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USB and HD Comparison

I also did IOzone runs using the Office's USB2 interface and the 80GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 ATA/133 drive in the IOzone test machine. In general, cached performance was comparable, but I thought the non-cached results were interesting.

XIMETA NetDisk Office: Comparison of non-cached Write performance - 1GByte file size

Figure 8: Comparison of non-cached Write performance - 1GByte file size
(click on the image for a larger view)

Figures 8 and 9 show fastest non-cached Write and Read speed is obtained using the Office's USB2 interface - beating out even the internal hard drive. The read testing, however, showed a significant drop in HD performance such that the Office NDAS mode was about comparable to the Maxtor drive.

XIMETA NetDisk Office: Comparison of non-cached Read performance - 1GByte file size

Figure 9: Comparison of non-cached Read performance - 1GByte file size
(click on the image for a larger view)

Keep in mind, though, that sharing the disk via NDAS mode can also incur a performance hit due to contention from multiple users. In all, however, I'd say you'll be happy with NetDisk's speed no matter which way you use it.

Closing Thoughts

It's good to see that XIMETA made good on its promise to extend NetDisk's support to Windows OSes other than XP and 2000 as well as MacOS and Linux users and to address the single-user write limitation. I was also pleased to finally be able to really test the NetDisk's performance and find it essentially equal to or better than a built-in hard drive.

But I was disappointed to see that only WinXP and 2000 users can have multiple-user-at-a-time write access and that this improvement is rescinded if any NetDisk users are running another of the supported OSes. I, of course, would like to see all the limitations on multi-user write eliminated. And while the engineers are at it, why not implement a user-adjustable idle sleep mode and thermostatically-controlled variable speed fan?

As far as whether - at a street price around $400 - the Office is a good value, I'd have to say "it depends". At the time of this review, you can get XIMETA's 250GB NetDrive sans 8 port switch for about $336 street, pick up your own 8 port 10/100 switch for about $40 and pocket the $20 or so difference.

On the other hand, a 250GB true NAS device - such as Linksys' EFG250 - will cost over twice as much (over $800). And if you lower your requirements to 120GB, a NAS product like Buffalo Tech's HD-H120LAN Linkstation can be had for around $275. But then again, a 120GB NetDrive beats that price by about $100.

It all boils down to whether you can live with NDAS' limitations. If you can, a NetDisk is probably the best deal available for getting networked storage without having to use a computer's shared drive. If you can't, then hang on awhile longer and wait for NAS prices to continue to fall. They'll probably never get as low as a similarly-sized NDAS product, but they'll probably get close enough to make you spend the extra money for NAS's unconditional sharing.

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