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Freecom Network Media Center 1TB review

Alan Lu
5 Apr 2010
Freecom Network Media Center 1TB
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
153
inc VAT

Freecom's Network Media Center isn't bad, but it lacks many features we'd expect to see in a NAS at this price.

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Specifications

0 disk bays, 1TB storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

The vast majority of NAS devices can be used for more than just sharing files. They often have USB ports so a USB printer can be used by more than one computer and the contents of USB disks can be shared across the network too. Freecom's Network Media Center goes against this trend though – it doesn't have any USB ports at all. As its name suggests, the Network Media Center does have extra features, so the absence of USB is still very odd.

As you'd expect, the Network Media Center (NMC) can be used to stream media files to an UPnP network media player and it did so without any serious problems - only a small delay while buffering video files. The NMC comes with the widely used and highly configurable TwonkyMedia server. You can fiddle with the more advanced settings to your heart's content, although most users won't need to. It refused to work as an iTunes music server, no matter how we tweaked the settings, which isn't unusual as Apple often changes the Digital Audio Access Protocol (DAAP) used by iTunes to stream music over a network; NAS manufacturers have to catch up by issuing firmware updates.

The Network Media Center can download more media files over BitTorrent without the aid of a computer. Unfortunately, the download management interface can't be accessed independently of the other management settings. Unless you trust all the other users on your network not to fiddle with the other settings, this limits who can freely access the download manager.

Files stored on the NMC can be accessed remotely from another internet-connected computer using FTP. This doesn't mean you have to leave the NMC running constantly, though. A timer lets you set a time when the NMC will go to sleep and wake up, but it's not very flexible - you can't set different times for different days, or have multiple wake-up times for a single day.

The minimalist web management interface is logically organised, if only because there aren't that many options to start with. The interface for creating users and granting them access to different shared folders could be more streamlined though – controls are scattered across two different pages. Usefully, the interface forces you to change the administrator password from its easy-to-guess default which is a handy security measure. Physically, the NMC looks classy and feels sturdy thanks to its rugged metal design.

The NMC isn't very quick at copying small files, which is partially excusable given its focus on sharing large media files. Small files were written at a slow 5.7MB/s and read at a more respectable 11.4MB/s. Performance was better with large files– they were written at just over 16MB/s and read at 19.7MB/s.

Freecom's Network Media Center generally works well, but at 15p per gigabyte it's overpriced for a 1TB, single-disk NAS that doesn't have any USB ports. Even if you don't care about using external peripherals and are only interested in a NAS for storing and streaming media files, there are faster, better-value alternatives available. Unless you can find it substantially cheaper elsewhere, there's little reason to buy the NMC.

Basic Specifications

Price£153
Rating**

Storage

Capacity1TB
Formatted capacity931
Default file systemext3
Price per gigabyte£0.15
InterfaceSATA 300
3.5in drive bays0
Free 3.5in drive bays0
RAID modesN/A

Interface

Ethernet ports1
USB direct access ports (front/rear)0/0
Other USB ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Other portsnone

Networking

Ethernet connection speed10/100/1000Mbit/s
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
UPnP media serveryes
iTunesyes
Print serverno
USB disk serverno
Web serverno
FTP serverno
Protocols supportedTCP/IP, SMB/CIFS

Miscellaneous

Size50x165x150mm
Weight1.4kg
Vertical positioningno
Ethernet cable includedyes
Additional featuresBitTorrent download manager, power management
Power consumption idle9W
Power consumption active11W

Buying Information

Price£153
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.techdepot.co.uk
Detailswww.freecom.com

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