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HP Media Vault review:

HP Media Vault

HP bundles NTI Shadow for file backups. Using the MV utility, you can set up simple or custom backups. If you choose simple backup, the utility prompts to you to choose one, several, or all of the following folders: My Music, My Pictures, My Videos, My Documents, or My Desktop. If you go with the custom backup, you can pick individual files or folders and set the program to do a continuous backup (which means that every time you make a change to a file in a folder that is backed up to the Media Vault, the corresponding file on the Media Vault will also be changed), save every X minutes, or to back up at a predetermined time or day. NTI Shadow is simple to use and intuitive. You can even choose to have the Media Vault give you progress reports after each backup. There's no point to backing up if you can't restore. The bundled NTI Drive BackUp helps restore a drive or partition--simply click Restore Your Entire Drive in the MV utility and choose the backup file you want to use. (To restore your system disk, you'll need to use the included PC restore disk.)

Aside from serving as a repository for files and backups, the HP Media Vault can also stream media files to other PCs in your household or to any UPnP-compliant digital media adapter. For example, you could stream music to a stereo and videos and movies to your TV simultaneously. As mentioned above, only certain file types can be streamed. The CinemaNow folder comes preloaded with a full-length version of The Bourne Identity, and Media Vault customers receive a username and password to access CinemaNow to download two additional free movies. The Media Vault isn't tied to CinemaNow for movies either. You can purchase downloadable movies from any site that offers them, then store them here, as well.

Even with all of these features, the Media Vault wouldn't be as compelling a product if it were slow. Happily, it's not. In fact, the Media Vault is quite a speed demon at both reading and writing. In the CNET Labs' tests, it averaged 15 minutes, 12 seconds to write a 5GB folder of mixed file types from the PC to the Media Vault. It read the same folder back in 13 minutes, 25 seconds. None of the other NAS units we've tested beat the Media Vault's read or write times.

HP backs the Media Vault with a standard one-year warranty. Toll-free tech support is available 24/7, as is online chat with a technician. You can also e-mail queries to tech support. HP's site provides FAQs/knowledgebase, software download, and user guides.

Transfer speed tests
(Shorter bars indicate faster performance)
5GB read test  
5GB write test  
Note: *Tested in RAID 0 mode
Note: **Tested in RAID 5 mode

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