The Netgear ReadyNAS NVX makes network-attached storage (NAS) simple; all you have to do is plug it in. It's a four-bay NAS device that provides up to 4TB of storage.
The ReadyNAS NVX we tested came equipped with three 1TB Seagate Barracuda ES2 3.5in hard drives. The drives are formatted using Netgear's proprietary X-RAID2 system. X-RAID2 uses one drive for redundancy, so the 3TB of raw storage capacity is reduced to 2TB of usable drive space. The NAS device is available in 1TB and 4TB variants, and you can get a "Pioneer Edition" that ships without drives.
The ReadyNAS NVX includes three USB 2.0 ports - one on the front and two around the back. A one-touch copy button automatically transfers all data from an external hard drive plugged into the front port. The USB ports can be used to attach printers, flash drives and external hard drives formatted using FAT32, ext2, ext3 and NTFS file systems; unfortunately there is no support for Apple Mac OS X's native HFS+ file system.
There are two Gigabit Ethernet ports supporting failover (in case one Ethernet port fails) and load balancing. The Netgear ReadyNAS NVX's four drive bays are hot-swappable and easily accessed through a perforated door on the front of the NAS device.
Netgear uses an embedded Intel Tolapai processor in the ReadyNAS NVX and 1GB of DDR2 memory, which is particularly generous for a 4-bay NAS device.
Despite lacking HFS+ support for external hard drives, the ReadyNAS NVX provides support for Apple's network protocol (AFP) as well as the Bonjour service; it can even be set up to work with Mac OS X's Time Machine backup software.
The NAS device also supports Windows (SMB) and Linux (NFS) network protocols, along with UPnP network discovery and iSCSI target support for use with an iSCSI server or initiator. Media server features include DLNA compatibility, support for networked DVD players, as well as support for iTunes and Logitech's Squeezebox. Unlike home-friendly NAS devices from vendors like QNAP this NAS device lacks media browsers or a Twonky server.
X-RAID2 automatically expands capacity and syncs data when a new hard drive is added to the NAS. We found it worked in most cases, though the NAS device reported health errors on some of the new hard drives we inserted. The ReadyNAS NVX also refused to create an array when we used one bundled hard drive and two of our own. When it works, capacity expansion can be a slow process - it took several hours to add a 1TB drive to a fairly empty array during testing - so it may be an overnight process.
Unfortunately, you are stuck with the X-RAID2 system. There are no options to change the RAID array to standard options like levels 0, 1 or 5. While this may simplify things for novices, those willing to trade data redundancy for increased performance are stuck with the proprietary RAID array.
We tested the ReadyNAS NVX's performance using Intel's NAS Performance Toolkit, which gauged the NAS device's ability to perform simultaneous tasks and stream high-definition 720p video. We also conducted two file transfer tests between the Netgear ReadyNAS NVX and a PC equipped with a 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor hard drive. The first file transfer test involved 20GB of 3-4GB files, while the second involved 3GB of 1MB files.
Because the Netgear ReadyNAS NVX employs X-RAID2, it writes data to two hard drives in order to provide a backup in case of drive failure. Our tests indicate that this has an impact on the NAS device's ability to write small files quickly. The ReadyNAS NVX's large file write speeds are significantly better, and it boasts the fastest read speeds of the four-bay NAS devices we have tested.
The ReadyNAS NVX consumes 57-68 Watts of power during use.
Netgear offers a five-year hardware warranty that covers the ReadyNAS NVX and the bundled hard drives.
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