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We also got a little closer look at the upcoming SC101 Storage Central that will mark NETGEAR's re-entry into the networked storage market. It will ship "naked" with two empty 3 1/2 inch IDE hard-drive slots and the drives can be set for RAID-0 striping or RAID-1 mirroring.

One detail we hadn't realized is that the SC101 is not a true NAS, instead requiring an application to be loaded on each client. This makes it more similar to Ximeta's NetDisk NDAS - which also requires clients to run an application to access networked shares - than to a true NAS, which typically requires only that clients support usually SMB / CIFS over TCP/IP.

But while the NetDisk has clients for Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP/2003 and Mac OS X 10.0 - 10.3 (as well as "Beta" clients for Windows Pocket CE, and Linux), the SC101 will ship with a client that runs only on Windows XP and 2000.

NETGEAR's SC101 Storage Central

NETGEAR's SC101 Storage Central

Another discovery is that the SC101's Ethernet connection will be 10/100 instead of 10/100/1000. This is especially interesting given base-technology provider Zetera's emphasis on high performance. But in fairness to NETGEAR, if the SC101 delivers on Zetera's promise of "line-speed" performance even at 100Mbps, that will be a 2-4X improvement over most current low-end NAS products.

Bell Micro's upcoming NAS device

Bell Micro's upcoming NAS device

At the Intel Booth, Bell Micro showed off a protoype of their Hammer series NAS device. This compact box has four SATA slots and automatically does RAID5 if you populate all the slots and RAID0 if you pop in only two drives. The box is powered with an Intel 624Mhz XScale processor and has a Gigabit Ethernet port is on the back, with a two port version coming out later.

Steve Soto, software developer, said that the unit has been tested to show 60 simulataneous video streams with no dropped frames. In addition, Soto says, "This box will automatically grab an IP, create a public share, create a guest user account, and because it's UPnP aware, will be instantly available to the network users."

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