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NAS Reviews

The BlackArmor is four-bay diskful NAS aimed at small business users. It comes in an entry-level 420 model with two 1 TB drives and in three 440 versions with all four bays populated with 1, 1.5 or 2TB Seagate 3.5" hot-swappable SATA drives. Storage can be divided into up to four volumes, each of which can be optionally encrypted.

All models use the new Marvell "Kirkwood" 88F6281 NAS processor clocked at 1.2 GHz and have 256 MB of soldered-on-board RAM. Dual Marvell 88E1116Rs provide two Gigabit Ethernet ports that can be used separately, round-robin aggregated or arranged in failover mode. Jumbo frames are not supported.

Four USB 2.0 ports can be used for USB flash and hard drives for expansion or backup, print serving and UPS shutdown synchronization.

Power consumption is 45 W with four Seagate 7200.11 Barracuda 1TB drives. Fan and drive noise are low, meaning the NAS is barely audible in a quiet room. There are no power-save features.

CIFS/SMB and NFS network file systems are supported, and files can also be accessed via FTP. HTTPS is supported for admin access.

Media features include iTunes and UPnP AV / DLNA servers and there is a download manager for HTTP and FTP but not BitTorrent files.

Built-in backup features include USB to NAS, NAS to USB and NAS to NAS with immediate and scheduled modes. Ten licenses for Seagate BlackArmor Backup are bundled for Windows client backup, including "bare metal" restore.

RAID 5 write performance with a Gigabit LAN connection averaged 22.3 MB/s for file sizes between 32 MB and 4 GB, with cached behavior not included in the average calculation. Read performance was higher, measuring 35.3 MB/s with the same conditions. File copy performance using a Vista SP1 client under the same conditions (RAID 5, Gigabit LAN) measured 20.2 MB/s for write and 50.4 MB/s for read.

A full review is coming soon. In the meantime, use the NAS Charts to further explore the BlackArmor's performance.

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