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Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220 Reviewed

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Introduction

Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220

At a Glance
Product Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220 (ST320005LSA10G-RK)
Summary Two drive RAID 1 NAS with encrypted volume support, lots of backup options, media servers and secure web-based remote access.
Pros • Good value ($ / capacity)
• 5 Windows client licenses for full-featured backup software
• Secure web-based remote access
Cons • No Logging
• No MacOS backup client or Time Machine support
• No RAID migration / expansion
• Slow USB backups
• No eSATA support

Seagate must be pleased with the acceptance of its four-drive BlackArmor NAS 440, because they're back with a two-drive version. The NAS 220 supports most of the features of its higher-capacity sibling, which we've previously reviewed. So I'll just focus on what's different, review its new hardware platform and run through the performance test results.

The 220 is housed in a metal case with a plastic front panel. It's a no-frills design meant to convey a no-nonsense approach designed to appeal to its target small-biz buyer. It's a bit taller and wider than the Synology dual-drive NASes, but not quite as big as Cisco's Linksys Media Hub.

Figure 1 shows the front and rear panels. The front has status and drive activity indicators, the Power button but no USB ports, while the rear has two USB 2.0 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port that supports jumbo frames up to 9K. Unfortunately, it has no eSATA port to help support faster backups to attached drives.

Front and rear panels

Figure 1: Front and rear panels

The single fan ran quietly and drive noise was low enough to make the unit barely audible in a quiet room. I didn't hear the fan speed ramp up during the load of our performance testing. Power draw measured 22 W active and 7 W with drives spun down via the HDD Standby feature. You can't set the spindown time and there is no programmable shutdown / startup feature.

Internal Details

The 220's metal case has a plastic front panel that doesn't easily remove to provide access to the two 3.5" SATA drives. For that, you need to remove three screws and slide off the metal cover to reveal the two toaster-style top-inserted drives (Figure 2). Our 2 TB review model came with two ST31000528AS Barracuda 7200.12 1 TB drives installed, which are EXT3 formatted.

Inside view
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: Inside view

Figure 3 is a shot of the 220's board, which is mounted below the drive cage. The board is not the same as the BA NAS 440 and uses a slower version of the Marvell "Kirkwood" SoC line, an 800 MHz 88F6192 vs. the BA 440's 1.2 GHz 88F6281.

NAS 220 board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: NAS 220 board

Other key components are a Marvell 88E1116R Gigabit Ethernet, 128 MB of soldered-on RAM, 32 MB of flash and a Genesys GL850A 4 port USB 2.0 Hub. Note the unloaded position for a second RAM chip.




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User reviews

Average user rating from: 5 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

User Rating    [Back to Top]
Overall: 
 
3.5 Features :
 
3.4 Performance :
 
3.0 Reliability :
 
4.2
 
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Slooow

Overall rating: 
 
1.7
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
3.0
Reviewed by Przemek
March 07, 2014
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1. There is no features driven by NAS needed in company, because there are better tools.
2. Performance - 6-15 MB/s is NOT a performance, its a bad joke.
3. I set FreeNAS on PC with 2-port Intel NIC and used link aggregation with dell switch. 120-160 MB/s looks much better :).

 

Black Armor's Back!

Overall rating: 
 
3.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Zervon36
October 10, 2011
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Seagate's Black Armor 220 Disappointed me at first because I was getting slow transfer speeds and I had all the Gigabit equipment. I also was let down again with USB to NAS. (Would of been great Feature, If not for slow speed).

Anyways after extensive research i was able to get a 70GB backup on to the NAS In about hour 7 min.

First Thing was my cable to my computer was a regular old CAT 5. For Gigabit Transfers you need CAT 5e or CAT 6. My Black Armor came with a CAT 5e. Second I used speedguide.net and found some optimal settings for Vista/ Win 7. I used this Batch script http://www.speedguide.net/files/vista/SG_Vista_TcpIp_patch.cmd (SAVE AS when downloading)

Followed instructions and restarted and my Win 7 was optimized. Third You have to use the FTP feature to send files to the NAS. NOTE: Since Firmware 2000.1231 Windows Explorer FTP and some FTP Programs have trouble with Authentication (when entering your password You get no access).

You have to disable Passive Mode to enter FTP. For Windows Explorer This is found under Internet Options --> Advanced Browsing uncheck "Use Passive FTP".

I Opened My computer and in address bar i typed ftp://user:password@NAS IP:21
Now i was able to drag files from my USB Drive to FTP.

Hope This Helps Someone.

 

Cheap but slow and the Rsync back is unusable

Overall rating: 
 
2.7
Features:
 
3.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Stuart
June 23, 2011
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This is a cheap NAS, but it is slow.

I bought two, with the intention of one being my primary storage and the other being a backup situated 50M away in a separate building. We use it in our small home office in which there are only two of us.

On average I get write speeds of 12MB/s and read speeds of 10MB/s (bizarre I know). Turning on Jumbo frames is a disaster as this slows it to 5MB/s. Now I know this could be my computer or switch rather than the NAS, but I've tried 2 gigabit switches, one a D-Link and the other a NetGear and 4 different computers, 2 x Dell desktops, a Lenovo laptop and a Mac Pro, and all show roughly the same level of throughput, so I'm pretty sure it's the NAS that is slow.

My idea was to use the built in Rsync backup to back-up one NAS to the other each weekend, however, this has two problems:
1: Rsync is even slower still at around 6MB/s
2: The target is created read-only and cannot be changed or managed. Therefore, if you have a relatively dynamic filesystem with large files coming and going and moving around, the backup target rapidly fills up because it has kept copies of files that you've long since deleted or moved. The ONLY solution... delete the backup and start again. Not exactly useful as a backup mechanism and a long way from the set-it-up and forget it solution I wanted.

Point 2 is acknowledged as a bug by Seagate, but they have not fixed it in over a year and with 2 firmware updates, so I don't hold out much hope.

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed as it's largely useless for what i wanted it for. Still I suppose I should have known better - you pay peanuts...

 

Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220

Overall rating: 
 
5.0
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by P
April 18, 2011
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I've had one running hard for 3 months and just ordered another - Great Device!

 

Black Armor 220

Overall rating: 
 
4.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by JR
September 27, 2010
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Bought one this summer in a tech upgrade. Effortless to install and use. Does exactly what I wanted it to do.

One caveat: I upgraded WIN7/64 bit. The fairly slick backkup software only works with 32 bit OS. I use the windows backup softward (works fine but a touch slow) and FTP (works fantastically well) because I'm an old guy and familiar with this stuff.

Highly recommended as a home or small business personal cloud.