User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Installation:
Ease of Use:
Pros:Brand name, gigabit network, huge drive, cool-running.
Cons:Slightly premium price, sealed case, embedded server software w/limited customization.
The Bottom Line: Not the cheapest, but very simple to use. Seems robust.
I was pleasantly surprised by this unit. I paid $199.99, at my local computer-only big-box store, Micro Center. My primary need is for network attached storage (NAS), so I haven't checked out the other features like remote internet file access, media streaming, FTP server duty, or downloading independently without slowing-down your computer.
Recommend this product?
It was very important to me that I not have to install software on my PCs to "see" my NAS drive. Although this unit comes with a "Discovery" tool to help you find the drive on a Windows machine, I didn't need it. I plugged in the device and attached it to my 16-port network switch. Using my elderly Dell Dimension 2400 desktop (Windows XP SP3), "My Network Places" quickly showed me the Seagate 110. I was able to immediately create a desktop shortcut to the drive, which still works a week later. The only other network hardware I have is the modem/router that came with my Verizon FIOS service. They're both in the basement, where I chose to put the Seagate 110 on a small wall shelf.
In other words, even on my rather old system, this was a virtually plug-and-play solution for my simple needs. When I did a Windows-ordered ("Copy To...") copying of a 2.4 Gig directory from my desktop to the Seagate, it took about 9 minutes. That was through a $64 ethernet switch with 100-Meg ports. I imagine it would be slower if the router were involved. I was pleased with that result.
For what it's worth, when I ask for the Windows "Properties" of the Seagate, the dialog box says "Windows NT 4.9 Server". Documentation indicates that the box is Gigabit-network capable, but I wasn't able to utilize or test that.
The unit comes with a backup program that you can optionally install from the CD-ROM. It seems to have five licenses. But I didn't use any. I have an older, shareware backup program called Cobian Backup 8, which works fine with the Seagate 110. I think I found it on the Mozilla website.
I don't have a large home business network, so I didn't have to alter anything about the default drive setup. But I did login (using the web browser interface described in the instructions) to change my administrator password. I could see the interface for adding users and assigning them their own backup spaces (size-limited or not, as you choose.) But I didn't try it out.
To be more specific, the drive comes with folders marked Backups, Our Music, Our Pictures, and Our Videos already on the drive. Since they are by default not size-limited, I just right-clicked on New Folder in the drop-down menu within Backups. I created folders marked P4 Desktop, Dell Laptop, and my wife's name. Then I told Cobian Backup on my Desktop to use the P4 Desktop folder in the Backup folder. The one backup that has run unattended so far worked flawlessly. Because I didn't select compression for the backup, I can click into any of the backed-up files from my PCs on the network. This sounds pretty simple-minded, but the interface for creating space for individual users did not look difficult.
The wall-wart provided runs pretty cool, which I hope will provide a long life. The plastic case, with rubber feet, seems to have a decent amount of convection-only ventilation holes. But because my basement is very cool, I don't want to promise you that the unit itself doesn't run warm. It seems very quiet. Even the hard-drive seeks make more of a "thunk" than the "clicks" I get from the steel drive cage on my Dell desktop. I chose to enable the spin-down timer to increase hard-drive life. But the parameters (like how often it will shut itself off) aren't apparent, even in the PDF instruction/documentation. For my needs, I don't care if there's a few-second delay the first time I use it each day, but I honestly can't say that I've noticed it yet.
Some small minuses: There are no visible fasteners on the stylish, black plastic case. I was hoping that I could replace the hard drive if it ever fails. But I'm not confident that's possible. Peeking through the ventilation holes, it looks like it contains a standard sheet-metal, full-size desktop hard-drive, with .75" ventilation space on all sides. There's a small "Quick-start" instruction folder, but the real documentation is PDF-file only, on the included CD-ROM in the box.
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Amount Paid (US$): 199.99
Driver Availability: Windows, Linux, and Mac