Iomega is known as a supplier of desktop storage products, most famously for its Zip drive technology in the 1990s. Today, the company is now the consumer-facing division of enterprise-storage heavyweight EMC after it bought Iomega four years ago.

The Iomega StorCenter pX6-300d is billed as a server-class NAS drive for business, and is advertised as being fitted  with enterprise hard drives. Read more storage reviews.

In the sample we tested, six 1TB Hitachi disks were installed, for an inclusive price of around £1300. Iomega sells the unit with up to six 3TB disks, giving 18TB of unformatted storage. You can also buy the Iomega StorCenter pX6-300d as a diskless chassis for around £550.

Disks are stacked horizontally through the unit’s front, with a perforated plastic hinged door to cover the drive bays. The Iomega StorCenter px6-300d NAS can be configured in RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 or 10 or JBOD (just a bunch of disks) modes, with the option for a hot spare to maintain operation if one disk fails.

Iomega StorCenter px6-300d: Hardware Features

A large LCD and two push butttons provide basic information about the state of the drive – used and free storage capacity, IP address and the current time and date. One USB 3.0 port also faces the front on this panel. 

At the back of the Iomega StorCenter px6-300d are two 80mm fans to draw air in across the disks. Two gigabit ethernet ports are available, which can be configured for load balancing and dual-link aggregation (802.3ad) as well as failover.

Two more USB ports feature here too, but only to USB 2.0 standard. Rather than additional storage, a more likely use of one of these ports would be for an UPS unit, which can instigate a controlled shutdown after mains power loss.

What looks very much like a PCI expansion slot is also on the rear panel of the Iomega StorCenter px6-300d, but we couldn't find any documentation to describe its purpose.

Powering the Iomega StorCenter px6-300d is a dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Atom processor, with a generous 2GB of memory. Despite the large case, this unit cannot find room for an internal power supply. A large 120W external power brick is included, and you must take care that its DC plug doesn't slip out the back of the case when the unit is powered up.

Overall construction is to a high standard, a mix of metal chassis with plastic fascia and door. 

Initially supplied with 2TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 (HDS723020BLA642) consumer disks, these were replaced with 1TB Hitachi Ultrastar A7K3000 (HUA722010CLA330) enterprise disks by Iomega UK before testing started.

Iomega StorCenter px6-300d: Software Features

As a business-certified NAS drive, the Iomega carries certification for an array of virtualisation solutions such as Citrix XenServer, VMware vSphere as well as Microsoft Windows Server. 

As with many SMB-level NAS drives, you can also configure the unit for video surveillance camera recordings. Here up to 10 cameras can be connected. Iomega directly supports cameras from Axis, Bosch and Panasonic, with other brands possible after manual configuration.

Iomega NAS interface

Iomega's NAS admin interface starts as a highly graphical affair

The Iomega StorCenter admin interface is simple to navigate, featuring a strong graphical theme from which it’s straightforward to set up the NAS manually.

Extra consumer-friendly features include active share folders, for example, a Facebook share. Drop photos into this and they automatically get uploaded to your Facebook account.

Iomega StorCenter px6-300d: Performance

The dual-core Atom processor at the heart of the Iomega allowed the unit relatively speedy file transfers, if just below the performance champions we've tested recently.

As with most NAS drives, read speeds for files above around 1MB in size are constrained more by the gigabit interface than the NAS drive or its disks: we saw sequential read speeds exceed 110MBps for 6MB and greater data sizes. 

Write speeds were good, managing 16.5MBps for 1MB data, rising to 48MBps for 10MB, and peaking at 56.5MBps with the largest 100MB data.

Power consumption was commensurately higher, from spinning six rather than four disks and by employing a dual-core Intel processor rather than ARM.

In idle mode with disks powered down, the Iomega StorCenter px6-300d consumed 22W. This figure peaked at 50W when the NAS was under benchmark load.

NEXT PAGE: Original PCWorld review >>

The Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d is a fast, fairly well-designed six-bay NAS box sporting many of the advanced features in network-attached storage that have emerged over the past several years. It's a tad unusual in that it mixes IT-type features such as management via the unit's LCD display with consumer-oriented perks such as support for social media sites Facebook and Flickr. And it's not cheap: it costs £3,465.72 when packed with 16TB of drives, £2,778.48 for 12TB, £1,752.84 for 6TB, £983.64 for 2TB and £665.76 without any disks at all.

Flip open the front cover of the Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d, and you'll find six slide-out drive trays. You secure the drives in the trays via screws, so they fall under the heading of user-serviceable, not quick-change. The back of the box has dual ethernet connectors with failover support in case one connection fails, but the ports don't support aggregation for more speed. Iomega includes two USB 3.0 ports, but no eSATA, which is unusual in a box of this price. The omission of eSATA may be an issue for buyers who want to use existing eSATA drives to back up the NAS box. See also: Group test: what's the best NAS device?

The Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d's Linux-based LifeLine operating system is one of the few that comes close to matching the breadth of features available from the top-of-the-line NAS boxes from Synology and QNAP. It has an attractive design, provides animations to complement the configuration tools, and is easy to navigate. Features include DLNA-certified media serving, local backup, online backup to both Amazon S3 and Mozy, support for Time Machine and iSCSI, and onboard copy operations.

The Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d box also supports video surveillance - both local and over the Internet via the Axis Video Hosting service. In addition to handling backup, Iomega provides a Personal Cloud service that lets you share files easily across the Web. It uses Iomega's servers as a portal, but you can also access the box via normal ftp and http, which makes this a convenient feature.

With its latest firmware revisions, the Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d, which sports a whopping 2GB of memory and a 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525 dual-core CPU, has significantly improved its performance. In RAID 5 mode, the box wrote our 10GB of mixed data and folders at 48.2 megabytes per second, and read the same file mix at 55.9 MBps. With a single large 10GB file, it wrote at 77.1 MBps and read at a very respectable 91 MBps. Those numbers are two to three times better than the ones we saw with last year's firmware, so if you already own a PX6-300d, by all means update.

PCWorld Verdict

The Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d is fairly inexpensive, even when compared to most five-bay models in our 11-model roundup of NAS boxes. With good performance and features, it's a great choice for companies that want the capacity but don't need an eSATA port on board. 

Jon L Jacobi

See all: Storage reviews

Iomega StorCenter px6-300d: Specs

  • Desktop form factor
  • Intel Atom Dual Core CPU at 1.8GHz with 2GB RAM
  • 6x 3.5in Hot swap SATA-II Server Class SATA hard disk drives
  • Reliability MTBF: 1,200,000 hours
  • Latency/seek time: 4.17 msec
  • Rotational Vibration Sensor: Yes
  • Spindle Speed: 7200rpm
  • RAID Levels: RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, 5+hot spare, and 6
  • 2x RJ45 10/100/1000Mbps (GbE) Ethernet ports. LAN standards: IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u
  • 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports (to connect external HDD, printers, UPS, Bluetooth dongle)
  • iSCSI LUNs - up to 256 LUNs
  • Client computers for file system access—Windows PC, Mac OS, Linux
  • AC Voltage 100-240 VAC
  • Acoustic noise - 33 dBA maxiumum
  • 257x176x270mm
  • 4.89kg with no HDD (6.85 kg with 3x HDDs, 8.81 kg with 6x HDDs)
  • Desktop form factor
  • Intel Atom Dual Core CPU at 1.8GHz with 2GB RAM
  • 6x 3.5in Hot swap SATA-II Server Class SATA hard disk drives
  • Reliability MTBF: 1,200,000 hours
  • Latency/seek time: 4.17 msec
  • Rotational Vibration Sensor: Yes
  • Spindle Speed: 7200rpm
  • RAID Levels: RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, 5+hot spare, and 6
  • 2x RJ45 10/100/1000Mbps (GbE) Ethernet ports. LAN standards: IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u
  • 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports (to connect external HDD, printers, UPS, Bluetooth dongle)
  • iSCSI LUNs - up to 256 LUNs
  • Client computers for file system access—Windows PC, Mac OS, Linux
  • AC Voltage 100-240 VAC
  • Acoustic noise - 33 dBA maxiumum
  • 257x176x270mm
  • 4.89kg with no HDD (6.85 kg with 3x HDDs, 8.81 kg with 6x HDDs)

OUR VERDICT

Strong support of enterprise server and virtualisation packages, along with other useful business credentials recommend the Iomega StorCenter px6-300d as a relatively cost-effective storage solution for small business use. Consumer add-ons make the unit of interest to home use too. Its read-write performance is decent, if a little down on write speeds compared to competing NAS units.

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