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Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 review: Iomega StorCenter ix2-200

Iomega StorCenter ix2-200

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Dong Ngo
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Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

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6 min read

The Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 is a major upgrade to the StorCenter ix2. The new server is a lot faster, has more features, and offers even more storage than the previous model. It also comes with a longer three-year warranty.

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7.2

Iomega StorCenter ix2-200

The Good

The Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 NAS server has good performance; RAID configurations; easy-to-use Web-based interface; offers plenty of storage without breaking the bank.

The Bad

The Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 NAS server's Web interface is sluggish at times. Its advanced features, such as self-downloading, IP camera support, and remote access, have limited functionality. It also runs hot.

The Bottom Line

The Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 NAS server makes a good, affordable backup and storage center for home and small office environments where only simple file sharing and data backup are needed. Keep looking for alternatives if you want more advanced NAS features.

Nonetheless, the new StorCenter ix2-200 is far from perfect. Its advanced features don't work as one might expect and its Web interface, though intuitive, could be more responsive, especially when you use it with a Windows computer. The server also runs rather hot and the hard drives are not hot-swappable. It takes a little work with a screwdriver to replace them, too.

If you are looking for a decent storage and backup center, the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 will make a decent investment, especially considering it costs only $700 with 4TB of storage included (the server also comes in 1TB and 2TB versions that cost around $270 and $320, respectively). If you want more advanced features, however, we'd recommend the Synology DS209+ (for business) or the HP MediaSmart EX495 (for home).

Design and setup
Like the previous model, the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 is compact as a NAS server with two internal hard drives can get; it's barely larger than two 3.5-inch hard drives put together. The server comes with two drive bays, populated with two SATA hard drives. On the bottom of the server are four screws that keep the drive in place; once these screws are removed, you can easily pull the drives out from its back-access bays. We found the drive bays a little too close to each other, making the server run rather hot. Nonetheless it remains quiet, even when the tiny fan is working hard. Out of the box the NAS' hard drives are set up in a RAID 1 configuration, but you can also quickly change that to RAID 0 to maximize the amount of data storage at the expense of data safety.

On the front of the server you'll find a USB port and a copy button. This is a nifty quick copy feature found in NAS servers: you plug an external storage device into this port, such a thumb drive, and press the button. The contents of the device are then copied to the server's internal storage. Also, there are two more USB ports on the back of the server. These ports can host both external storage devices and USB printers.

Setting up the StorCenter ix2 is painless. Once connected to the network, we followed the included CD and after a few clicks and a few minutes, everything was done, including two network drives being mapped to the NAS' default share folders: Public and Backup.

The setup process involves the installation of the Iomega StorCenter software, which helps add new USB devices connected to the NAS server, shows the Share Folders, and launches the Web-based interface, which allows you to further customize other settings. Other than using the Iomega StorCenter, you can also access the ix2 using Windows Explorer the way you would access another computer in a local network. Mac computers will automatically see the new NAS server on its Finder.

The Web interface, which can be launched from any network computer, is intuitive and easy to use; however, we found it rather sluggish at times, especially when using with Windows. Still, it's organized and we think that most users will be able to figure things out by themselves.

For backing up your computer to the NAS server, the StorCenter ix2-200 comes with EMC Retrospect Express HD backup software. The software, though easy to use, takes a long time to load and uses a lot of system resources. However, it does a good job of making the backing up process transparent to the users and allows for good flexibility: you can back up only predetermined important files, entire computers, or any folders of your choosing.

Features
The StorCenter ix2-200's remote access feature uses the TZO Dynamic DNS service that gives you the first year free and charges $10 for each subsequent year. This is a big upgrade, as the previous model of the NAS doesn't offer any remote access solutions.

If your router supports UPnP (which most new routers do), the setup process is entirely transparent to you, via a few mouse clicks. Otherwise, you'll need to manually forward the port number 443 to the IP address of the server. Then, from any computer in the world that's connected to the Internet, you can use a browser to access to the NAS, as if you were on a computer in the same local network.

While the remote access gives excellent management capability to the NAS, it was limited when it comes to accessing data. We were only able to download and upload a single file at a time. With other NAS servers that have similar remote access, such as the HP MediaSmart EX495, or the Seagate BlackArmor, you can do a lot more. For example, when you want to download an entire folder, the server will convert that folder into a ZIP file for you to download. Other NAS servers also allow you to play back digital content such as photos, music, or video via the Internet, which the StorCenter ix2-200 doesn't.

Other advanced features of the Iomega were also limited. The support for IP cameras, for example, doesn't include motion detection recording. You can only view live images or record based on a time schedule. The self downloading feature only supports BitTorrent. This means you can't use it to download large files from other services such as RapidShare or from any Web site or FTP site.

Other than that, the regular features of the NAS worked well. It supports FTP, Windows file sharing, Apple file sharing, and external hard drive in both NTFS and FAT32 file systems. The server is also capable of streaming media and supports a variety of media serving standards including UPnP, DLNA, and iTunes. We tried these out and all worked as intended.

The StorCenter ix2-200 is also the first Iomega NAS server we've reviewed that has support for iSCSI, a network storage standard that allows you to work with networked storage over Ethernet connections as if physically connected.

Performance
We tested the StorCenter ix2-200 in both RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations, and its performance was on par with high-performance NAS servers that we've reviewed recently.

In RAID1 format, where the device's hard drives are set up in a redundant configuration for maximum data protection by scarifying half of their storage capacity, the StorCenter ix2-200 scores were 126.1Mbps on our write test and 236.8Mbps on our read test. These were consistently faster that those of the WD My Book World Edtion, which scored 120.1Mbps and 206.6Mbps for write and read, respectively.

In RAID 0 format, where the device's hard drives are set up to maximize the speed and storage space while putting the data at a higher risk, the Iomega's write performance improved to 137.5Mbps while its read performance decreased to 215.42Mbps. This a normal performance pattern found in many NAS servers.

Overall, we liked how the StorCenter ix2-200 performed. It worked quietly even during the heavy loads. We were concerned about the fact that it gets pretty hot after a few hours of operation, but Iomega seems very confident about its product this time around and gives the new StorCenter ix2-200 a generous three-year warranty.

CNET Labs NAS performance scores (via wired Gigabit Ethernet connection)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
QNAP TS-239 Pro
373.9 
223.9 
Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 (RAID 0)
215.52 
137.5 
Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 (RAID 1)
236.8 
126.1 
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 

Service and support
The three-year warranty is much longer than most NAS servers on the market, including the previous StorCenter ix2 model. Toll-free phone support is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. You can also chat online with tech support via Iomega's site or fill out an e-mail form. Iomega's site also has a user forum, FAQs, how-to videos, and downloadable manuals, drivers, and software.

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7.2

Iomega StorCenter ix2-200

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 7Performance 7Support 7
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