I just wanted to share my experience with the 4TB Sharespace. I bought one because I am currently using a 1TB Samsung external HDD connected to my main computer via eSata for movies. I received very good transfer speeds between 80-100MB/sec from the computer, but was sharing this with 6 other Windows 7 64 bit computers via Homegroup. I was able to set permissions on files and folders to restrict what the kids were watching. Everything was working fairly decent, except I had to occasionally restart my computer because I do a lot of “techie” things with it. This would cause everyone to have to get off the homegroup shares. I was also worried about the drive overheating because of always being on and used. I just recently upgraded my router to a gigabit Netgear WNDR3700 and upgraded the cabling to cat6 as well as the wireless cards to dual band 5ghz. I also use the 2.4ghz for my phones, Wii, DSis, and the Patriot Box Office (which also uses the share). So I was looking for a better way to share these movies.
Well, I ran across the Sharespace while shopping for a new HDTV at Dell. This thing promised to be the answer to all my issues. I read review after review on the Dell Web site praising this thing. It promised up to 1000Mb per second transfer speed and tons of storage with raid 5. I decided to order it.
I was pumped when my wife told me it had arrived. When I got home, I was amazed at the size of the box. After finally unpacking this thing, I read the quick start guide and hooked it up. Now I was ready to rock! Easy enough. I mean this thing was going to be AWESOME! Little did I know how much frustration lied ahead for me!
For starters, I inserted the install CD and to my surprise, there was NO TEXT on any of the buttons! I ejected it a few times and retried and restarted the computer. Still no text. So I tried to navigate through it to the best of my abilities by clicking plain black buttons. After a few frustrating attempts of canceling the install, I finally got to the main software still with blank buttons. Only these buttons did nothing! So, I Googled the problem and discover this is quite a common problem with Win7 64-bit. OK, so I go to the WD site and download new software. Not a problem, just quite shocked they would put something like that out. So I finally get it installed, then set it up.
In my haste to get moving on this thing (everyone is growing impatient unable to access their movies!), I copy 1 folder that was 187GB to the Public/Movies folder not realizing I couldn’t create shares for the Public folder. Oh boy, I couldn’t wait to see this baby fly! I was thinking… “man this should be at least 30-50MB/sec transfer, if not more”. So I paste the movies into the folder and soon realize that something isn’t right. I’m getting around 7-8MB/sec which was going to take all night to transfer this. So I waited a couple hours, still no improvement. I cancel the transfer and try again. No difference. I upgrade the firmware - no difference. I get into these forums and see that speed seems to be a real issue with this thing. I look everywhere on the internet and same thing with no resolution. I painstakingly go through every setting and even download the entire .pdf manual. Nothing makes a difference! By this time, I am really frustrated and want to go to bed. So I start the transfer again and go to bed.
The next morning, this “beast” is still chugging away around 7MB/sec. So I go to work. When I get home, it’s finally done! So, I immediately copy the next folder of 248GB and wait until the next morning. Hey, it’s done the following day at lunch time. I copy some pictures (17GB) which took way too long, then 30GB of music with the same results. Well, at least I have my stuff copied to it.
Now I want to set shares. Finally figure it out and realize I copied everything to the Public folder. No problem, I just created a new folder (after I went through you know what to figure out how to and to create folder permissions) and moved the folders around to where I want them on the drive. To my surprise, I was getting even SLOWER transfer speed of around 6MB/sec on moving the files on the same drive! No matter what I did!
OK, so now some folders are in place, let’s set up permissions. Guess what? There is no way to set up permissions of files or even sub-folders! So now I would have to create a ton of folders on the root of the drive instead of inside neat little “Movie” and “Music” folders. I search everywhere and no good answers on this. I am now fuming at the stupid box. So now I get on the Dell Web site to request a return on this darn thing.
The next day, I calm down a bit and decide to call WD tech support despite what everyone says in these forums. I’m thinking maybe we are all just missing something. So I calmly call and the first level of tech support might as well have been an operator. I calmly explain that I have three issues and just get to the first issue of sharing. Just the mention of sharing to her got me the “I have to elevate this to Level 2 tech support”. I told her can I at least bring up the other two issues of speed through the network and speed of moving files within itself. She still had no answers. So I wait a decent amount of time and actually get an American Level 2 support. He was fairly nice.
I ask him about the sharing after explaining what I was doing and what I want to do. He tells me there are no sub-folder or individual file permissions and to just copy things into users individual private shares. I tell him that I would be repeating data up to 6 times for every file and he says to just use Twonky and use public shares. No can do. This is performing even worse for viewing. Twonky was transferring at 128kbs to view the file. It took 3 minutes to open up a picture and over an hour to download a 700mb movie to a temp folder to watch. I later restarted the box and it took a few hours to even see all the files in Twonky again with much better, but still slow 8MB/sec transfer) Then I get to the speed and tell him I’m getting 7-8MB sec and he seems unfazed. He says it averages 10-15MB/sec so it’s not too far off. I tell him I am transferring wired to wired computer at 30+MB/sec on my network and 80-100 from the external drive to my hard drive so I am sure it’s nothing with my network, cabling, or other hardware. He says that the Sharespace is just a slow device. I tell him that is contrary to the advertising on their Web site.
I bring up the moving files speed and he says “that sounds about right”. I am floored. Finally, he says that this unit is designed to be just storage and they are VERY SLOW and might not be right for me. I told him I would be better off using a PC with tons of storage and sharing files and he agreed. I am astonished that he would be so candid about his own products. I asked if I changed to raid 0 if I would see an improvement and he said that the speeds I am seeing are about all I will see. I asked if there were any plans to fix this and he said there were not. After hanging up, I realized I made a huge mistake buying this product.
I am still waiting for a response from Dell. I am not going to pay their 15% restocking fee + taxes for a product that doesn’t even have the ability to live up to their advertising!! Hope this answers some questions many others may have and feel like I do.