The Valkyrie Dual-Bay is the first NAS server that Patriot, a company most known as a maker of system memory, submitted to CNET, and we were disappointed with it. The two-bay NAS server has an unintuitive and primitive Web interface, and its performance is by far the worst among recent NAS servers we've reviewed. On the bright side, the Valkyrie Dual-Bay NAS is good-looking, compact, and cheap, costing just around $150, with no storage included. Other similar servers, such as the Synology DS209+ or the QNAP TS239 Pro, cost around $400. But in this case, really, you get what you pay for.
Design and setup
Out of the box, the Valkyrie Dual-Bay NAS server impressed us with its sleek compact design. On the front you'll find a USB port and a Backup button. Insert a USB storage device, press the button, and the content of the storage device will be copied into he NAS' internal storage. Also on the front is a large door that leads to the two hard-drive bays.
On the back lies an additional USB port, but no eSATA ports. Unfortunately, with only one USB port on the back, you won't be able to connect both a printer and a storage device at the same time as a long-term solution.
The Valkyrie Dual-Bay NAS doesn't come with storage but can house up to two SATA hard drives of any capacity. Unfortunately, the NAS' drive tray is designed in such a way that you need a screwdriver to install hard drives. The metal trays can easily be broken apart by bending the sides of them back and forth a few times, so it's not recommended that you actually do this. We had a difficult time determining which way the hard drives should be stacked in their trays and were forced to look into the bay itself to match the hard drives' SATA and power ports to figure out the direction that they should be installed.
The Quick Install Guide that accompanies the NAS is a joke. It's a piece of paper that shows seven steps of how you can install the NAS server to your network using a network PC. Each step is an ambiguous sentence, repeated eight times in eight different languages with illustrations that don't always match what the sentence describes. For example, in Step 3, you are instructed to click on the "Access via Web" button of a software utility to open the device's Web interface. Step 4 instructs you to use the "Disk Settings" to set up the hard drives. In reality, however, after Step 3, you will be prompted to log in with the default username and password, which is a necessary step not mentioned anywhere. The username and password themselves are of mystery. In the end, we found out that they were mentioned in the PDF manual file on the included CD (by the way, the username is "admin" and the password is "root").
Overall, if Patriot had put just a little more thought into the Quick Install guide, it would have made life much easier for the user. By far, the Valkyrie Dual-Bay NAS took us the most time and caused the most frustration of any previous NAS server we've set up. This could have been easily avoided by clear instructions.
The Valkyrie Dual-Bay NAS server can configure hard drives in two RAID configurations, including RAID 0 (fast performance and the most storage, but no data security) and RAID 1 (high data security, but only half the amount of the hard drives' storage is available). It was quite fast to change from one configuration to another, taking just about an hour. The hard drive can be formatted using FAT 32 (Windows-friendly) or Ext2 (Linux-friendly). They can't be formatted using NTFS, Ext3, or Ext4. Most Linux-based NAS servers support Ext3 and Ext4, as these are more-advanced file systems with features that offer better management and performance. Regardless of what file system the drives are formatted in, however, all network computers can access the NAS server's internal storage
For external storage, the Valkyrie Dual-Bay NAS supports USB external hard drives formatted in either NTFS or FAT32. Once an external hard drive is plugged in, there will be a share folder created for it, and everybody on the network can access that share folder. There's no way to restrict this and you can only read information from an external NTFS hard drive; you can't write to it.
You can restrict access to the NAS server's internal storage, however, via accounts. Unfortunately, the way the server's Web interface is laid out, it's really confusing and very difficult to determine how to assign which privileges (read, write, no access, and so on) of a particular account to a particular share folder. Even when we thought we'd figured this out, it didn't seem to work properly. Overall, the user management of the NAS server seems buggy and will not work as you might expect. And once again, the instructions on this are also very scant.
The easiest way to access the server's storage is via its default "Public" share folder, which is accessible by everyone. The NAS server fully supports Windows' SMB protocol so you can easily browse for it using a PC's network browser. Mac users will also find the Valkyrie Dual-Bay NAS server through Finder.