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Review: Iomega StorCenter Network Storage Drive

Introduction

Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive
SummaryNAS with built-in UPnP media server and gigabit Ethernet port with decent performance.
UpdateNone
Pros• Windows, MacOS, Linux supported
• Gigabit Ethernet
• USB printserver
• UPnP AV server
Cons• Noisy fan
• Only slight speed boost from gigabit Ethernet

I've made extensive use of Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices on my network, but I've always had the feeling they were only up to light duty applications. Transferring or backing up gigabytes of data is painful on a 100 Mbits/s network, so when I need to do mass transfers, I've always directly hooked up a USB 2.0 or Firewire drive, both of which are rated in the neighborhood of 50 MBytes/s.

I thought that maybe, with the advent of 1000 Mbits/s (gigabit) networks, I could leave my storage down in the basement where it belongs, even when I'm doing heavy-duty transfers. In this review, I'll try out the Iomega StorCenter, a NAS device with support for gigabit networks. As a bonus, it also includes a network print server and a UPnP media server. The StorCenter comes in either 250 GB or 160 GB models. For this review, I'll be using the 250 GB model.

Design And Construction

The StorCenter is constructed of black plastic with rounded corners, and is only slightly larger than the 3.5 inch drive it contains. The front of the box is plain, with only a logo. The rear has two USB ports, a power connector, an on/off button and a network connection (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: StorCenter rear panel

As small as it is, heat is a concern, so an internal fan is used. Venting for the fan appears on the sides of the case, which means it has to be mounted on its base. Interestingly enough, the single LED used to indicate power status is also on the side, instead of on the front where you'd find it on most units.