Plextor PX-EH25L-NA NAS Device
Plextor's first generation of NAS devices come in 250 GB (PX-EH25L-NA) and 400 GB (PX-EH40L-NA) capacities, both using the same sleek black and plastic external casing. The styling of Plextor's devices is far more attractive compared to the majority of external hard drive casings, and is far less industrialized than most dedicated NAS devices. The casing will fit suitably on both desktops, on servers, or even in a home theater setup.
While the side panel may appear to be aluminum alloy, the unit is fully plastic, although it certainly maintains a solid feeling. The unit has rubber feet on multiple sides, allowing it to be placed both horizontally and vertically. However, Plextor states in the manual that horizontal operation of the drive can "damage the unit" - and that the unit should sit vertically at all times. Interesting.
The front of the unit is equipped with two LEDs, one red, one green. The green LED stays constant whenever the unit is powered up and indicates that the unit is active and functioning. The red LED only illuminates when the NAS device is being read from, or the LED will blink if there are network or device issues. The rear of the unit is equipped with a few items which need explaining as well. First off, as basic power power and a hardware power on/off button. The unit is powered by a "power brick" AC adapter which connects to the back of the drive. The "brick" is somewhat clunky, but can easily be tucked away if need be. Below the on/off button there is a small pinhole which can be used to reset the device in case of emergency.
The unit is equipped with two USB 2.0 ports, which may seem a bit odd. Why would one need USB 2.0 ports if the drive is being accessed via Ethernet? Well, it's actually quite ingenious! The USB 2.0 ports can serve two purposes. First off, it can be used to link a USB printer to systems over the network. Instead of plugging a printer into one PC in the household, you can plug it into the NAS device, which allows anyone with access to the NAS device to print over the network. Secondly, the USB 2.0 ports can be used to add additional storage. For example, if you fill up the 250/400 GB space which the Plextor drive offers, you could plug in another USB based hard drive and it would extend the storage capabilities of the NAS device.
Lastly, there is a standard RJ-45 / network jack on the right side of the unit. The drive supports standard 10/100 network speeds, and can be connected directly to a hub/switch or to a user's PC LAN port. If you'll notice, to the left of the LAN port, there is a small switch, which allows you to toggle the device between "switched" and "direct connect" modes. If you connect the unit directly to a network, it's highly advised that you have DHCP enabled, as it makes the initial steps of setting up the unit far easier (trust us, we know this from experience).
Plextor ships their NAS devices with a pretty slick RJ-45 network cable, which looks at first glance to be a roll of black electrical tape. This thin plastic cable is actually a standard RJ-45 cable, but is flatter compared to the vast majority of network cables on the market. These ultra-thin cables are great for routing under carpets and routing cable through areas which they typically wouldn't go to.