If you have more than one NetDisk drive on your network, you can "bind" them together to create an aggregate drive or a RAID array. Aggregation allows you to use two to eight NetDisks as a single large disk. RAID 0 (striping without parity) lets you bind two, four, or eight NetDisks as one large drive. When writing to the drive, the data will be written in chunks to each drive in turn (striping), which increases write speeds but does nothing for data security. Alternatively, you can bind two drives together into a RAID 1 array, which mirrors the data written on one disk to the other. You get redundancy of information, which is safer than RAID 0 but no improvement in data transfer speed. The HP Media Vault offers only a RAID 1 array, but the Buffalo TeraStation Home Server also offers RAID 5. (Keep in mind, too, that the Media Vault and the TeraStation offer RAID arrays using just a single device; with the NetDisk, you'll have to buy at least two drives for such an array.) The user manual has very long, explicit directions on how to create, undo, or alter a bind.
In CNET Labs' throughput tests, the 500GB NetDisk Portable drive proved itself to be quite the speed demon. In fact, it beat all of the NAS drives we've tested. Ximeta explains that the NetDisk is slightly different from a standard NAS drive, which uses a low-end CPU and OS for data processing. The CPU and OS can slow down data transfer times. (Ximeta calls the NetDisk a "network direct-attached storage" device, or NDAS.) In our NAS transfer speed, it took only 10 minutes, 49 seconds to write our 5GB folder of mixed file types to the drive. The NetDisk read the same folder back in only 9 minutes, 53 seconds. The next-fastest drive to be put through the paces in CNET Labs was the HP Media Vault MV2020, which posted a write time of 15 minutes, 12 seconds and a read time of 13 minutes, 25 seconds. We also tested the NetDisk in direct-attached, USB mode. It wrote our 10GB test folder in 9 minutes, 19 seconds and read it back in 8 minutes, 8 seconds.
(Shorter bars indicate faster performance)
|5GB read test (min:sec)||5GB write test (min:sec)|
**Tested in RAID 5 mode
Ximeta backs the NetDisk Portable with a limited one-year warranty. Phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT. Unfortunately you'll have to pay a toll. The company's Web site offers driver/software downloads, a FAQ, a troubleshooter, and live user forums.
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