Review: Four NAS Machines

LaCie 2big Network 2 TB

Software

The interface used to configure this NAS system is very simple, but rather limited. It's very clear and setting things up doesn't take long, but it's not long before you reach the system's limits.

The LaCie 2Big Network is a NAS server with two hard drives.  It comes in four different versions, with capacities of 1, 2, 3 or 4 TB.  It has more options than the LaCie Network Space, but that's still not enough to rival the big names in this field.  It's mainly aimed at people who wanted a shared storage solution, and doesn't offer much else.

As usual, LaCie has produced an enclosure that's impeccably crafted, with the whole thing ia finished in aluminum to improve the efficiency of heat dissipation.  There's a large round button at the front that automatically backs up USB peripherals.  

File sharing and other features

The 2Big Network supports three different network protocols: SMB/CIFS (Windows), AFP (Mac) and NFS (Linux).  You can also access your files remotely using an FTP client or via a browser, where you can also encrypt your data and send it over a secure HTTPS connection.

Some rather slow speeds

This is a NAS system that's beginning to show its age, and that can be seen when you examine its data transfer rates.  Over USB, the speeds are disastrous.  On average, the 2Big Network managed 3.0 and 3.1 MB/sec. respectively for writing and reading from our external hard drive.

When we used a Windows network, the data transfer rates showed how far behind LaCie is lagging when compared to companies like Qnap and Synology.  We measured speed of 6.4 and 9.6 MB/sec. for writing and reading in RAID 1 and then 7 and 9.5 MB/sec. in RAID 0.

As you can see in the graph above, the speeds are a little better over FTP, but the Synology model is still a long way ahead--three times faster on average.


Noise and energy consumption

Unlike its big brother, the 2Big Network is a long way from being the quietest NAS system we've ever heard.  According to LaCie, the enclosure is designed with reducing heat in mind, which is why it includes a 40 mm fan.  Unfortunately it's loud and not powerful enough to keep the two Hitachi Deskstar 1 TB drives that are turning at 7200 rpm cool.  We measured temperatures of up to 50° C on both drives. 

LaCie 2big Network 2 TB
ProsCons
  • Stylish design and aluminum finish
  • Simple interface
  • Loud
  • Slow
  • Only 2 USB ports
  • A minimum of extra features

The LaCie 2big Network 2 TB is an older model and that became obvious when we tested it. It's just not fast enough, and it doesn't have very many extra features, either. Its only strength is the amount of effort that has gone into designing it.

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  • malici0usc0de
    One of the things I would like to see in a NAS before I actually purchase one is hardware encryption of some sort. It would be nice to know if the unit were stolen that the data on it couldn't be accessed without proper credentials of some sort. For this very reason I still choose to run my storage from a real PC is so I can fully encrypt all the drives.
  • SuckRaven
    Ignoring price for the moment, I would love to see these, or some other future NAS boxes assessed in a RAID 0+1 configuration, where u get the benefits of both striping, and redundancy. Four 1TB drives though, only to end up with 1/2 the total storage of 2TB is a b*tch though, I know... =)
  • d_kuhn
    There are 4-6 drive NAS enclosures out there relatively affordable.

    Do yourself a favor - if you're interested in Network Storage, DON'T get a 2 Drive appliance. Get a larger unit and populated it as funds allow. Something like the Intel ss4200-e ($160-$200), 4 drives.
  • awaken688
    Good article. Obviously these commercial solutions are nice. For pure interest sake, I'd love to see a NAS DIY build thrown in to see performance and usability comparisons. A lot of us have spare stuff around to build one minus the hard drives. Thanks for the review though.
  • wildwell
    ^^ Yeah, a DIY description or follow-up article would be cool!
  • smokinu
    just do a google search on NAS DYI review and you will find several sites dedicated to NAS reviews and comparisons. There are so many ways out there to build one depending on which OS you plan on using.
  • g00ey
    Why not build your own NAS from a cheap computer using OpenSolaris and ZFS? That's what I would do if I need to extend my storage capacity. ZFS also offers features that are way more reliable than what RAID can offer.
  • I was disappointed not to see my ReadyNAS Duo in the line-up; I think it easily matches the features, it has an active community producnig "add-ons" e.g. in development is a feature for ip security cameras, there's one to stream music over the net, there's an itunes server, at least 3 torrent clients, plenty of local media streaming, as well as normal stuff like storage, RAID, UPS support, backup management
  • What the hell is this reviewer talking about. I just purchased the Lacie NS2 - i have a constant transfer rate of 11 MB/s over my LAN using a Dlink Dir-635 router standard G.
  • This review is just plain wrong. I recieved my Lacie NS2 a few days ago, and the speed is fine.
    I use mine on a gigabit lan, and my speed is around 30 MB/s read, and 20 MB/s write on a normal explorer transfer.
  • msi911
    My sentiments exactly. This is a link to a danish review but you can see the transfer speeds under "Benchmark": http://www.laptopworld.dk/Anmeldelser/Tilbehoer/2869-lacie-network-space-2.html?start=4
  • There is a huge difference between the NetworkSpace 2 and NetworkSpace Generation 1. The first/older model has a ridiculous transfer rate. I can confirm the 4 MB/s measured here.