Iomega's StorCenter ix4-200d has some interesting and useful features, but its high price puts it out of reach for most people.
4 disk bays, 4x 1TB storage supplied, 2x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
Iomega’s StorCenter ix4-200d has four disk bays with slide out trays. To access them you have to unscrew and remove the entire three-piece top panel instead of simply opening an easily accessible front door. Removing the panel isn’t difficult, but it’s an odd design choice.
The StorCenter comes with four 1TB hard disks fitted – a massive amount of storage – and can be configured as either RAID 5 or 10. It wasn’t quite as blisteringly fast as we would have liked given the StorCenter’s high price, but it’s still quick no matter which RAID level we chose.
We usually expect RAID 5 to be slower than the other RAID levels, but the speed difference here was minimal. When configured as RAID 5, large files were copied at an overall speed of 26.6MB/s, while small files were transferred at an average speed of 11.6MB/s. When configured as RAID 10, large files were copied at an overall speed of 28MB/s, while small files were transferred at an average speed of 12.7MB/s.
Configuring the StorCenter is straightforward thanks to the illustrated setup wizard and logically organised web management interface. Commonly used tasks are gathered together on the home page. Creating user accounts and assigning them different access permissions to different folders is easy. The process could be more streamlined though, as the controls for organising them into groups and assigning them quotas are hidden away on a different screen which isn’t obvious. Bizarrely, shared folders can’t be password protected until an option in another screen is enabled.
The StorCenter has some features not found on NAS devices from other manufacturers. It can copy photos from digital cameras and Bluetooth-equipped mobile phones but, despite the price, Bluetooth isn’t built-in so you have to plug a Bluetooth adapter into one of the three USB ports. After enabling Bluetooth in the interface and typing a four-digit security code into our mobile phone, we were able to copy photos from the phone to the StorCenter.
Photos can also be copied from cameras that support Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP). The transfer starts automatically when the camera is connected to one of the StorCenter’s USB ports and photos are automatically sorted into folders according to the date they were shot. All files, not just photos, can be searched by keyword from the web interface although you’re better off using a dedicated search tool such as Google Desktop.
We had no trouble using the StorCenter to share the contents of a USB disk or a USB printer across our network. It also worked well as an UPnP media server and iTunes music server. BitTorrent-hosted files can be downloaded without the aid of a computer, but the download management controls are part of the main management interface. This isn’t ideal if you want to give users the ability to manage downloads, but don’t want them altering all the other settings.
Iomega’s StorCenter ix4 is a fast and feature-packed NAS. At £669, it’s out of reach for most consumers, but it has a reasonably good price per gigabyte of 17p. For most people, Acer’s cheaper easyStore H340-H is a better buy if you need a four-bay NAS with plenty of storage.
|Default file system||ext3|
|Price per gigabyte||£0.17|
|3.5in drive bays||4|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||0|
|RAID modes||RAID 5, RAID 10|
|USB direct access ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Other USB ports (front/rear)||1/2|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||none|
|Ethernet connection speed||10/100/1000Mbit/s|
|Universal Plug and Play support||yes|
|UPnP media server||yes|
|USB disk server||yes|
|Protocols supported||TCP/IP, SMB/CIFS, AFP, FTP|
|Ethernet cable included||yes|
|Additional features||remote access, BitTorrent download manager, Bluetooth and camera upload, security camera server|
|Power consumption idle||31W|
|Power consumption active||35W|
|Warranty||three years RTB|