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Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive

At a Glance
Product Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive (34337)
Summary Easy to use NAS with iTunes and UPnP AV / DLNA Media Servers
Pros • Simple to set up and use
• Low Power consumption
• Aggressively priced
• Bundled backup software for Windows and Mac OS
Cons •No power save modes
•Only one USB port
• Slower writing than reading

Believe it or not, there are some people who aren't looking for the biggest and fastest NAS. Instead, they just want something they can plug into their router that will give them a nice big folder (or two) to stick all of their digital "life" into.

Buffalo has taken a couple of runs at this market with their LinkStation EZ and DriveStation FlexNet and so has Western Digital, with its My Book World Edition. Iomega apparently also thinks this market segment is fertile ground and has planted two Home Media Network Hard Drive (HMNHD) models (1 TB and 500 GB) in hopes of a bountiful harvest.

The HMNHD's all-aluminum case (except for the plastic front grille) reminds me of LaCie's Zen-like approach to product design. But the placement of the two indicator lights at the side rear is a odd choice, since you can't see them unless you angle the unit, which effectively increases its footprint.

Figure 1 shows the rear panel connectors, which include a 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN port (no jumbo frame support) and single USB 2.0 port for USB drive or printer sharing. Iomega says that only a single device can be attached to the port. But I connected a four-port USB hub and shared two USB flash drives and a USB printer without a problem.

Rear panel

Figure 1: Rear panel


The HMNHD draws only 12 W when active and 3 W when it is turned "off" (there are no power-saving modes). The small fan starts out with a hardly noticeable noise level, but you'll hear it in a quiet room after the NAS has been running for awhile.

Internal Details

Two rear panel screws are all that hold the HMNHD's innards in its aluminum sleeve. You do need to unplug the fan, however, before you can slide the main assembly out (voiding your warranty, of course). Figure 2 shows the assembly, which is dominated by a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1 TB (or 500 GB) drive.

HMNHD internal assembly view
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: HMNHD internal assembly view

The photos in the slideshow provide more construction details, which I'll summarize here. The CPU is an Oxford 810SE @ 370Mhz SoC and there is 64 MB of Hynix RAM. I couldn't find any Flash, so there must be some in the Oxford SoC. The Gigabit Ethernet port comes from a combination of the PHY in the Oxford chip and an IC+ IP1001 Gigabit Ethernet Transceiver.

I'm surprised that Iomega didn't use a Marvell Orion processor, which most other low-cost NASes use. But Oxford's device must allow for a lower material cost, although, as we'll see shortly, with a tradeoff of lower write performance. (Oxford's earlier-generation storage SoC, the OXE800DSE, is responsible for the Western Digital My Book World Edition's notoriously low transfer speeds.)

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