|Ximeta NetDisk Office|
|Product||Ximeta NetDisk Office|
|Summary||External Hard Drive that can be LAN-connected via built-in 10/100 switch or directly via USB 2.0. Does not function as full NAS device.|
|Pros||• Supports both USB and Ethernet connection
• Relatively low price for network shared 250GB drive
• Supports Windows, MacOS, RedHat clients
• Good performance
|Cons||• Must run XP or 2000 for multi-user read-write
• Very noisy
I reviewed XIMETA's original NDAS product - the NetDisk - last fall when it was relatively early in its development. Since then, the company has introduced Mini and Office versions of the product, improved their Windows client app and added support for MacOS X and RedHat Linux 8 and 9.
I decided to take a second look at the product, this time choosing the Office version, which I hoped would have some interesting features to go along with its built-in 8 port 10/100 switch.
The Office comes in an enclosure that has the same VHS bulk tape eraser footprint but that's about a half inch (12mm) taller and 1.5 pounds (0.6 kg.) heavier. The 250GB capacity is currently the only model and uses a 7200RPM hard drive with 8MB buffer.
Figure 1 shows the available connectors which include Power, eight 10/100 Ethernet switch ports and a single USB 2.0 port. Each Ethernet port has status and activity LEDs built into the connector - handy for debugging connection problems. Also note that all ports are auto MDI / MDI-X, which means you don't have to worry about finding crossover cables when the time comes to uplink to another switch to expand ports.
Figure 1: The business end of the NetDisk Office
I had hoped that XIMETA had somehow worked some magic that eliminated the need to run the NetDisk Administrator application on computers that plugged directly into the Office's integrated 8 port 10/100 switch. But the switch is just a switch, providing no advantage other than saving some desktop space.
Changes from the original NetDisk are that the Ethernet / USB select dipswitches have been eliminated (I think this also may be the case on newer NetDisks). Instead, the Office senses how it's connected and acts accordingly. The separate Power and ACT lights have been replaced by a sexier circular indicator on the top of the enclosure that looks like giant power button. A green Power indicator glows steadily at the top of the circle and the rest lights up in a bright blue when the drive is accessed.
I'm happy to note that my two nits with the original design regarding the high insertion force power connector and ACT light have been solved. The connector now requires normal force and the blue disk activity indicator works no matter whether you're using the Office as a USB-attached external drive or NDAS Ethernet device.