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 >>


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