We recently returned from a whirlwind trip that had us visiting the majority of motherboard manufacturers, memory and storage suppliers, and a few interesting OEM/ODM manufacturers of personal computer and consumer electronic devices. We will be receiving some really interesting products over the course of the next month but already have several in the labs that are in the final phases of testing. We will follow up with full reviews of these products in the very near future but for now we feel like the performance and features offered makes them worth considering for purchase. Here's a quick look at our storage and media products today with a follow up shortly featuring memory, audio/video, and motherboard items.

External Storage Products:

Sans Digital


We stopped by Sans Digital to view their complete line of Mobile Silver products. While they have been marketing their AccuRAID (2U Rackmount), EliteStor (1U Rackmount), and EliteRAID (3U Rackmount) products into the business sector for some time, it is their MobileStor and MobileRAID products they are featuring for the home and small office user that we found to be very interesting.


The MobileStor Series MS2UT that we have been testing is a 2-bay external RAID solution primarily designed for personal video editing and data storage. The unit has proven to be very simple to use and offers an excellent software package along with all required interface cables. The MS2UT is equipped with two hotswappable 3.5" lockable drive trays with both USB 2.0 and eSATA host interfaces. The unit supports SATA 1.5Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s operation with full support for Hot Swap, RAID 0 or RAID 1, along with online data auto-rebuilding capability. The maximum drive capacity supported at this time is 750GB in each slot for a total of 1.5TB in storage capacity. Naturally, when larger SATA drives become available, the MS2UT should support those as well.

The unit is enclosed in a compact aluminum housing and features an LCD display panel. The LCD panel provides the status of the cooling fans, temperatures, and can be used to select the RAID mode or automatic backup scheduling. The two internal fans are temperature controlled and the unit offers full sensor capabilities for the hard disk drives. The power supply is rated at 70W and the entire unit was extremely quiet during operation with our Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 and Western Digital SE16 hard drives.

We found the unit offered excellent performance during testing and the enclosed RAIDGuide GUI software (Windows based) was easy to navigate. The MS2UT fully supports MAC operating system 10 and above, Linux Core 2.4 and above, and Windows ME/2000/XP/Server 2003 without the need for additional hardware level drivers. If you are using Microsoft Windows the unit will also support remote location support and monitoring via the enclosed RS232 cable (provided your PC has the required port).

Thecus

Although Thecus was founded in 2004, they have rapidly become a leader in the personal and small business storage sector. We currently have two of their products in our labs for review and in testing to date we have been very impressed with the features, performance, and versatility of the N2100 and N4100 storage devices.


Our first Thecus product review will feature the N4100 network storage appliance. This device is targeted to the Small Business, Small Office/Home Office, or computer enthusiast looking for a very affordable central data server. The N4100 features terabyte capacity via four drive bays, SATA 1.5Gb/s and 3Gb/s support, and RAID 0, 1, 5 operation. The unit also supports JBOD, Auto Rebuild, Hot Swap under RAID 1 or 5, and Hot Spare support under RAID 5.

The unit also features the Intel XScale 80219 processor, Intel 82541 Gigabit Ethernet controller, optional second 82541 controller or a wireless 802.11 b/g controller, 16MB of flash memory, LED based system status, and a 200W ATX power supply. Client support includes Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP, UNIX/Linux/BSD via CIFS, and Apple OS/X via AFP.

The enclosed Web-Based management software was intuitive and fairly simple to use during the unit configuration and ongoing system maintenance. With the latest 1.3.04 firmware the performance of the unit was excellent and we had no issues with the Hot Swap or Hot Spare capability in RAID 5 operation. User authentication support was very good with built-in user account capability for local users and full Windows 2003 Active Directory Support available for external users.

Internal Storage Products
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  • vailr - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    More info here:
    http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=196446">http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=196446
    Reply
  • Madellga - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    Hi Gary,
    Its good to see AT looking into hardware other than CPU/mobo/GPU. I miss also monitor reviews - Christopher used to write them.

    quote
    "abit is introducing the iDome DS500 speaker and iDome Sw510 subwoofer to the market later this summer"

    You mean summer 2007 or summer in southern hemisphere (december-march)?

    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?DEPA...">iDome link Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    I would assume they have already been released, since I've seen something very similar to that at newegg. Perhaps its been an article long in writing ? Reply
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - link

    Well, its good to know that someone is finally releasing a 1GbE external enclosure, for the "Pro-sumer". Maybe they exist, or maybe not, but if so, I've never seen one, but this is the first article I've seen mentioning one.

    I was just thinking about emailing you guys last night asking for a RAID controller review, but since you put up this article, I think I can ask my question here. DO you guys have plans for a semi soon (ish) Review on the latest RAID controllers? I for one am interested in the latest "scoop" on what is good, and what isn't. Although, I personally am only interrested in PCI-X, or mainly PCI-E cards.

    Anyhow, nice to know that the technology sector is still at work trying to dazzle the public, good article.
    Reply
  • Gholam - Sunday, November 26, 2006 - link

    There is really little point to putting GbE interfaces on these boxes, as their RAID performance is nonexisting. Intel has an entry-level 4-drive NAS box with dual GbE interfaces, but what is it good for when it averages 10MB/s transfer rates on a 4-drive RAID5 array? Reply

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