Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive Review

If you want a cost effective Network Hard Drive, that does what it says on the tin, then check out my review of this tidy unit from Iomega.

Update: There is a new firmware update available here for this device. It adds Remote Access, Torrent Download, Time Machine and FTP support.

Product: Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive
Price: £110.99 (500GB as reviewed)
Supplied by: Iomega Europe
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Iomega Professional Desktop Hard Drive Review

Storage is all important, whether you need it for your day-to-day work, or for backing up those important files, you can never have enough of it. A lot of users are now turning to off-site storage solutions, such as Amazons S3 service. However, if you need something fast and reliable, then there is no other option that a desktop hard drive.

Iomega have been in this game for a long time. I remember with a warm glow, the day when the original Zip Drive was released. Wow, all that data on a tiny little disk, the size of a fat 3.5-inch floppy. Well, they kindly sent me there Professional Series Desktop Hard Drive, with triple interface to review. Offering up 500GB of storage, with USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and two FireWire 800 ports lined up across the back panel. It is also nice to see an on/off switch on the back too (many drives don’t come with one now, they just turn on and off with the computer system they are connected to).

There is not normally a lot to get excited about with devices of this nature, but I must say that the feel of this unit is superb. Plastic front, back and sides, but a lovely brushed aluminum top and underside panel, gives it a really nice solid feel. It also comes supplied with all the cables you need (although my sample was missing the FireWire 800 cable), you should get USB, FW400 and FW800 cables in the box. The power supply is a small brick type affair, into which you plug a figure 8 cable for your particular country. A Quick Start Guide is also enclosed in printed form, along with a software CD that also includes EMC Retrospect backup software. There is also a small plastic stand included, so you can stand the unit on its side to save valuable desk space. If you prefer to put the unit down flat there are four small rubber feet to dampen any vibrations.

In use the Iomega drive performed flawlessly. The noise generated is pretty darn good, seeming quieter than some hard drives I have previously tested. This has a lot to do with the decent enclosure, build quality and no doubt damping on the hard drive. On the speed front, it performed as expected on USB 2 and FireWire 400. Using the FireWire 800 connection (if possible) is definitely the way to go. Data transfer was very fast indeed, and although this is not a comparative review, the Iomega was faster than a Freecom Pro hard drive, but a little slower than the Western Digital MyBook Studio edition.

The flexibility of the triple interface on the Iomega Pro Desktop Drive, coupled with the rock solid build quality, make this a very sensible choice. If it comes down to brand, then you cannot go far wrong with a manufacturer that has been around for so long. If you need 500GB or more of storage (this particular drive from the professional series goes up to 750GB with the triple interface, or 1.5TB with eSATA and USB2 interface), then this drive should definitely be on your shortlist.

Product: Iomega Professional Desktop Hard Drive (#33648)
Price: £119.99
Supplied by: Iomega Europe
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Iomega Storcenter Review - 1TB of Network Goodness

With more and more people opting for laptops nowadays, it is of ever increasing importance to have a flexible way of storing files without the hassles of being tethered to a desktop external hard drive. Yes, we all know that laptops can now accommodate quite large hard drives, but what about backing up, or storing files in a central location so other users can access them. This is where Network Attached Storage (NAS) comes into play. I had some experience to this medium of storage before, and came away a little disappointed, so when Iomega sent me their lastest Storcenter device I was a little concerned over what I may find.

Opening the box gave me my first (positive) surprise. The unit felt really robust and looked very professional too. In an understated gunmetal colour, this robust little box housed 1TB, yes one terrabyte of storage. On the back of the unit is a kensington lock port for securing this baby to a desk, the all important Gigabit ethernet port, and two USB ports. The USB ports can be used for adding more storage by way of external USB drives, or connecting a printer for sharing over the network. There is a tiny power button (and I mean TINY), so I connected the unit into my gigabit ethernet switch and fired it up.

Other NAS devices I have tested have been pretty noisy, but I am happy to say that the Storcenter is pretty darn quiet. Just the slight whisper of the hard drives spinning and a very quiet fan is all that you can hear. Back at the computer end it is just a matter of popping in the supplied CD and installing the 'Discovery Software'. I was doing this test with both a MacBook Pro and a Mac Mini running the latest version of Leopard (10.5.1) and both systems found the drive first time. This allows you to mount a public share folder, or to carry out extra configuration, such as adding users and extra folders to the drive. Everything worked flawlessly, and once you have 'discovered' the drive, you can then access and connect to it via the Finder.

There is a lot more you can do to the Storcenter in the configuration options, such as scheduling backups to another share, or to a connected USB drive, and once set up the device can be left to perform the task unattended. I tried this with a 250GB external USB drive and it performed admirably. The drive also supports JBOD, RAID 1 and RAID 0, which gives great flexibility in how you can put it to good use. The important part of any drive is performance, so copying across a series of 4GB files, I found that it was achieving just under 6MB/second, peaking at around 8MB/s. Changing the connection over to a 100Mbs ethernet switch did not effect performance a great deal, giving an average of 4.2MB/s. This is more than acceptable in my opinion, not groundbreaking, but it is very easy to work with these speeds.

Where the Storcenter wins is on two counts. The stunning rock solid build quality, and the price. It starts at 320GB for under £100, 500GB starting at £120, right up to the model reviewed here which is only £269. There is also a wireless version, but with most users having wireless routers, you could just plug into a spare ethernet port (like I did) and negate the need to spend any more money. For those that don't have this option, the 1TB Wireless Version costs just under £400. Back to the 1TB version reviewed, for £269 you get a stonking piece of kit, it comes highly recommended.

Product: Iomega Storcenter 1TB
Price: £269
Supplied by: Iomega Europe
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