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NAS In Your Home: Vox's BlackBox
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Like most NAS devices, the Vox BlackBox can be fully configured through a Web browser to help keep things simple—an especially appreciated attribute for equipment used at home. Less advanced users might still find the Web interface of the Vox BlackBox difficult to deal with, though.

Blast From The Past: Not The Best-Looking Interface

The appearance reminds you of a site design from the ’90s, and the confusing menu structure makes it easy to get totally lost. If you’re hoping for online help for the different menus you’ll also be disappointed. For many settings you have to search for the correct menu item. Lengthy delays loading the management interface are also frustrating.

Network Protocols and BitTorrent Downloads

The Vox BlackBox supports the SMB/CIFS, FTP, NFS, and Bonjour network protocols, the latter of which is needed to run the integrated iTunes server. Furthermore, the Vox BlackBox NAS has the option to download files using the BitTorrent protocol.

To add a download to the queue, you have to be logged onto the Web interface. The corresponding .torrent file is then uploaded to the Vox BlackBox using the browser. However, this only worked with Internet Explorer. When using Mozilla Firefox, uploading would always be canceled with the error message “Connection Interrupted.”

Storage Space Allocation for Users and Groups

Less advanced users might also have trouble when setting up users or group permissions. For example, when setting up a new user, you can choose the location of their home folder in the file system. However, if you attempt to change this location later, you will almost certainly run into problems. For each user account you can set a maximum amount of storage space.

NAS Device as DHCP Server

The Vox BlackBox can be operated as a DHCP server in your network, though the feature is turned off by default. Standard settings like Gateway or Primary DNS server, as well as IP addresses, can be assigned to the MAC address.

Data Security Using RAID

Besides the RAID 0 mode, which stripes both hard drives for maximum performance, RAID 1 mode is also possible on the Vox BlackBox. This mode is also known as mirroring, which means that data is automatically copied to both hard drives simultaneously so that data is still available even if one of the two hard drives crashes. Setting up the RAID modes is easy.

More Pictures of the Web Interface can be found in our Picture Gallery.

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  • 0 Hide
    DFGum , September 18, 2008 9:17 AM
    I swear i saw another company selling the same thing for 80 dollars or so recently.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 18, 2008 11:51 AM
    Did you use a gigabit ethernet ?
  • 0 Hide
    dblizzard , September 18, 2008 1:47 PM
    I just had a struggle installing two different NAS devices in the home office. The D-Link device DNS-323 has firmware problems and can't finish formatting 1tb Seagate drives. Swapped out the D-Link for a Cisco Linksys NAS200 and it works well but if a drive fails in raid-1, both drives need to be reformatted when a replacement drive is added. Beware...
  • 1 Hide
    smelly_feet , September 18, 2008 5:05 PM
    I really wish THG would also plot power draws at the wall idle/full use for all "always on" devices in general in all their articles. It would be nice to compare the power draw of all these nas devices, including a watt/performance charts. The VOX box may score less on the performance charts but maybe it draws much less power too. On the otherhand, if it draws the same or more power and also performs worse than its a complete waste of money unless it has some other unique usefull features.
  • 3 Hide
    michaelahess , September 18, 2008 5:12 PM
    I bought this device for a bit under $200. Cheapest I could find it. Sold as the Raidon/Stardom SL3620-2S-LB2.

    I had to reflash the bios with the newest firmware twice to get it to detect my two 1TB drives properly. Once that was resolved it worked great. Interface is very easy (I'm biased as RAID and Security are two of my daily tasks) and works well. It is simple looking though, but I prefer that to flashy interfaces like D-Link. I don't have the bittorrent feature even though it says I should. Also, they are NOT hot swappable drives. The box says they are, the manual says in no uncertain terms not to do it or you risk loosing your data.

    From what I can tell, it's based on a SIL4726 controller which is about middle of the road for consumer devices.

    I can only write to it at about 7-8MB. Reads are a little faster (RAID-1). I can safely stream 720p content, haven't tried 1080i yet.

    Overall, compared to other NAS devices, I'm pleased with it. It cost considerably less than most comprable devices and seems to run very stable and cool.

    I just with the designers would get the firmware right. Or that someone would come out with a better os to flash onto it!

    On a side note, the AMS Venus T5 has the same chipset, it's esata and works like crap. I've sent it back for repair as it keeps dropping my array. Unless it comes back working, avoid that product. It does support upto 5 true hotswap devices, but only if you're lucky and get a working one.
  • 0 Hide
    michaelahess , September 18, 2008 5:16 PM
    smelly_feet, I'll throw my power meeter on it tonight and see what I get.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 18, 2008 10:05 PM
    "I swear i saw another company selling the same thing for 80 dollars or so recently." You did its a Sans Digital brand. I have the Sans Digital one. I have had it for about a year. I think these guys ripped off Sans Digital.
  • 0 Hide
    tvoice , September 19, 2008 12:17 AM
    I think the Sans Digital is a JBOD, not a real RAID.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 19, 2008 3:41 AM
    One thing I wish more NAS reviews included is information similar to what the cisco nas users mentions, how do these units handle drive failures or going from one drive to a second drive.

    With more small businesses unfortunately starting to use these devices, it would be useful info to include.
  • 1 Hide
    michaelahess , September 19, 2008 8:22 AM
    The Sans Digital are just esata, firewire, and usb devices, not NAS devices, that I can tell. They do use the same enclosure though.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , September 19, 2008 10:13 AM
    This article was great for me, as I'm looking at purchasing one for awhile now. I find most of the reviews on the Egg seem to be negative for the cheap model. It's always a few things wrong with it. Bad GUI, or plastic to make it run hot, or drive array falling out. I'm having that problem with a 939 motherboard with NVidia chipset Ibought recently. I'm really getting tired of NV's problems. If it isn't graphic drivers or games I can't run then it's a chipset issue. Anyway, when it comes to NAS storage I just want two drives for my gf's pictures.
    Why the hell do these things cost so much? $130 for a low end 2-drive enclosure without hard drives is just ridiculous IMO. It's a box with a chip, a little cache, and a fan. Surely this isn't new technology.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , September 19, 2008 10:15 AM
    The two I'm looking at are here and here:

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3980436&csid=ITD&body=MAIN#detailspecs

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822155003

    The egg doesn't have the one I want, but I prefer to shop there. I can say that on here, right?
  • 0 Hide
    snarfies1 , September 19, 2008 1:16 PM
    Is there ANY SATA NAS RAID0 solution that isn't glitchy and/or slow? Because as near as I can tell there isn't, unless you're willing to shell out a thousand for a "professional" version.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 19, 2008 1:51 PM
    Although it costs a lot more a better product is the QNAP TS-209 Pro. These are insanely high end NASs running a lightweight version of Linux. I've actually logged into mine via SSH and written shell scripts in them! I know another group has also successfully hacked the full Debian ARM distribution into them turning them into full fledged Linux servers.
  • 1 Hide
    ntrceptr , September 19, 2008 6:29 PM
    It appears something hit a wall with those transfer rates. It matches my DNS-323 in performance. On my gigabit network setup my DNS-323 maxes out at 12-15 MB/s which i've determined it the old ATA 133 interface to the drives (raid-1) ata133 throughput = about 8 MB/s so in raid-1 one theoretical throughput maxs around 16.

    This thing uses SATA and gigabit so it should be faster. What was the bottleneck on this NAS?
  • 0 Hide
    Codesmith , September 21, 2008 2:41 AM
    I'd like to see what happens when a drive fails in RAID 1. When I setup a RAID array is to test the recovery procedure before I start storing data.

    I start it with one drive unplugged, the drives connected to the wrong port, format one drive to simulate replacement after a failure .....

    Also for a two drive RAID 1 array, I check if the individual drives work with a non-RAID controller.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 23, 2008 11:10 AM
    Is it possible via USB hub to map more USB external HDDs to this pretty NAS?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 2, 2008 4:03 AM
    I like the built-in power transformer like this VOX blackbox, is there other similar designed NAS I can choose from?