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NAS Reviews

Introduction

At a Glance
Product Maxtor Shared Storage II (N01R010)
Summary High-performance dual drive RAID 1 NAS with gigabit Ethernet and multimedia serving
Pros • Top-rate performance
• Windows and Apple support
• Media serving capabilities
• RAID 1 support
Cons • No logging or alerts
• Failed RAID drives aren't designed for consumer replacement
• No Jumbo frame support


Maxtor Shared Storage II - 1 TB

When I reviewed Maxtor's Shared Storage last summer I found it to be a powerful, easy to use device. It was a little light on features compared to other Network Attached Storage products I had worked with, but it was still a well-designed device with solid performance. And it's evident that others found it a top-notch device as well. It was voted "best NAS product" last year by readers of TomsHardware.

Maxtor hasn't been content to rest on its laurels, however, and has added a second generation of the Shared Storage product to its lineup. While Maxtor didn't do anything unique in the new products' naming, they completely revamped the design with a resulting boost in performancde. In this review, I'll look at the Shared Storage II 1 TB (Terabyte) model, which is the only of the SSII line to sport RAID capabilities. The other SSII models have single 300 and 500 GB drives and all of the other SSII features that I'll describe.

The first thing I noticed when setting up the Shared Storage II (SSII) was its size. Since the SSII holds two internal drives, it is understandably roughly twice the width of the original Shared Storage. Along with the width change, the SSII also sported a different look. Instead of a long, sleek aluminum case, the SSII was shorter, with more of a chunky look in a plastic case with rubberized coating on the sides. The front of the box is vented with a row of LEDs and the back, shown in Figure 1, has two USB 2.0 ports, a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port, fan vent, power connector, recessed power button and locking slot.

SS II Back Panel

Figure 1: SS II Back Panel

Hooking the SSII up is as simple as connecting an Ethernet cable and a power cord. When I applied power, the front LED started blinking, so I thought it was immediately booting. But when I tried to locate it on my LAN, it was nowhere to be found. Only after a bit of head-scratching did I figure out that the active LED was just a LAN traffic indicator that blinked even when the device was off! To really bring the device up, you have to press the power button on the back panel. Oops!

When I finally got the device booting, I heard the fan spin up and noticed that it was a bit on the loud side. It was noisier than the original Shared Storage, but it wasn't nearly as noisy as a lot of other units I have tested. Once the device was booted, I turned to the installation software. Maxtor proves support for both Windows and Apple, so I started with my preferred system, a MacBook Pro.

Installation of the management software was fairly simple, but there was one unusual behavior. After installation was complete, I was required to reboot. When I tried the installation on my Windows machine, the same was true. I don't think I've ever seen this requirement when installing a NAS device. Once I rebooted and started up the management application, the SSII was found on my network, my web browser was spawned off and I was walked through some basic options such as setting up the network address, workgroup name, changing the default password, etc.

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