Linksys NAS200 review
The NAS200 offers plenty of flexibility, but transfer speeds are disappointing.
At under £100, the NAS200 sits at the bottom end of the NAS market. It's a chassis-only affair, so you'll need to supply your own SATA hard disks. Even so, a pair of A-Listed 500GB Samsung SpinPoint T models will take the total cost to just below £186 (£219 inc VAT), which is still only 19p per gigabyte. Adding disks is simple and entirely tool-less. Pop off the plastic plates from the back and slide in a hard disk. Once this is installed, you're given the option of using two disks independently, or formatting them in a mirrored or striped RAID array, for either data security or speed.
Transfer speeds were unimpressive, though, with average read speeds of 3.7MB/sec and average write speeds of 3.2MB/sec. Compared with high-end NAS devices such as the Iomega StorCenter Pro 250d (web ID: 128936), which achieves read and write speeds of 36MB/sec and 19MB/sec respectively, this is very sluggish. For the cost, however, it's a fair trade-off and still fast enough to stream video and music across a network. This is no problem for the NAS200, as it has UPnP support. You can tell it to automatically monitor folders on its disks for media, allowing it to update other UPnP devices automatically.
The NAS200 has a 10/100 Ethernet port and, although driver software is included, it can be accessed without it from anywhere on the network as long as you can supply the right access credentials. It also includes an HTML-based interface for software-free setup.
An added bonus is the simple backup utility capable of scheduling a range of tasks. You could, for example, back up your music files weekly, but schedule more important files such as accounts to be backed up every day.
A button on the front of the NAS200 allows you to start backup tasks manually. Otherwise, manual controls are few and far between - a reset button on the back is the extent of it. There's also a pair of USB ports on the back for adding external storage.
The NAS200 is nicely future-proof, thanks to its upgradability and expandability. We also appreciate the useful web interface. It's a great storage solution, as long as you can live with the slow transfer speeds.