Promise sells its NS4600 as a barebone enclosure, following the build-your-own approach. It comes bundled with everything a NAS unit needs, save the hard drives. Its printed multi-language manual that guides users through the setup steps is something of a rarity these days, and a pleasant surprise. Screws for fastening the drives in place, a power cord, a network cable, and a CD containing software (such as the SmartNavi application) round out the bundle.
Build Quality and Connectivity
The column of drive status LEDs found on the right side of the case’s front plate is now set behind a little plastic window of sorts, blending into the overall design of the unit much more unobtrusively and increasing the perception of quality. The design of the drive covers has been revised as well, adding small ventilation holes for better airflow inside the case. Another new feature found on the front of the case is a small lock to physically secure the drives.
The on/off button has moved to the back of the case, leaving the One-Touch-Backup button as the sole front-mounted control. This feature allows users to copy the contents of USB devices to the NAS device literally at the touch of a button. Joining the power button on the back of the case is an eSATA connector, which can host an external HDD. While that drive can't be included in the RAID array, it can be used to offload some of the data stored on the NS4600. The unit is powered by an internal power supply unit.
The NS4600 offers a good bit of multimedia functionality right out of the box that users had to tack on to the NS4300N by using plug-ins. Those features include the BitTorrent and eDonkey client MLdonkey 2.9.1, the Firefly media server for iTunes support, and DLNA server. This last addition allows users to stream videos and music to other media-capable devices on the network, such as an Xbox 360.
Using the DLNA-standard is meant to ensure that other compatible devices will be able to detect the NS4600 automatically. Promise’s NAS also supports media tagging for better organization of movies and music files, allowing users to add information about a piece’s artist, album, genre, and title to individual files.
RAID and Snapshots for Data Security
Users can configure the NS4600 to use RAID modes 0, 1, 5, or 10. If RAID 5 is selected, there is a choice between using all four drives for the array or keeping the third as a spare to be used if one of the other drives fails.
The snaphsot feature is also very handy. As the name implies, it can take snapshots of files at user-defined intervals, creating either one or several backup versions of it. If a file accidentally gets deleted, it can be restored from one of the snapshots. Usually, only much more expensive NAS devices like Thecus' N7700 offer this feature.
We measured the device’s power consumption while the NS4600 was equipped with four identical Samsung Spinpoint HD321KJ hard drives. As it turns out, power draw is indeed similar to that of the Thecus N4100 Pro powered by AMD’s Geode.
|Promise NS4600: Power Consumption|
|Sleep (HDD Power Down)||25 W|
|Rebuild ( RAID 5, HDD 4)||54 W|
|CPU/RAM||Intel 600 MHz / 256MB DDR II|
|Power Supply||Internal, 90-100W with PFC, 100-230V auto-ranging, 50-60Hz AC|
|Weight||2.5 kg (excluding drives)|
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||188 x 152 x 229 mm|
|Warranty||3 years (1 year for PSU-fan)|
|Supported Network Protocols||SMB/CIFS (Microsoft), AFP (Apple/MAC), NFS (Linux/Unix), FTP, DHCP client, NTP client|
|Supported Operating Systems||Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista x86/64, Linux/Unix, Mac OSX v10.4|
|SmartNavi Software: Supported Operating Systems||Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista x86/64, Mac OSX v10.4 |
|Security / User Management||Domain integration, Microsoft ADS, Unix NIS; User Level, Group & Quota management|
|USB Connectivity||HDD/Flash-Drive (FAT/FAT32, EXT3), Printer, APC UPS|
|eSATA Connectivity||HDD (FAT/FAT32, EXT3)|
|Data Backup||Snapshot Backup, NAS-to-NAS Replication, Client-to-NAS Backup (SmartNAVI), One-touch Backup for USB-Drives and digital cameras|
|File System||EXT3 journaling file system, multi-volume|
|Misc.||Integrated print server|
|Network and Multimedia|
|Multimedia Server||UPNP and DLNA certified media server|
|Download Server||eDonkey, BitTorrent|
|Remote Access||Supports various browsers on portable devices|
|RAID Modes||RAID 0, 1, 5, 10|
|RAID Features||Hot spare, on-line RAID-level migration, capacity extension|
|Supported Browsers||Internet Explorer 6 or above, Opera, FireFox 1.5+, Netscape 7.0, Safari|
|Languages||English, German, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), Japanese, Spanish, Italian, French, Korean, Russian|
|Management Protocols / System Messages||HTTP/HTTPS, NTP, SMTP, E-mail, A/V feedback (buzzer/LEDs)|
|Management Tools||SmartNAVI, WebPASM, One-Touch|
|LAN Interface||1000BASE-T,100BASE-TX, 10 BASE-T|
|Supported Speeds||10/100/1000 Mbps, Jumbo frame 4K/9K/16K supported at 1,000 Mbps|
|Type and Number of Ports||2 x USB 2.0 Type A|
|Number of Ports||1 Connector|
|Number of Drives||4 Drives (3.5") / hot-swappable|
|Specifications||Supports 3 Gb/s and 1.5 Gb/s SATA drives with NCQ/TCQ; 48-bit LBA support|