Summary Right now I am really, really pleased with this purchase, I have had it a couple of weeks and think this is possibly the best thing I have EVER bought (but it will be something else in a couple of weeks time). It does exactly what I wanted it to do, it is much quieter than I expected and installation was easy. I see some other manufacturers are beginning to match the low price, but at the time I purchased; this was by far the most cost-effective answer to get 4TB of storage all in one place.
Buying Reason I bought this NAS drive because I need additional storage for music and video files and I want to share these on my network which has 3 PCs connected. I currently have a Media-Centre PC which serves this purpose, but the current 2TB HD is full, there is no room for expansion in the small form-factor PC so external storage is the only option.
My current PC has Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit. There is a limit to the size of HD that can be installed on 32bit Windows which effectively limits you to 2TB, again reinforcing the choice to get an external device. I have external USB drives which I use for back-up and these suffer from the same 2TB Win32 limit (as an internal drive) and tend to be slow (USB2 not USB3) noisy and messy (cables & PSUs) in the area of the PC (which is under my TV) so again not really a desirable option.
My Reason for selecting a NAS was to overcome all of these problems, a good NAS can use RAID 0 (stripe) protocols to format 2 drives and use them as if they are one huge drive (in my case 2x2TB = 4TB) and use its own operating system to address them (overcoming the WIN32 2TB limit problem), the device can be located away from TV/PC at my router so no noise/clutter in the living room, and transfer rates should be as good-as or better than USB2 (I hope).
I had a LaCie NAS some years ago (when 500GB HDDs first became available) and it was expensive, slow and noisy - I did not want a repeat of this, so was pretty careful about my choice.
Selection Selection of the Dlink Share Centre Pulse 2 was mainly down to price, and that it could use RAID 0 to create a 4TB drive from the 2x2TB drives I intended to install. Additionally reading the reviews on Amazon convinced me that this unit should fit the bill and be reasonably user friendly. I chose to fit 2 Hitachi 2TB HITACHI COOLSPIN HDS5C3020ALA632 Internal 3.5 SATA Hard Drives as I was able to get them for £50 each, and could find no reports of them having compatibility problems with NAS drives as some other drives do if you read the reviews.
Delivery As usual with Amazon - perfect / on-time
Installation Slotting the two drives in was easy and required no tools. Power the unit-up, pop-in the CD to the PC and following the instructions formatting was easy, though in my case the Dlink only recognised one of the drives and kept bleeping loudly. Using a process of elimination by removing a drive in-turn and trying the working-one in both of the Dlink's slots I was able to ascertain that one of my two drives was faulty. (Nothing wrong with the NAS)
While waiting for the warranty replacement HDD to arrive I used the Dlink with no problems as a one HDD device. When the second drive turned-up, I fitted-it, typed in the URL of the Dlink to enter the management software via my browser and was asked if I wanted to reformat the drives. I chose RAID 0/stripe to format as one big 4TB drive. This took around 15 mins and I now have a huge drive attached to my network.
Usage NOISE - The unit (with the HDDs I installed) is really quiet. It sits on a cupboard next to my router behind my desk and I cannot hear it working. So the combination of the Dlink and the Coolspin drives is perfect!
SPEED - As a test I transferred some full 1080p video to the drive - transfer was acceptably fast. I then played this video across the network. There were no issues with playback - no pauses, no pixilation. Perfect!
MANAGEMENT - The browser based management utility is easy-enough to use if you have ever managed a router in the same way. If it's your first time you may find it a little confusing, but will soon get used to it. As with a router you soon bin the installation CD and just manage it through the browser. No issues.
Would I Buy Again? The ultimate test - would I buy another Dlink NAS - YES without hesitation, I am already considering buying another purely for backup purposes. It really is a great NAS (if you select good HDDs to go inside)
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