Want to get your files organised? Want to get on top of those gigabytes of MP3 and movie files? We checked out the latest Ethernet Disk mini from LaCie to see if it offered an easy route to storage heaven.
Crave was very impressed with thewe looked at a while back. When LaCie sent us its 500GB NAS (network attached storage) hard drive, we were keen to see how it fared -- it offers a little extra in the area of media serving.
The beauty of a NAS is that you can store all your files on an external hard drive that's independent from any computer. We connected this one to an Ethernet switch and, after running a configuration file on the PC, we had access to the massive 500GB of storage from our desktop PCs and wirelessly from our laptops. Performance was pretty good too -- we threw large files across our network to the drive and it handled everything in its stride.
The LaCie also offers a control panel for setting it up as a full-blown multimedia server. The UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) support helps it link up with compatible media products for streaming content to your TV.
As with any network product, there was a certain amount of configuration drama. The CD supplied with the hard drive has an IP configuration application on it called 'IP Configurator'. We ran this on an Intel iMac and a MacBook and it fell over both times. A quick search on the LaCie support Web site gave us a new version that worked fine and, after this slight hiccup, things were back on track -- we could read and write to the hard drive from our Macs as well as our PCs.
For smaller offices and home use, the LaCie Ethernet Disk mini offers a very cost effective solution to centrally storing your files, and even setting up a dedicated media server. Gigabit Ethernet, a 400MHz processor and 64MB of its own RAM jolly things along nicely. The LaCie is well-built, runs quietly, stays cool and at £259 shouldn't terrify your bank manager too much. -DC