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  • Navvie - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    I am amazed that a torrent client is included in the Lenovo machine. I wonder how many customers will put that to honest, law abiding use?

    Although RAID6 has a big impact on capacity when dealing with four drives, I'd really like to see those numbers. I would be disappointed not to see those numbers at 5+ drives.
  • Beany2013 - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    I've found the torrent client pretty useful on my Syno DS214+ - if I find I need to download an ISO for a VM appliance or distro from work, I can dial into my NAS at home, and tell it to kick off the download while I'm out at work.

    Yes, you can use it for nefarious purposes, but that's down to the user - I could use a car to mow down some grannies at a bus stop or ram-raid a convenience store, but that doesn't mean we should ban cars.

    (my word, that as an atrocious analogy. I shall flagellate myself later as punishment)

    Also, nice to see that The Registers quick review a few weeks ago wasn't wrong about the performance of that WD unit, it's bloody pathetic.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Torrents are not intrinsically illegal. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Why would you use RAID6 with 4 disks? Why not just RAID 10? RAID 6 only makes sense to me once you go to 5 and more. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link


    A) It's provided as a feature check.
    B) Leaving it in reduces the number of changes vs a baseline firmware that is also used for larger models.
    C) If the enclosure supports a way to add external drives to an array. (doubtful)

    I'm guessing a combination of A and B.
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    1 and 2 only answer the question of "why should they have it" not "why would you use it". :) Reply
  • PEJUman - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    R6 can tolerate 2 any disks failure.
    R10 can tolerate 1 disk failure, maybe 2 (if both disks from the same stripe failed, you're hosed). I tend to think R10 as a higher performing R1, not a dual disk failure redundancy.

    Nonetheless, I agree that the R6 usability on a 4 disks array is quite dubious.
  • Navvie - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    RAID6 would allow any two drives to fail without a loss of data. RAID10 also allows two drive failures, but only if those two drives don't mirror each other. Drives are more likely to fail while reconstructing a failed drive. In a RAID10 setup the failed drive is being rebuilt from data on just one drive, if that drive also fails? Bye bye data.

    RAID1, RAID10 offers no better reliability than RAID1.
    RAID6 has something like 8-10x the reliability of RAID1, and 100x of RAID5.

    Adding RAID6 numbers to reviews as this would allow devices with 4 bays and up to be tested consistently - assuming the firmware supported RAID6.
  • powerwiz - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    Generally any NAS comes with a bit-torrent client. Lacies do I know for certain as I have a Lacie NAS. Works well to.

    Torrents if you do not know were created by University researchers to distribute large amounts of data fast. What you use it for is up to you. Take the internet..the biggest money maker is still porn. You can get a college degree via the internet but it seems worldwide its main use is porn. All up to the user.
  • vanel86 - Monday, March 03, 2014 - link

    The torrent client within lifelines tends to corrupts downloads if the torrent relies on DHT(if it relies on DHT only it won't even start). When i download files out of it (linuxes iso what the hell are you thinking :P) i need to run those files out of utorrent to check if they are fine or not(most cases require a 1% redownload each time) Reply
  • Sorwis - Monday, March 03, 2014 - link

    Torrent clients are included in many NAS/home servers. I think every single Buffalo model has it and it's wonderful. Nothing wrong with torrents even though they are widely used to obtain copyrighted material. Reply
  • Zepid - Sunday, March 09, 2014 - link

    The 10 ten downloaded torrents last year were all legal, fyi. Reply
  • hoboville - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Using SSH on the Lenovo unit voids the warranty? Of all the... Reply
  • nubian1 - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    I find reviews of NAS appliances very interesting. For the most part the majority of the available "Consumer Level" devices solidify my opinion that it's is better to build your own then to purchase a prepackaged device. Naturally this depends on the users tech level but honestly it isn't all that hard. Both on a performance and financial level, rolling your own more often than not will lead to better results. Rolling your own hardware combined with a great piece of software like FreeNAS, which btw is very extensible with plugins if needed, and you are off to the races at a cash outlay that will often be less than competing prepackaged devices and if the hardware is chosen correctly, better performance. Reply
  • demonbug - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    18-20 watts at idle seems pretty high for what looks like pretty low-powered solutions; that's only a few watts less than the 6-bay Xeon-based NAS from Netgear you reviewed a while back. Considering that in a home environment it is going to be spending 99% of the time idle, it seems like keeping the idle power use down would be very important. That said, I'm not too familiar with NAS products - do they keep the disks spinning at idle? Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    The reported idle power is with 4 hard drives not fully spun down inside the NAS. The RN716 was idling with SSDs :) Reply
  • demonbug - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Ah, makes sense. Thanks for the reply. Reply
  • jardows2 - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    This review makes me want to go price out building my own NAS. I do have a question though; What is the benefit of multiple NICs for a home NAS server? Link aggregation requires a special switch, and I cannot think that in a home/soho environment, network segregation would be needed. Failover redundancy could be a benefit, but I can't think of anything else. Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Link-aggregation enabled switches can be had for less than $100 [ like this one : ]

    Multiple NICs can be useful if you are running a server backing up data from multiple machines in the household (I know of many who backup the PCs in their household everyday at 3 AM -- so that is all simultaneous traffic).
  • MTN Ranger - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    How do these two NASs compare to a popular and similarly priced model like the Synology DS413j? For that matter, how about a review of the DS413j? Reply
  • OoKiE69 - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Having owned a LenovoEMC ix4-300d for two months before returning it, I am surprised to see that your review does not mention the intermittent slow downs experienced. Or flagging perfectly good disks as failed. Or the random dropping of all your data on a RAID 10 configuration. This really annoying considering it takes over a day to establish the raid 10 on 4 x 3TB drives. None of these faults even generate a single email alert. Yes the email alerting was configured and tested.

    Despite claiming Full Windows 8 compatibility, it's not. None of the shares can be added to a library without a bit of fudging under the hood. Even with the fudging done it doesn't work with any of the Modern UI applications.

    Fortunately a HP Micro Server and a license for Home Server 2011 all for just a little bit more money seems function with the same hard drives in RAID 10 without a single issue and fast. In short I found LenovoEMC ix4-300d NAS to be just really bad.
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    What was the firmware version you used before sending back the unit ? I had lots of trouble with 3.x and even the first 4.x version (documented with links tot he support forums in the article under the ix4-300d: Springing Surprises sub-section). However, with the November firmware release, things have improved quite a bit. Still not trusting the NAS with any essential data, though. Reply
  • crazysurfanz - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Quote: Still not trusting the NAS with any essential data, though.

    Really isn't much more that needs to be said about it then is there.
  • Bob Todd - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    If you don't mind rolling your own and want a small footprint, those almost-always-on-sale at Newegg HP micro servers and something like WHS are indeed a very good option (with RAID or even something like DriveBender/SnapRAID). Reply
  • blaktron - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Hey, great article. I wonder, on either of these units can you configure the NICs independently? Do they have VLAN support?

    I have a storage VLAN and prod VLAN at home, and without the ability to attach one NIC to each VLAN for separate purposes then I'm still locked out of the home NAS market :(
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Not sure what extent of VLAN support you want, but if you want the NICs to be in separate subnets - yes, that is possible. Reply
  • muratai - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Can anybody explain me why 2ghz cpu WD nas performs far worse than Synology DS413J with same model but 1.6 ghz cpu? Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    As I explained in the teardown and component analysis, there is a bottleneck in the way the drives are connected to the SoC. Out of two PCIe lanes, one is dedicated to the USB 3.0 to PCIe bridge (Etron EJ168A) leaving only one PCIe lane for the 4x SATA to PCIe bridge (the only link through which the four drives can talk to the SoC). Ideally, a 4x SATA should be connected through four PCIe 2.0 lanes for good performance.

    I can't comment / analyze the performance of the 413J unless I take a look at the components on the board.
  • Uwanna - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    So, I still do not understand why I would choose a NAS that has a proprietary SATA controller and software over an Intel ICHR 5- 24. If these units fail which you review there are no alternatives offered to replace these units with anything which can replace the reviewed units.
    If I at least "build my own" BYO, then I at least have the option to upgrade the entire BYO NAS with the equivalent Intel ICHR chipset or a more current offering.
  • ganeshts - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    Neither of these units use hardware RAID.

    If the unit fails, take the drives out, image them and access the data using a Linux system or, if on Windows, something like UFS Explorer. [ Check the last paragraph / gallery here: ]
  • Icehawk - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    Raid 5? Why bother - the point of these cheap and slow devices IMO is for simple raid mirroring. I have an old WD 2 device job and it is slow as molasses but I don't really care as it is used as an archive dump to hold stuff I'd hate to lose. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    Accurate review from what I saw, I have the 2-bay version of the Lenovo/iomega NAS and the WD MyCloud EX4 as well. The hardware, mainly the single core CPU in the WD definitely hold it back especially with multi-client accesses, but I think the key feature that I did not see mentioned at all is the MyCloud's excellent cloud functionality. It also has a very easy to use smartphone app that allows you to access the NAS contents securely from anywhere with just a single sign-on username, no need for IPs or hostnames, port-forwarding, SSH or anything else that would scare off the average home user.

    The Iomega units are solid for their price, but they definitely aren't as fast as the Qnap or Synology units of the world, but the Iomegas can be had for a fraction of the price. Good entry-level home NAS units for those that have extra HDDs lying around and want to provide centralized network storage.
  • Frolictoo - Sunday, March 02, 2014 - link

    I still can't believe that vendors use SATA II connectors when most new NAS drives come in the SATA III flavor. If legacy reasoning is the case then why not add both options; SATA III is backwards compatible with SATA II. I have just built a new NAS using all WD RED drives on a RAID 10 array and I am truly satisfied with the impressive performance gain over the older SATA II counterparts. Reply
  • M/2 - Sunday, March 02, 2014 - link

    I've never understood consumer grade NAS drives. They're slow and problematic. Why not just set up a 4-bay RAID attached to a small computer and get RAID5 speeds over the network? I've got a 4-bay, USB3, RAID5 box (~$250 plus the cost of the drives) connected to a MacMini. Even on USB3, I get 250 Mb/s read/writes, Voila! 6X faster than NAS!

    Assuming you're using the Mini for other things than just network storage, the cost is about the same. There's also a dozen or so little MicroPC's with USB3 for ~$300-400 that you can do the same thing with if you're doing Windows. I love the MacMini because I can do everything I need over Remote Desktop, I never have to touch the Mini. You can put it in any dark corner and do everything remotely. Mine is in the very back of the entertainment center, it's just one more HDMI input on the AV receiver. If I need a big screen (iTunes, photos, movies) it's always there. Otherwise, it's there for remote clients including, laptops and AppleTV's. Try playing music or movies from a NAS drive! Yes you can do it, but it's not plug and play. This isn't intended to be an advert for Mac's, I just like my setup. You can do the same thing with a MicroPC.

    What am I missing? Be nice, I'm not an IT guy.
  • chizow - Monday, March 03, 2014 - link

    2 main reasons I can think of that prevented me from going this route:

    1) Power consumption: if you have something that you could repurpose for a NAS server, it's probably going to be old and power hungry. No way I would want one of my old X58 rigs powered 24/7 just to file server on my network. The WD MyCloud EX4 for example uses only ~15W idle and 30W under load. Huge difference.

    2) Price: There are definitely low-power options available now, even something like a NUC connected over USB 3.0 wouldn't be a terrible option, or a mini-ITX box. But then you are talking real money, and that's before you take the drives into account.

    Consumer-grade NAS boxes are often good enough, especially if you aren't asking a whole lot of them. I use mine to access shared DVRed shows from multiple PC clients wirelessly over the network as well as backing up data on my client machines, tablets, smartphones and it works well enough, provided I don't ask too much of it at once.
  • M/2 - Monday, March 03, 2014 - link

    re: Power consumption... You got my curiosity going, a Mac Mini consumes 11W in idle mode (configured for wake on LAN). Mine has SSD's (RAID0 :) ), so it starts quick. I'm using a Dyconn Quartz4 which sleeps, there's no spec, but I'm assuming sleep mode must low, 4-5W? at most it's the same as a NAS.... so not much difference (at least to me)

    Re: NUC --- that's the cheaper option, except for one thing, it's Windows which is a pain in the *ss to manage ( for home use anyway, IMO, I made the switch about 5 yrs ago, never looked back) --- Regardless... I'm assuming the Mini is $0 added cost since I use it for other stuff besides network storage.
  • RAYBOYD44 - Monday, March 03, 2014 - link

    John . even though Eleanor `s remark is super, last week I got BMW M3 after having made $6301 this last 5 weeks and over 10-k lass-month . this is certainly the best-work I have ever had . I actually started nine months/ago and straight away made myself over $70, p/h . s Reply
  • vanel86 - Monday, March 03, 2014 - link

    Since i owned a ix2-200d and a ix4-200d(free swap after my ix2 gave up and failed its own disks) i can attest you should run when offered the chance to get a lifeline -based device. If you activate the idle spin-off there is a very real chance the disk will be marked as dead by mdadm and since the disks die like flies in those due to the asthmatic fan(which spin on only if you get catastrophic temperatures) you are risking data daily if you use any powersaving option. The CIFS, NFS and AFS are very unoptimized, you can get unironically faster performance if you create a iscsi storage partition(which is the sole reediming feature of the former emc owned iomegas ixes, full vmware certification) and run a freenas within the storage area Reply

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