Intel SS4200-E: PC-Based NAS Evaluated


With the SS4200-E, Intel has put a NAS device on the market that not only has very high build quality, but also provides very good data transfer rates. The hard drives can be installed easily and quickly without the need for tools, and the acoustic decoupling of the hard drives from the housing illustrates Intel’s attention to detail. However, as mentioned earlier in this article, the "Lifeline" operating system from EMC leaves us with mixed feelings.

On the one hand, the Web interface is easy to use and its functionality focuses on what’s important. Creating user profiles, setting up user restrictions, and configuring the integrated iTunes and UPnP AV media servers—these are so easy to that even beginners won’t have any difficulties.

On the other hand, the Intel SS4200-E does not support RAID-level migration and online capacity extension, which will lead to problems sooner or later. We also miss the option of connecting a USB printer in order to use the SS4200-E as a print server on the network, a feature that would have made sense given the device’s focus on the SOHO sector.

Similarly-priced NAS devices from competitors demonstrate the functionality still missing from the SS4200-E. For example, there is an integrated download client that can store data from the HTTP or FTP protocol directly on the NAS device, a Torrent Client, and a function that allows you to publish pictures on the Internet easily. The Intel device does support SNMP, but this is a function that only a few users will use from the target group.

And so the SS4200-E leaves us with a mixed impression, overall. The software part of the NAS device is disappointing when compared to competitors, whereas the hardware and build quality are above average. Also worth remembering is the higher-than-average power consumption of the SS4200-E due to its underlying PC architecture and Celeron processor.

If you don’t mind the energy consumption, but are not satisfied with the software, you should know that the Intel SS4200-E is also available as the "Scaleo Home Server". Siemens uses Microsoft Windows Home Server instead of “Lifeline,” which is probably the better choice for home users.

Intel SS4200-E

Intel’s SS4200-E is a NAS device with very high data transfer rates and high-class build quality. The overall impression is lowered by the "Lifeline" software, as well as the device’s high power consumption.

  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Two eSATA portsHard drives acoustically decoupledVery good data transfer rates
  • No interchangeable hard drive racksHigh power consumptionNot hot-swap ready
Marcel Binder
  • slomo4sho
    A HTPC type build is still the best low cost high performance option.

    Thanks for the write up :)
  • gwolfman
    Very interesting. What if you replaced the horrible PSU with one of the picoPSUs made by minibox (if I'm not mistaken) or miniPSUs that are available. OR I have one of those running my mini-itx server and works flawlessly, cool, efficiently, and it's 100% silent!
  • malveaux

    $400, no drives, just the `chasis.'

    It's a PC folks. Just build a cheaper PC with better components. It'll do more. And cost less.

    What a joke, intel.

  • KITH
    malveaux, people might find added value in a nice, quiet, compact case that has easy setup and a warranty as well as customer support.

    spending time on purchasing, assembling, and configuring a custom device might not be an option or a at least not a better option.
  • malveaux

    I understand that. Some people would rather have a box that hums and plugs in and just `works.' They won't want nor need to know how or why it works. They won't be able to troubleshoot it hardware-wise themselves, nor know a damn thing about it. They are still required however to plug in their own hard drives and configure the RAID if they wish it. There are markgets for NAS. But it's getting to be silly how many home-target NAS are being pushed out there that cost a ridiculous amount of money for what is essentially a computer that needs HDD's. For that cost, you might as well build your own computer. Or just take any old computer, but gigabit lan in it, fill with HDD's and run FreeNas. All problems solved on the cheap.

    Support? Laughable. You'll talk to someone in Duabi or New Dheli or whereever, they'll tell you to unplug it, reset your router, plug it back in, push the power button and wait for it to re-connect. They can't help you with HARD DRIVE problems which is the SOLE purpose of the thing--to serve from HDD's.

    I'm all for an attractive easy headless case with built in parts for HDD's. But for $400 and higher for this thing? Please. Any fool reading this website can NewEgg the parts needed, child's play, and have a NICE looking little microatx box housing the SAME capacity and function for less money. The issue with that? Requires a little elbow greace to assemble? Are these the same people who can't change their own tire? ... Probably. There went my whole argument.
  • very very very IMPORTANT!!!!!
    already build an ss4200-ee with 4x1TB hdd, but it went down after 2 weeks.after changing the hardware the data was not recoverd cause the firmware of the ss4200-ee is not similar in another same ss4200-ee
    now i have to wait 1 month for the nas to come back from egypt where intel repairs those nas in the middel east
    for those who r intrested into building a nas, think of software raid not hardware.
  • I really don't understand any of these NAS devices. I have an dual core socket 939 motherboard with 3 4-disk RAID 5 arrays (Linux software RAID) and a bunch of single disks, and I can get 40 MB/sec from the single disks over my gigabit network, and faster from the RAIDs. I have the drives in a bunch of Silverstone CFP51 4-drive bays.

    Total cost for a cheap case, 4 of the CFP51s, PCI and PCIe controllers, motherboard, CPU and 4 GBs of RAM is probably $7-800, ready to hold 16 hard drives, and considerably faster.
  • malveaux

    Exactly my point. Since that machine has EVERY piece of hardware SOLDERED to it, you can't just replace ONE part if it breaks. You replace the WHOLE thing. And that's NOt including your HDD's, which they don't help you with, that's just the chasis and the board that has the SOLDERED OS in place, with ZERO input points for changing that.

    Support is not possible with a unit like this. Meaningful support, that is. Support that is, "oh sorry to hear that, want to ship it over sears to me? $200 dolla? OOps! It no work, buy new one. BAI!"
  • V3NOM
    ^what the cheese.
  • Taracta
    The real issue with this device is the SIZE! For just holding four (4) drives it is HUGE! Properly built this case could hold 2 to 3 times (8 - 12)as much drives.

    You can also get this product without an OS (EMC software) and use Home Server as the OS.