Review: Maxtor Shared Storage Drive

Introduction

Maxtor Shared Storage Drive
SummaryEthernet NAS similar to SimpleTech SimpleShare, but with fewer features. Also available in 200 GB capacity
UpdateNone
Pros• Solid performance
• Easy to use and set up
• Attractive case
Cons• Lacks backup software
• Lacks advanced features

I've looked at a number of Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances from several different manufacturers over the last few months. Some were from networking product companies, others were from computer peripheral companies, but the one type of manufacturer missing was a disk drive manufacturer. A NAS seems a natural fit for drive manufacturers, since they have an obvious incentive to popularize this type of device and they should know how to optimize performance. In this review, I'm going to look at one such device, Maxtor's Shared Storage (MSS).

The first thing you notice about the MSS is its size. The device is slender, and over 10 1/2 inches long - about 2 inches longer than other devices I've looked at. The body of the unit is stylishly constructed of heavy aluminum and can either sit horizontally on a desk, or vertically by slipping it into its black plastic stand. Even with the heavy aluminum case, the MSS opts to use a small fan to keep things cool.

The front panel sports a status LED and some small venting holes, while the rear has a single Ethernet port, power connector and two USB 2.0 ports. The ports enable the drive to connect and share two USB printers, two additional external hard drives, or one of each.

Maxtor markets two versions of the unit: one with a 200 GB drive; and one with a 300 GB drive. Both model drives spin at 7200 RPM, but the 200 GB version has 8 MB of cache and the 300 GB version has 16 MB. (For this review, I received the 300 GB version.) The only operating system Maxtor officially supports is Windows, but in reality, other operating systems such Mac OS X and Linux work fine since they can use the Windows SMB network storage protocol.