HP Media Vault mv2020 review

Price when reviewed

HP’s first foray into the home-networked storage market is an unusual one. The Media Vault is physically much bigger than you’d expect and weighs more than 5kg. Yet, the only significant feature it offers over and above the NAS drives we’ve recently seen (see issue 148, p130) is an expansion bay for a second 3.5in SATA hard disk.

HP Media Vault mv2020 review

Other NAS drives allow you to add capacity via USB disks, as does the mv2020 (up to a total of 1.3TB), but the real benefit is that you can take advantage of the built-in RAID controller to mirror your data. The mv2020 comes with a single 500GB disk, so you can either boost storage space, or gain security by replicating your data on a second 500GB disk.

Beyond this, there’s a print server, an FTP server, a UPnP media server and HP Restore, which allows you to restore your PC in the event of a disk failure. You can access files from Windows, Mac and Linux clients, although the bundled Easy Backup only works with Windows. There’s also the ability to save up to nine previous versions of files.

It’s disappointing that there’s no web server, but the power supply is integrated and the software puts other manufacturers to shame. Installation is painless, and you can change most settings via the supplied Windows software. This also incorporates backup, giving a more unified feel than others. The web interface is impressive too, with simple options to create shares and allow or deny access via LAN, browser or FTP. Options aren’t extensive, but you can set passwords on a per-folder basis and set the disk to spin down after a certain time.

Despite the Gigabit Ethernet port on the rear, throughput wasn’t as speedy as we’d like. Our 100MB large file was written at 10MB/sec and read at 15MB/sec, but small files were slow at 1.6MB/sec and 0.9MB/sec respectively.

The bigger problem is the price, though. At £297, the mv2020 is more expensive than most other 500GB NAS drives, and the upgradable capacity isn’t unique. For almost £100 less, the A-Listed Maxtor Shared Storage II is faster, has a similar set of features, and only lacks the FTP server.

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