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NAS Reviews

Introduction

Linksys NAS200

At a Glance
Product Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)
Summary Two-drive SATA BYOD NAS with decent feature set, but relatively slow performance.
Pros • Aggressively priced
• UPnP AV server
• Supports individual, JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1
• Bundled client backup software
Cons • No gigabit Ethernet
• Relatively slow
• No auto-backup of internal drive

In the three years since Linksys launched its only consumer-level NAS product—the NSLU2—the company has watched its competition walk away with this growing and profitable market. And while it recently has gotten back into the NAS game with its enterprise-grade NSS line, Linksys seemed content with letting the "Slug" (as it is known in the hacking community) lead its consumer NAS charge.

Well, folks, the wait is over and Linksys is finally shipping the new two-drive BYOD NAS that it showed back at January's CES. The good news is that the NAS200 is aggressively priced, supports two SATA drives in individual, JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1 modes and has built-in UPnP AV and FTP servers. The bad news is that it's slow—slower on the average than even the NSLU2, and that's without the overclocking hack that is commonly applied.

Figure 1 provides the details on the 200's front panel indicators. All the icons except for Power are backed with green LEDs that are sufficiently bright to be seen at a distance. The Power LED is green or orange, flashing or steady, depending on what it's trying to tell you.

Note that the Backup button works along with the bundled NTI Shadow backup client (fully functional, unlimited clients), but there is no built-in ability to automatically back up the 200's internal drives.

NAS200 Front Panel
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: Front panel

Figure 2 describes the back panel connectors, which include two USB 2.0 ports. The ports are pretty close together; too close to allow both to be used if you have a wide-ish flash drive plugged into one of the ports.

The buttons beside each port do not initiate a copy of the plugged-in drive's contents to an internal folder. They're just for safely "ejecting" attached USB devices. In keeping with the low-cost focus of the 200, the Ethernet port is 10/100 only.

NAS200 Rear Panel
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: Rear panel

Construction Details

The 200 doesn't use the Marvell Orion storage processor that gives many other current-generation NASes their zip, nor does it use the Intel IXP420 Network Processor used by the Slug. Instead, Linksys opted for the RDC R3210, clocked at 133 MHz. I find this a very odd choice for CPU; I've seen it used on only one other NAS, the Trendnet TS-I300. Oddly enough, the Trendnet also bests the NAS200 in our NAS Chart performance tests.

NAS200 main board top
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: Board top view

The RDC R3210 is paired with a Silicon Image SiL3512ECTU128 SATA controller and the same 32 MB of RAM and 8 MB of flash as the Slug.

The NSLU2-Linux folks have already started an NAS200 page, so you can peruse the bootlog there, which indicates a Linux version 2.6.19 kernel. With the help of the hints on the Wiki, I got the 200 completely apart and posted the photos in the slideshow.

Check out the slideshow Check out the slideshow for more admin screens and internal details

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