LG N2A2 NAS Review

by Ganesh T S on 7/18/2011 11:30 AM EST
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  • Chupathingy220 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I've been swinging back and forth between picking up a NAS like this one, or repurposing an old netbook I have lying about with some Linux server software and simply attaching drives to it via USB. Suggestions? Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I would just suggest picking up a copy of WHS (only $59 at NewEgg) and eityher using your old laptop or making a cheap server. I tried various solutions, such as a home-made NAS and Linux (Amahi). In the end, it's just so much nicer using Windows Home server. My only regret was wasting so much time with other solutions before getting WHS. Reply
  • Zan Lynx - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    You can get better performance with WHS (or Linux) and your own hardware. Gigabit jumbo frames, four or five fast hard drives, you should be able to get over 80 MB/s in sequential access.

    But you lose one of the bigger advantages these little NAS boxes have, which is low power consumption and quietness.
    Reply
  • name99 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Why limit yourself to WHS or Linux?

    You can use a Mac Mini (low power when it's on AND it can go to sleep, registering itself with an AirPort base station, to be woken as necessary.)

    OSX offers built-in striping, so hook up 3 USB drives and you can hit basically 100MB/s or so reads and writes.
    Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Maybe if WHS was installed on the Mac Mini. Reply
  • EddieBoy - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I'll second the comment about trying Windows Home Server. I have been using Version 1 for several years and it works great. Version 2 is getting good reviews although a few people were upset that it doesn't continue the use of Drive Extender. That didn't bother me too much as there are add-ons for DE if you really feel you need that functionality. The Newegg price for WHS is very tempting. I may have to grab a copy of Version 2 and upgrade my configuration. Reply
  • phu5ion - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    If you are going to re-purpose an existing system, use a Linux server OS. You don't want some pesky GUI eating CPU time like some other OS options. Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    The GUI is Windows XP based - very light. You use a console app to connect to it most of the time, anyways. The GUI comes in handy when you need it. A lot of us just don't know Linux all that well to attempt running it without a GUI. I also use WHS to share (sort of) a scanner. Reply
  • ShoePuke - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I too agree that for most of the people that read Anandtech, a DIY NAS will get you way more features for same or less money. I was pretty psyched about WHS until they removed data redundancy in the new version (I thought that was it's best feature!). Now I'm using unRAID and love it. My 14 TB unRAID box draws ~35w idle and ~80w peak. Really like being able to mix drive sizes w/o penalty while having parity. Reply
  • Rick83 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    just got a 20 euro more expensive buffalo 2-disk NAS, which allows proper hot swap, but it is insanely loud (for what it is).
    I'd expect these enclosures to be silent and the disks to be minimally intrusive, but this one will have to be hidden in an insulated cupboard..
    Reply
  • slick121 - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Sorry to hear that. Exactly the reason I will always build my own. Those small fans are way too loud. Reply
  • scott967a - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Would like to see some power tests in these home NAS reviews. Do these things have some sort of sleep mode? That's the main reason I can see for going this route vs just using some old hardware laying around. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    The power numbers are in the final section.

    ~21 W for full load
    ~14 W at idle

    There is also a configurable 'full sleep when no access' mode where it consumes less than 1 W. It is woken up on access over the network.
    Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I do have the N2R1 (actually I gifted a second one to my father since his previous ICYBox was a huge loud piece of crap). It is somewhat fast, silent, has a nice feature set also including the DVD or even BlueRay write and runs a modified Debian which allows for some nifty tricks like the use of rdiff-backup. I also do have other soft- and hardware RAID systems running.

    Doing software SATA RAID on an Intel based system /may/ be faster and allows using the very useful LVM but is far less stable due to funky link resets from which md sometimes won't recover, sucks far more power and is nowhere as easy to administer -- not that I'd care, but you get the idea...

    Iff I ever decide to do another Linux RAID it'll prolly have a 3Ware (or similar) Hardware RAID controller, again. Other than that I'd go for another LG NAS or some more expensive brand...e
    Reply
  • xrror - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    "The disks in the N2A2 can't be replaced by the user."

    Doesn't that somewhat undermine the usefulness of RAID 1 for an end-user?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Yes, it is inexcusable (as I have mentioned in the review).

    However, data recovery is possible by the end-user. (I have outlined the steps in the penultimate section)
    Reply
  • xrror - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I assume that the N2A2 will let you copy data from it with one disk degraded. When I read the article the first time, I (hopefully) mis-understood that you HAD to tear the unit apart to recover it. Re-reading it I see that it was more "just to see if it could be recovered" in the event of a board failure.

    I guess I can see from their point of view to simplify support - maybe they don't want to deal with HDD compatibility. But like you imply that didn't seem to be a problem for releasing the N2R1D. It does seem strange to need to RMA the entire unit for a bad disk.

    Then again, I'm assuming that's how they will handle HDD failures?

    Regardless, thanks for the article - especially the recovery tear down.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Yes, the unit was torn apart to test both failure scenarios at once.

    With HDD failures, the end-user can recover the data while in the degraded mode. For motherboard failures, I am not sure what LG will do in terms of data recovery (but the end-user can tear down and recover from the hard disk -- as covered in the data recovery section)

    I am not sure why LG decided to introduce this type of NAS into the market. As a networked hard disk, this makes more sense (but not as a NAS competitor to D-Link's and Netgear's offerings in the same price range).
    Reply
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    ... I'm also not sure what to do. or just continue to use my normal pc and setup intel raid.
    A NAS with decent perfromance figures, eg. one of the QNAP or synology types with an atom processor are about the same price here as a DIY NAS with a Core i3. Note that Core i3 is only like 40$ more than brazos/atom build. That includes Chenbro case (=expensive). This is were DIY fails because these "small server parts" are very expensive and I don't have space for a second "normal" pc case.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    If you have the cash to spare, I think the 'buy' option is the preferable solution (compared to the headaches that building your own system brings)

    Also, for most home usage scenarios, PCs are an overkill for NAS solutions. A simple hard disk serving content over the network with the help of an embedded NAS chipset (like the one from Marvell) will be much more power efficient and easy to manage.
    Reply
  • Visual - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    Stop wasting time with crap like this.
    If you mean to review NAS boxes, find some that are actually worth it, with space for 5 or 6 3.5" drives in RAID 5, preferably with hot-swap support, or just don't bother.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    Point noted. But, we also need to target home consumer solutions.

    The 5 / 6 drive RAID5 solutions you mention are targeted towards SMBs, and we do cover those too. By the way, we have two boxes which came in after this currently in the review queue (QNAP and Netgear), and I am just starting out with the benchmarking for those.
    Reply
  • dhiiir - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    I have been using Version 1 for several years and it works great. Version 2 is getting good reviews although a few people were upset that it doesn't continue the use of Drive Extender. That didn't bother me too much as there are add-ons for DE if you really feel you need that functionality. The Newegg price for WHS is very tempting.[[ w w w -( upsfashion )- c o m ]]I personally feel that the site is very good, there are many things we need, so I want to share with everyone. I believe you will like it. Reply
  • freez3 - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Hi @ll,

    first many thanks to AnandTech for the great testings on this NAS.
    It was very nice to see that you have also a deep lock at last single detail,
    data recovery when the main board breaks down.
    You have done a great job!

    Did some body has experience with the NFS shares on this LG NAS?

    I was a little bit surprised as I have seen this feature in the Web Interface,
    because of it was not tested here and it was also not in the feature list of LG and shop I've bought it

    After a quick test, the disillusion I've realized that NFS on N2A2DF2 is very slow only 2 MB/S writing,
    with a mirrored 2TB HDD drives.

    Perhaps one of my settings are wrong.

    Thanks for your help!

    Regards
    Freez3
    Reply

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