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NAS Reviews

Introduction

LaCie Network Space 2

At a Glance
Product LaCie Network Space 2 (301515KUA)
Summary Single 1TB NAS with Gigabit Ethernet support.  USB support for printers, additional storage, or for direct attach to a computer
Pros • Simple Setup
• Built-in DLNA and iTunes server
• Supports Apple Time Machine backups
• Separate USB port for direct connection to computer
Cons • No Jumbo frame support
• Supports only Postscript-compatible printers
• Requires separate partitions for USB and NAS modes

If you're looking to add storage to your home office, you're often faced with a choice.  Should you buy a NAS device and add it to your network, or should you purchase an external USB drive and just plug it into a computer?  The LaCie Network Space 2 (NS2) eliminates the need to choose. 

It can operate either as a traditional NAS, or you can connect it to a host computer via a Type-B (square) USB port.  But you have to choose which mode, NAS or USB, to use— you can't connect to both interfaces simultaneously.  With a list price of $189.99 and a street price of about $160 for a 1TB device, it's almost like purchasing an external drive and getting a NAS thrown in for free (or vice versa).

From the outside, the NS2 looks virtually identical to its predecessor, the original (and notoriously poky) Network Space.  The device is housed in a black monolithic block (Figure 1) designed by industrial designer, Neil Poulton.  Measuring 4.6" x 7.6" x 1.8", the NS2 sits on four rubber feet that keep the device slightly off of your desk.  This promotes cooling, as well as allowing the downward-facing blue LED to reflect off of its supporting surface. 

Front and Rear panels of the LaCie Network Space 2

Figure 1: Front and Rear panels of the LaCie Network Space 2

The single LED is used to indicate status as shown in Table 1. The front panel has a single USB port used to connect a printer, external storage or a digital camera.  On the rear panel, you'll find a power switch, the power connector, 10/100/1000 Ethernet port (sorry, no jumbo frames) and the USB "Type B" port used to connect the device directly to a computer.  The NS2 is supplied with both Ethernet and USB cables.

LED Behavior

Indication

Off Drive is turned off
Blue: Fast blinking Drive is initializing
Blue: Static Drive is ready
Blue: Flickering Disk access
Red: Static Failure
Red/Blue: blinking Automatic backup in progress
Table 1: LED Status Modes

Though some people may like the case, it's not my favorite.  The plastic is formed in a highly polished mold, so the case has a very shiny, reflective surface that shows virtually every fingerprint and scratch.  Additionally, the case is not designed for user access.  In fact, we were unable to open the case to take our usual circuit board photos and to identify the components.  So you can count on not being able to replace a drive unless you are willing to damage the case.  But if you open the case during the two-year warranty period you'll void your warranty anyway.

Based on performance of similar single drive NAS products, however, we're guessing that the processor is most likely an 800 MHz Marvell "Kirkwood" processor. LaCie sort of confirmed this by responding to our query saying that the CPU was an "ARM926EJ-S". They also said the NS2 has 256 MB of RAM and the single drive is XFS formatted.

The NS2 operates silently, since there's no internal fan.  The processor seems to be thermally connected to the metal frame on the bottom of the case, as you'll discover if you pick it up after it has been running for a while.  That area of the case is quite warm (hot) to the touch. Power draw measured 10 - 12 W with the drive spun up.

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