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Promise NS2300N

Network Storage: Three NAS Units Rounded Up

Construction and Form Factor

Compared to the Promise NS4300N, which targets small businesses, the more diminutive Promise NS2300N is aimed squarely at the home-network market. That's why it includes only two drive bays. While the enclosure for the NS2300N is made of plastic and looks a little underwhelming at first glance, it is reasonably attractive and sturdy. Also, a copious amount of plastic helps keep its weight low, at just under 2.1 lbs. It's also  reasonably priced at under $170.

Its dimensions are 3.62" x 4.33" x 5.71" (HWD), which makes the unit incredibly compact. Although its drive trays are also made of flexible plastic (like those for the NS4300N), they fit their rails precisely enough that they feel both sturdy and robust. On the rear of this NAS device, you'll find an Ethernet port (RJ-45), a USB 2.0 port for other storages devices, and a DC jack for the external power supply. A single 60 mm fan handles ventilation for the enclosure, and its speed can be set to one of two settings (low and high) in the unit's Web-based administration utility.

On the front of the unit, two green LEDs report disk activity and two more LEDs offer information about device status and network activity.

Features and Functions

The NS32300N supports both RAID 0 and RAID 1 modes, so, with 1.5 TB drives installed, this device can deliver either 1.5 or 3 TB of storage across a network. Installation and configuration requires use of the device's Web-based admin interface. The software is well-organized and self-explanatory in many ways, and works in 10 different languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, and Italian.

The NS2300N also supports the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), which lets it interoperate with all kinds of other compatible clients and servers to handle audio and video files over the network. To take advantage of this capability, however, you must first install a software update in the form of a plug-in to the NS2300N, after downloading it from the Internet. Other available plug-ins include an iTunes Server and a Download Manager that supports HTTP, FTP, and BitTorrent protocols.

Power Consumption

One huge advantage of the NS2300N is its meager power consumption. Under normal usage, this usually falls somewhere in the 22.5 W range and might climb to 25 W when reading or writing large amounts of data. If you enable the unit's Spindown function, which turns off the drives after a specific idle timeout expires, power consumption drops to a relatively miniscule 12.3 W.

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