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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  • Jackyl - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    I would like to comment on the MS2UT that I recently purchased. It is a mixed bag of problems. I have two Maxtor 7200 Proline 500GB drives in it, in a RAID-1. Sometimes when I power up the unit, one of the drives "fails" and won't turn on. The MS2UT display says the drive failed on the front LCD. I have to power cycle the unit to get both drives online. And sometimes when I do this, then it goes into rebuild mode and takes two hours to rebuild the 500GB drives!

    Support from Sans Digital is non-existent, and there are no firmware updates for the MS2UT on their website.

    For the amount I paid, I expected better reliability. How can I be sure the rebuild process didn't mess something up? This unit will be returned to the store. The fans on the unit are also so small, they hardly keep the drives cool enough. The drives still get hot to the touch, and the internal enclosure temperature runs 40c-47c. Drive temperatures can NOT be monitored, only the enclosure temperature!
    Reply
  • gevorg - Saturday, November 25, 2006 - link

    "The subwoofer features a 6.5 inch Super Bass driver with DBX technology providing a very deep bass tone with very little distortion in our listening tests, with the result being extremely clear audio."

    Is this a joke? No 6.5" driver can provide "very deep bass tone" and "extremely clear audio". No matter how abit's marketing put it, its still an entry-level subwoofer for computer games.
    Reply
  • iwodo - Friday, November 24, 2006 - link

    Unless i am mistaken their product range all start with letter N. As confirmed by their web page. unless Anandtech know something we dont know about ( change in product numbering? ).

    I am looking forward to N2100 review. As the new firmware nearly double the performance of previous firmware. The one tested on tomsnetworking was done was old firmware which is rather slow.

    The N4200 has already shown itself on tomsnetworking to be extra fast. ( faster then Buffalo terrastation ).

    I hope the review could include other testing like temperature reading etc. I have had quite a few NAS with constant hang becoz the airflow inside is rubbish.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, November 24, 2006 - link

    Personally, I would be more interested in http://www.accusys.com.tw/eng/products_deskraid_77...">This Not sure what technology is uses to communicate with the host(its obvious it uses eSATA, but if no host drivers, or apps are needed . ..), but I've emailed them for detailed specs, speed, availibility (because I haven't been able to find it for sale yet), and we'll see what they have to say. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    quote:

    In our discussions with the majority of optical drive manufacturers, we can finally expect to see widespread adoption of the SATA interface by Q3 in 2007.


    Sweet baby jeebus, they're taking their damn sweet time.
    Reply
  • nullpointerus - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    They weren't making SATA optical drives because compatibility was nil. I was told by a knowledgeable support rep. that the SATA interface does not have a few of the standard media notifications that ATAPI supports - like disc insertion notification. But yeah, if the drive manufacturers had gotten together and set forth a standard set of SATA extensions years ago, it would have been working fine by now.

    Maybe Microsoft fixed something in Vista?
    Reply
  • peternelson - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link


    "widespread adoption of the SATA interface by Q3 in 2007."

    Crazy! They better get their act together quickly.

    I want the equivalent of a pioneer 111 writer and some bluray drive, both with sata instead of ide and I want them NOW!
    Reply
  • vailr - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    Dell has a Toshiba/Samsung SATA 16x DVD-RW drive. Combine with the Paypal $20 rebate and free shipping, for a final price of $30 + tax, shipped.
    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.a...">http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/prod...us&l...
    Reply
  • vailr - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    The LiteOn SHM-165S6S-11C is being sold by several online European vendors, such as:
    http://www.pcupgrade.co.uk/productdetails.asp?Prod...">http://www.pcupgrade.co.uk/productdetails.asp?Prod...
    Haven't found any willing to ship to the U.S. yet.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, November 23, 2006 - link

    There is only one problem however:


    Compatible Products
    This product is compatible with the following systems:
    Dimension C521
    Dimension E520
    Dimension E521
    XPS 710

    Does this mean the BIOS needs to be aware that this is a SATA opitcal drive, or what ? How about, is it possible to put this into a random PC, and have it be able to boot ? Inquiring minds want to know ;)
    Reply

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