Freecom Silverstore 2-Drive NAS 2TB review
2 disk bays, 2x 1TB storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
Freecom's SilverStore 2-Drive NAS isn't your run-of-the-mill black box. Instead, its metal chassis is silver. Unfortunately, this bold move away from the mainstream doesn't do much for its looks, but at least it feels solid. The same can't be said for the disk caddies, though. The pop-out plastic handles used to pull the drives from the NAS are flimsy and uncomfortable to grip. We were also unhappy with quite how much force we had to exert just to get the drives out.
At the front, the NAS has a power switch, a bank of status lights and a USB3 port. At the back, there's a USB2 port and the usual Gigabit Ethernet port. The NAS is a little noisier than most, producing a low hum which vibrated through our desk until we put a magazine under the NAS to stop it vibrating so much.
The NAS showed up on our network as a storage and media device, but its hard disks didn't immediately appear as an accessible share. You must first configure it using either the NAS's web interface, which Windows users can access by double-clicking the SilverStore icon in their file manager's network browser screen, or the Freecom Network Storage Assistant (FNSA) program, which is supplied on an installation disc.
The FNSA software simplifies basic configuration, such as changing the NAS's IP address, and there are also handy tools for mapping the NAS's network share to the drive letter of your choice and even adding a USB printer that you've connected to the NAS. More advanced configuration has to be carried out via the web interface, to which the application gives you a shortcut. The FSNA isn’t essential by any means because all of these options are available directly from the NAS device's web interface, but the software is helpful, clear and well designed.
The SilverStore’s web interface is also clearly designed, with various features being filed under different tabs. A backup manager lets you back up the contents of the NAS to a connected USB disk, and there's a downloader tab that’s home to the NAS's integrated BitTorrent client. The NAS supports the Tonido remote access service, which lets you access the contents of the SilverStore 2TB NAS wherever you are, via a web browser or a mobile phone app. The SilverStore also has the usual UPnP and iTunes media servers, plus access and quota restriction options to limit the actions of users and groups you’ve set up. Unfortunately, it can’t act as a print server for USB printers.
The NAS defaults to RAID 0, but we also ran speed tests using the more secure RAID 1 configuration, which mirrors your data. It provides less storage space but greater security against data loss should one of the drives fail. Unusually, the NAS's performance was faster in RAID 1 mode. In RAID 0 mode, the average speed of our small file read and write tests was 32MB/s, which rose to 39.8MB/s in RAID 1 mode. Similarly, large files transferred at an average rate of 8.6MB/s in RAID 0 configurations, and 12.1MB/s when using the RAID 1 configuration.
These fast transfer speeds make it one of the best performing NAS devices we’ve reviewed, but it’s very poor value for storage. The £288 asking price provides you with just two 1TB disks, whereas you get two 2TB drives in the Western Digital My Book Live Duo 4TB, and we much prefer the My Book Live Duo.