Network Storage Adapter Opinions

Hi all,

THG reviews of NAS devices are excellent, but I'm on a limited budget and already have a USB disk which I would like to make available over my home network. I also have a USB printer attached to an old desktop that I would like to make available over the network too.

The Linksys NSLU2 looks ideal, but it has been out for a while now, and isn't wireless (would be nice, but not essential).

Can anyone recommend alternatives or provide comparisons between the nslu2 and other network storage adapters.

(Perhaps this could be the subject of another THG chart!)
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  1. I'm assuming you are not interested in converting your old desktop into a DIY NAS...

    How much of a limited budget?

    How important is performance?

    Are you set on converting your existing USB drive, or would you consider an NAS appliance?

    Of the under $200 NAS appliances, the Buffalo Linkstation Pro has far and away the best performance. Note you cannot depend on brand name for performance consistency... e.g. compare the Buffalo Linkstation Pro with the Buffalo Linkstation (without the "Pro").

    If lower performance is OK, though, some of the appliances include a USB printer server capability as well.

    Personally, I've never really understood the market for a wireless NAS in a "normal" home network. The idea of a NAS is that it can be attached to the network anywhere. What's wrong with putting it right next to your router and connecting it via a cable? It'll be much faster that way.
  2. Part of the reason for this is to avoid having to have the desktop on all the time, so I'm not really interested in DIY NAS. The desktop's a bit flakey these days anyway - wouldn't want to be relying on it.

    I'm definately in the sub $200 category on budget. Regarding performance, as long as it's average it'll do (although more is always a plus).

    I am set on converting the USB drive and am looking to compare as many solutions for this as possible before I make any decisions. Ability to connect my USB printer is also important.
  3. What file system is on your USB drive?

    PS: I've seen some pretty bad reviews on the Linksys NSLU2, so tread carefully. (I have no experience with it myself.)
  4. Currently it's NTFS, but I'm not worried about changing that.
  5. If you're willing to reformat the drive, you can find several options to convert your existing drive into a NAS. Most cost well under $100. I don't know of any that are wireless, though, or that include a printer server function.

    You said wireless was not essential, so I'd suggest you drop that requirement.

    Next, then, decide what you want to spend.

    A print server alone will cost ~$50. And a NAS box into which you install your hard drive would cost ~$80 - 120 (depending). None of these boxes (that I have seen) support NTFS.

    The device you referenced seems to combine the functions you want, but, as I said, I'd be cautious about it given some of the reviews.

    You can get an NAS appliance with an internal drive and USB ports that will support a printer and your external drive for about the same money, and you get another hard drive. You'd still need to reformat the external drive, though.
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