Advertisement
Advertisement

Seagate 4-Bay NAS review

Michael Passingham
15 Aug 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
707
inc VAT

Limited third-party apps, but the Seagate 4-bay NAS is excellent value and performs admirably

Advertisement

Specifications

Capacity: 16TB, 3.5" hard disk bays (free): 4(0), Networking: 2x 10/100/1000 Ethernet, DLNA media server: Yes, Print server: Yes, Dimensions (WXHXD): 120x170x218mm, Weight: 1.75kg (no disks)

Seagate has revamped it NAS line-up this year with devices for home users and businesses, and has overhauled its NAS OS operating system, which is now at version 4. The 4-Bay NAS we tested came with four 4TB Seagate NAS hard disks pre-installed, but you can also buy it diskless, and with lower capacity drives for a substantially lower cost.

If you buy a model with disks pre-installed, you'll be able to complete the setup process in a matter of minutes because a data volume has already been created at the factory. This is a great time-saving decision from Seagate, which means you can skip the long RAID building process.

The pre-built volume uses a RAID 5-style hybrid configuration Seagate calls SimplyRAID, which has advantages over a traditional RAID including the ability to mix-and-match drives of different capacities. You can lose any one disk in this mode and still retain all of your data. If you choose to buy the diskless model, the process of installing your own disks is very simple, with just a pair of plastic clips for each caddy required to hold your disk in place, with no tools required.

The 4-Bay NAS is made of a matt plastic that looks understated but undeniably stylish. The white LED lights and backlit buttons are a nice addition and make a change to the red, green and blue lights we typically see on other NAS devices. There's a USB3 port at the front of the NAS for one-touch backups, and another at the rear. You also get two Gigabit Ethernet ports for extra performance and reliability.

The 4-Bay NAS is managed through its web portable. The web interface for the NAS OS 4 looks similar to that of LaCie's NAS devices, which Seagate bought in 2012. Seagate has taken a slightly different approach to the design; the home screen of NAS OS 4 is made up of just five buttons: Device Manager, File Browser, Download Manager and App Manager.

^ Keep an eye on your NAS' performance from the web interface

App Manager is perhaps the area where the disadvantages of using a brand new NAS OS are most apparent. At the time of reviewing, apps were very thin on the ground. You can find four third-party apps in the App Manager: a BitTorrent client, backup service ElephantDrive, WordPress and ownCloud. Seagate-developed apps will also be available - at the time of reviewing, however, neither the security camera suite nor its antivirus product were available to install on our NAS. Some buyers may be put off by this, especially because there is no guarantee that developers will flock to port their apps across to Seagate's OS, although we'd be optimistic that a company with Seagate's clout would be able coax developers effectively.

Device Manager is where all the tools for configuring your NAS can be found. This is where file shares and network settings can be tweaked. It's also where you can keep an eye on users, groups and your device's current storage resource usage.

Keeping track of the services you're currently using, such as SMB, AFP, NFS, WebDAV and UPnP, is easy: they're all shown in a list with coloured indicators showing whether they're active or if there's a problem. Each service can be started and stopped with the click of a button.

In addition to backups and file shares, you can also use your 4-Bay NAS as a media streamer. You'll first need to activate either the UPnP/DLNA or iTunes servers to access them from compatible media players and devices on your network, and you'll also have to make sure that the directory in which your media is stored is configured to be part of the media server. We had no problem accessing our music and video library using a smart TV and Windows Media Player, but our iTunes client could only see music and not videos; a problem we come across on a regular basis with other NAS drives.

Seagate's NAS also has a remote access tool, introduced with NAS OS 4, called SDrive. You can use a mobile or desktop app to access the files on your NAS remotely, anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection. The service is effectively a re-brand of LaCie's Wuala service, which we found to be very effective.

File transfer performance is pretty good for a NAS of this price. In SimplyRAID mode the 4-Bay NAS achieved 42.4MB/s large file write speeds and 63.8MB/s read speeds. For small files, it achieved 9MB/s read speeds and 11.4MB/s write speeds, which are both respectable.

^ Seagate's Simply RAID should have a performance advantage over traditional RAID 5

The Seagate 4-Bay NAS is decent NAS. Its user interface is clear and neatly designed while its performance is also very good. The only question mark is over the quality of future first- and third-party applications, and how many more will appear. You may want to buy a cheaper model with less storage or, if you want the best choice of apps and performance, buy the Synology DS415play and add your own disks.

Hardware
Capacity16TB
Default file systemEXT4
File attribute supportYes
Price per gigabyte4.7p
Hard disk interfaceSATA2
3.5" hard disk bays (free)4(0)
RAID modesJBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10
Interfaces
Networking2x 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Front USB ports1x USB3
Rear USB ports1x USB3
Other portsNone
Networking
Universal Plug and PlayYes
DLNA media serverYes
Print serverYes
USB disk serverYes
Web serverNo
FTP serverYes
Mac file sharingYes
SSHYes
WebDAVYes
Other servicesRemote access apps, IP camera (extra cost), antivirus
Features
Dimensions (WXHXD)120x170x218mm
Weight1.75kg (no disks)
Buying information
WarrantyThree-years RTB
Price£707
Supplierwww.broadbandbuyer.co.uk
Detailswww.span.com
Part codeSTCU20000200

Read more

Reviews