Storage Wars NAS Roundup: Thecus, QNAP, Netgear

Netgear ReadyNAS Pro 4 Design and Build Quality

Netgear's ReadyNAS Pro 4 is constructed from lightweight black aluminum, though as assembled and populated with hard drive, the compact box packs some heft. It measures 5.28 inches (W) by 8.07 inches (H) by 8.78 inches (D) and weighs 10.35 pounds before you cram it full of hard drives. Some key specs include:
  • 1.66GHz Intel Atom Dual Core processor
  • 2 x 10/10/000 LAN ports
  • X-RAID2 automatic single volume
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 support
  • 3 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 4 x drive bays

A mesh server door swings open to reveal the four hot-swappable drive bays. The drives pull out and install with minimal effort, though it's not a totally tool-less affair (we'll get to that in a minute). A power button sits on the upper right corner and cycles through different functions depending on how many times you press it. Once turned on, hitting the power button a single time turns on the LCD, which is located on the bottom. Pressing it again shows the unit's IP address, and a third time tells it to power down.

On the top left is a USB 2.0 port for connecting external storage devices (with support for FAT32, Ext2, Ext3, and NTFS) or an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) with monitoring and auto-shutdown support. To the right of the USB 2.0 port is a programmable one-touch backup button for on-demand backups.

The top and sides of the ReadyNAS Pro 4 are littered with ventilation holes. Cooling is further aided by a rear exhaust fan attached to the internal power supply. Also on the rear of the device is a pair of gigabit Ethernet LAN (GbE) ports with link aggregation and failover support, and two additional USB 2.0 ports. There's also a Kensington lock on the right bottom corner.

NAS boxes are meant to stay in one place, but should you need to relocate it, there's a sturdy metal handle on the top that makes carrying the device a cinch. None of the other NAS boxes in this roundup have a handle of any sort.

Removing hard drives from the ReadyNAS Pro 4 chassis is, quite literally, a snap. To actually remove the drive from the caddy and/or install a new one, you'll need to reach for a Phillips screwdriver and remove four screws from the bottom. Our test unit came with four 2TB Seagate Constellation ES drives for a total of 8TB, which we used to test the NAS box, along with a second set of benchmarks using Western Digital's Red drives that we used to test the other boxes as well.

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