|At a Glance|
|Product||Western Digital NetCenter 500GB Network Drive (WDXE5000KS)|
|Summary||Single-drive NAS with basic feature set and uninspiring performance|
• MacOS and Windows support
• Relatively Inexpensive
|Cons||• Few advanced features
• Lackluster performance
There are plenty of Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices in the market these days. Consumers have found these products handy for backing up data and for sharing files on their home network. Networked drives are fairly cheap, easy to use and allow a good deal of flexibility. Many different companies sell NASes, but they seem a most natural fit for hard-drive manufacturers. I've previously reviewed a couple of NAS units from Maxtor, but in this review I'll take a look at an offering from another disk drive manufacturer: Western Digital's NetCenter.
The NetCenter is constructed with lightweight, two-tone gray plastic and comes in sizes ranging from 160-500 GB (WD sent the 500 GB version). The front of the unit, shown above, has a single lighted power button. The back of the unit, shown in Figure 1, has a 10/100 Ethernet connection, power connector, locking slot and two USB 2.0 ports that can be used either for additional disks or a printer.
One thing you won't see is a fan vent. The NetCenter doesn't use a fan for cooling, relying instead on passive cooling. This is a nice feature that will allow the unit to run silently unlike many of its competitors. However, in order for the cooling to work properly, the unit must be mounted vertically using the included stands.