Note also that the drive cage is made from extruded aluminum instead of punched sheet metal, which should provide some heat removal for the drives.

Top view
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: Top view

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