Just in case anyone is looking for an NAS to use with their Live I thought I’d provide my two cents about my experiences with the D-Link 321. The biggest disclaimer: I’ve only had it in use for one day and I’ll update this thread as my experience continues. However, right now there is $20 off on this unit until Friday, April 30th, and I felt it was important to get this up in case anyone is considering something like this (it brings the cost of the unit down to $98, and is available from Amazon, Egg and Buy.com).
My setup: Two wired Live units, running to a Linksys router (old Linksys). The NAS is hardwired into the router (I also have a Linksys bridge switch to my router so that my PCs can also be wired – three PCs hardwired into it. The NAS would not work through the bridge but had to be directly connected to the router. although it might have been something wrong I did). I bought the D-Link 321 and two Seagate 1.5TB “regular” (not their green or high performance drives), for a total cost of $296 ($98 for the 321, and $99 for each of the Seagates).
I was looking for a low cost solution, and you can’t beat the price. The Western Digital 4TB World Book NAS is a more completely solution, but at $150 more (for one more TB) it isn’t particularly cost effective. And if one of those drives go down you’re hosed, whereas drive replacement in the 321 is a piece of cake.
It took mere minutes to setup the unit (no tools, you just slide the drives in) and then you run the included software to find the unit on your network (I did this from my Win 7 machine, but the software supports all the usual flavors of Windows and you can even do it via Linux or a Mac if you just bring up a browser, as the software is all browser based). Setup is pretty straightforward.
I first formatted the two drives as JBOD (Just a bunch of disks) because I wanted one big disc drive. I then tried the unit out and the Lives found it just fine, but playback on my worst case test file (which has bitrates of over 30mbps) was a *touch* erratic (not terrible, just one hiccup, but enough to worry me). I went back and reformatted as Raid 0 (still one big drive but now stripped) and it worked MUCH better, transfer rates were faster and playback more consistent.
The NAS works as an NAS should – even without any PC on the Live found it and logged into the net shares without a hitch. It even seemed faster than my PC shares access (could be because it’s Linux to Linux). Suddenly I have a 3TB slug of movie storage available all without turning on any PCs.
Now the bad – the fan on this unit is noisy. It’s not vaccum cleaner noisy, but it doesn’t appear to ever shut off. That might be because of the drives I am using (not “green” drives) but some folks on the D-Link forum have complained about it so I doubt whether I am atypical. However, it doesn’t stay on all the time (it will power down as the box is cooled) and I might be noticing it more since it’s about head height to me (I’m going to try relocating it to below my desk). It’s not a deal breaker and given the price of the box (currently $98 until Friday) I am not complaining.
I’m even thinking of buying another one although at the moment I don’t need more storage – it’s just too good a deal to pass up.
One last caveat: if you are thinking about this route, just remember that this is no substitute for backing up your data. Running in Raid 0 (or even JBOD) doubles your chances you will lose your data (since if one drive fails you lose everything). And ALL drives fail – it’s a question of when, not IF (which is why they even have a statistic such as MTBF). You always, always, always back up your data unless you don’t care about losing it (and since it took months to rip all my movies I really care about losing it. As it stands right now I have my data backed up three times, although as it grows in size I will reduce this to only twice).