ASUSTOR Launches Powerful High-Capacity AS6208T and AS6210T

ASUSTOR launched two new high-capacity enterprise-class NAS units, the AS6208T and the AS6210T. The only difference between the two units is that one has 8 drive bays and the other one has 10 drive bays. They are powered by an Intel Celeron (Braswell) 1.6GHz quad-core CPU with Boost speeds up to 2.24GHz. This is backed by 4GB dual-channel DDR3L memory which is expandable.

This is a great base for a powerful system that comes with hardware encryption support and 4K capabilities. All that power can be connected through the four built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports for a read and write performance up to 398 MB/s and 355 MB/s respectively in a RAID 5 setup.

There are plenty of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well as two eSATA ports. With that amount of extra ports, you can expand the systems even further than with the 8 and 10 internal bays that each support up to 8TB drives.

It’s probably unlikely that a system like this will be used for as a multimedia hub, although it would be perfectly suitable for it. Instead, it is much more likely to be used for surveillance tasks. It is well equipped for both scenarios with its direct usage ability. It features both an HDMI 1.4b connector and an S/PDIF audio link.

As with all other ASUSTOR NAS units, these two new ones come with a 3-year warranty and a suggested retail price of $999 for the AS6210T and $899 for the AS6208T. That’s actually not bad at all.

Key Hardware Specifications

  • Intel Celeron 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (Automatic Overclocking to 2.24GHz)
  • Read Speed of up to 398+ MB/s and Write Speed of up to 355+ MB/s Under Link Aggregation and RAID 5 Configurations
  • 4GB Built-in Dual-Channel DDR3L High Speed Memory (Expandable up to 8GB, 4GB x2)
  • 4 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports
  • Front of Device: 1 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port
  • Back of Device: 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Ports, 2 x USB 2.0 Ports, 2 x eSATA Ports
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4b Port
  • 1 x S/PDIF Audio Output Port
  • Infrared Receiver
  • Supports RAID Volume Management: Single, JBOD, RAID 0/1/5/6/10, RAID 0/1/5/6/10+Hot Spare
  • Supports Hot Swappable Hard Disks
  • Disk Tray Locks
  • LCD Panel
  • Supports Largest Capacity Hard Disks on the Market (8TB)
  • Smart Fan Temperature Control

The AS6208T and AS6210T both come built-in with the latest ADM 2.5.4 firmware providing RAID data protection, high-grade AES-NI hardware encryption technology, a 256-bit data encryption mechanism, firewall, network defender, antivirus software for installation and other safety mechanisms to keep data safe and secure. But you will be able to upgrade to the newest firmware very soon as ADM 2.6 is scheduled to be released in April.

Key Software Specifications for ADM 2.6

  • Seamless Cross-Platform File Access (Windows, Mac, Unix-Like Operating Systems)
  • Virtualization Support: Citrix, Hyper-V, VMware (NFS)
  • Scheduled and Automatic iSCSI LUN Snapshots
  • Virtual Machine Support with VirtualBox (ASUSTOR Portal and ADM Web Interface)
  • Comprehensive Backup Solutions (Public Cloud, Local Device, PC, Mobile Devices)
  • Integrates Windows AD, Windows ACL Permissions and Batch Importation of Accounts
  • SNMP Network Management Protocol Support
  • Instant System Event Notifications (Email, SMS or Push Notification)
  • Supports 3-Step Seamless System Migration
  • Supports Online Capacity Expansion and RAID Level Migration
  • Supports N-1 MyArchive Hard Disks with Encryption and Binding of USB Devices as Encryption Keys
  • Newly Added File System Support for MyArchive (EXT4, NTFS, HFS+) Increases Compatibility of MyArchive
  • Disks.
  • Remote Access via Cloud Connect Technology
  • App Central App Repository Features Rich Variety of Apps for Multimedia, Business Productivity and More.
  • Surveillance Center Supports up to 25 Camera Channels

Synology Releases DiskStation DS216+ 2-Bay NAS

Synology officially released the DiskStation DS216+ which is the direct successor to the DS215+ and a NAS unit that I’m sure a lot of people have been looking forward to. The new DiskStation DS216+ has it all and looks like it is a solid server with great features.

The DiskStation DS216+ is built with an Intel Celeron N3050 dual-core CPU that has built-in AES-NI hardware encryption engine among other things. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory and the system can provide excellent encrypted data transfer performance at over 113 MB/s reading and 109 MB/s writing. Another really cool feature is the real-time capabilities to transcode H.264 4K Ultra HD video. The DS216+ can handle one channel 4K transcoding or three channels with Full-HD transcoding at the same time. When coupled with the ability to utilize DVB-T/DVB-S sticks and the record function, you got everything you need in relation to media in one place. The Video, Audio, and Photo Stations offer all the media features you need and it also supports DLNA and AirPlay, and even Bluetooth and wireless transmission with the use of dongles.

The DiskStation DS216+ has most things when it comes to hardware and software. The LEDs on the front have an adjustable brightness as well as schedule abilities. There is a USB 3.0 port with one-touch copy button, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and a feature that I personally love to see, an eSATA port. The drives are hot-swappable and feature Synology’s screw and tool-less installation. The 92mm cooling fan located at the rear should also make sure that the NAS works as flawless under controlled temperatures and does so as silent as possible.

Besides the full setup of backup, restore, cloud, and other features that we love from Synology’s DiskStation Manager operating system, the DS216+ also introduces the Btrfs file system. Btrfs has advantages over EXT4 and comes with built-in data integrity check, more flexible Shared Folder/User Quota systems, advanced snapshot technology with a customizable backup schedule that allows for up to 64 copies of shared folder backups, and file or folder level data restoration. The Cloud Station with file versioning also reduces the storage consumption down to half when compared with the Ext4 file system.

So whether you need a full set of media capabilities, an easy backup solution, or business features such as Windows AD and LDAP, Windows ACL, Mail Server, VPN server, or Radius server, the DiskStation DS216+ has you covered. It is backed by a 2-year warranty and comes with an MSRP of £237.00 including VAT or €275.00 excluding VAT.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU with AES-NI hardware encryption engine
  • Encryption performance at over 113 MB/s reading, 109 MB/s writing
  • Advanced Btrfs file system with built-in data integrity check
  • Single H.264 4K or triple Full HD video transcoding on the fly
  • Hot-swappable drive tray design for easy installation & maintenance
  • Brightness-adjustable front LED with schedule control
  • A versatile storage server for small offices

We can also spot a new feature within the product photos of this DS216+ NAS and while it is a feature that isn’t present yet, it should be on future models. At the first glance, the DS216+ looks like the previous  Synology 2-bay models. It does have the new power button and one-touch copy button with built-in LED feature, but there’s another thing hiding in plain sight on the front. There is an unused and covered slot on the front that judging from the size could be an SD Card slot. We’ve already seen Synology add an SD card slot to their RT1900ac router, so it wouldn’t be far-fetched that we could see that added to the NAS lineup too.

Synology DS716+ Now Officially Available Worldwide

Synology officially announced the worldwide availability on the successor of the DiskStation DS713+ NAS, the brand new DS716+ with upgraded CPU and 4K video transcoding abilities.

The new Synology DS716+ is built with an Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core CPU running at 1.6GHz and has a burst speed up to 2.08GHz and that comes with a 256-bit AES-NI hardware encryption engine. Synology coupled that with 2GB DDR3 system memory, making the DS716+ a very capable 2-bay NAS unit for growing businesses. The DS716+ comes with excellent transfer speeds thanks to dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and support for both BTRFS and EXT4 file formats on the internal drives. It is able to perform with 223 MB/s while reading and 137 MB/s while writing unencrypted data and still maintain an impressive 218 MB/s when reading and 141 MB/s when writing encrypted data.

Synology added three USB 3.0 ports, one on the front and two on the back, for easy storage expansion as well as connectivity of printers and UPS devices. I am personally a big fan of eSATA ports and as such it pleases me that Synology also included that on the DS716+. USB is great, but it doesn’t hold up to a native SATA connection and makes expansion a lot easier. Speaking of expansion, the DS716+ 2-bay NAS can be expanded with the use of a Synology expansion unit DX513, allowing it to support up to 7 HDDs at ones and have 56TB raw storage. It is naturally also compatible with the smaller 2-bay expansion unit.

Thanks to the new quad-core N3150 CPU, the DS716+ is capable of real-time H.264 4K Ultra HD video transcoding, providing a complete support to the latest multimedia file formats. The noise level is rated at just 18dBA and the silent NAS doesn’t consume much power either: only about 26W during access and 9W when the hard disks hibernate.

Synology fans will also notice a subtle little improvement on the old physical layout over previous models and I personally quite like it. We find a USB copy button on the front and both that button and the power button changed to feature an LED stripe.

Synology is backing the DS716+ with a 3-year warranty and it is available for a price starting at €451.92.

 

Addonics Unveils PCIe 4-Port eSATA Host Controller

Addonics unveiled their latest add-in card and this time it is an SATA host controller, more specifically an eSATA host controller. The AD4ES6GPX4 uses a single PCIe 4-lane slot and in return it provides you with 4 separate eSATA ports and a total throughput capability of up to 20 Gbps. That should be plenty of speed for a controller like this, considering that each SATA port in itself only perform up to 600 Mbps.

The Addonics eSATA host controller supports all SATA-based drives, from SSDs over optical drives to mechanical hard disks. You can also attach more than four drives when connected to port multipliers as those are fully supported by the controller chip. That means that you easily could attach four external hard disk towers to this single controller. With that in mind, there’s basically no limit to how much storage you can attach with this.

The controller supports software RAID based on your operating system, but it doesn’t come with its own hardware RAID function. The card is fully plug-and-play and will work with Windows, Mac, Linux, and most other operating systems with built-in AHCI driver. The card is a full-height PCI card which is the only downside, limiting you from the use in SFF systems with half-height slots. It is however due to the natural limitation and physical size of the four eSATA ports.

Synology DiskStation DS715 2-Bay Value NAS Review

Introduction


It has been a while since I had the pleasure to review a Synology NAS which makes it even more of a pleasure to take the brand new Synology DiskStation DS715 2-bay NAS for a spin. And while it does look ordinary on the first glance, I can tell you it isn’t.

The DS715 is an expandable NAS server, equipped with a powerful quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine and the ability to expand up to 7 drives thanks to the optional expansion unit. You can’t just expand it with extra bays, you can also connect it with Synology’s High Availability (SHA) technology that combines active and passive servers into one cluster.

The DS715 looks to be a perfect balance between performance, features, and value – so let us take a closer look at it.

The Synology DS715 is built around the Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core processor with 1.4GHz. We’ve previously seen a great performance from just this chip in the DS1515 NAS. The CPU has both hardware encryption engine and floating point unit.

The DS715 comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and the drive bays support hot swapping as it has to be. The unit is rated for 16TB raw capacity on its own, but that limitation only exists based on the drives currently available. Nothing should block you from using 10TB or bigger drives ones they become available.

If that still isn’t enough for you, then you’ll just expand the NAS with the DX513 five-bay expansion unit. It gives additional storage on the fly while being supported as if they were internal drives. You can easily expand your overall raw capacity to 56TB with 8TB drives.

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports ensure the connectivity to your network. You can set seven modes of failover and link aggregation depending on your switching setup and need for redundancy and increased throughput. 802.3ad dynamic setup is just one of the available, but probably the most important of the modes.

The addition of an eSATA port is something I love to see and it is my personal preferred method of connecting external storage. It is also the method of connecting the aforementioned DX513 expansion unit. The two USB 3.0 ports allows you to connect other storage drives, printers, or cameras.

The drive trays are tool and screwless, at least for 3.5-inch drives. If you wish to use the NAS with 2.5-inch drives, then you’ll need the included screws to mount them. Otherwise you just pull off the sides on the tray, place the hard disk inside and put them back. All done. Slide the trays back into your NAS and get started. Plug and Play.

Synology’s operating system is called DiskStationa Manager (DSM) and it is now in version 5.2. It is a really robust system that is easy to use and one that brings plenty of features. It also has built-in NVR server, capable of hosting up to 30 IP cameras (900 FPS @ 720p). Two camera licenses are included and more will have to be purchased separately.

Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust allow for seamless account integration with the rest of your equipment and also feature user home folders and Windows ACL. It doesn’t really matter how you want to connect it, you can.

The DS715 also comes with support for Synology Central Management System (CMS). CMS offers both flexibility and convenience for administrators, allowing them to manage all systems from a single point.

File sharing works with all major system, may it be Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. Included protocols are FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV among others.

The Cloud Station allows for easy backup from all your system to the DS715 NAS and it also supports Rsync, backup to external drives, other NAS devices, or public cloud offerings.

A minor thing, but one that I love, is that Synology included two RJ45 LAN cables with this unit. An LAN cable doesn’t cost much and it is really annoying to get a unit as cool as this and then have to head out again to get an LAN cable so you can setup your link aggregation. Not so here, everything you need to get started, except the hard drives, is included.

Linksys WRT1200AC AC1200 Dual-Band Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router Review

Introduction


Linksys is a well-known brand in the router business and it is a pleasure for me to take a look at their WRT1200AC router today. The WRT1200AC is a dual-band smart wi-fi router based around a powerful dual-core processor to provide great transfer speeds and reliability.

The design is a mix of a conventional box with a slight futuristic touch. It’s simple enough to please those who don’t want their router to stand out, yet it features enough distinctions for those who do want it to stand out. A great mixture of the two worlds and one that is striking similar to the WRT1900 router.

The front has individual LEDs for the WAN, LAN, eSATA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connections as well as one for the 2.4GHz and one for the 5GHz band. Each of the four gigabit ethernet ports also has their own LED to let you know what port is active and which isn’t.

The rear side features the aforementioned four LAN and one WAN port, all full gigabit to support modern faster than 100MB/s internet connections. The USB 3.0 port allows you to attach modern and fast storage while the combined USB 2.0 and eSATA port allows you to connect both legacy and fast storage. There’s both a reset and sync button as well as a dedicated power switch for when you want to turn the whole thing off.

The Linksys WRT1200AC has two high-performance antennas and supports beam-forming technology for the best possible connection to your wireless devices. Both bands work simultaneously like they should for combined N400 and AC849 Mbps connections.

The router has a lot of ventilation holes on both the top and bottom to ensure that the router is properly cooled even when tasked to the limits and when running in hot environments. The four large feet keep the router firmly in place and you don’t need to worry about it shifting its position even when a cable is pulled or plugged.

Inside the package you find everything you need to get going with a wireless Linksys experience, the router itself and its two antennas, an LAN cable to connect it to your internet connection, an AC/DC power adapter and manuals to get started with everything.

The WRT1200AC also comes with all the software based features you’ll want. The wireless signal is protected by WPA/WPA2 encryption and the unit comes with a built-in firewall, parental and guest control, as well as scheduling and more.

If you shouldn’t be happy with the Linksys system and rather have something more familiar, then your in luck. The unit is built to be compatible with the open source router software, OpenWRT.

ASUSTOR AS5102T 2-Bay Enthusiast NAS Review

Introduction


I was pretty excited when I heard that the ASUSTOR AS5102T 2-bay NAS was on the way for a spin on my test bench. I’ve seen, heard and read a lot about ASUSTOR and their features but never had the pleasure of a hands-on experience. This has changed from today and I’ll be giving this unit a thorough lookover and testing.

The AS5102T is categorized as an NAS for power-users to businesses, and I had no doubt about that from the moment I took it out of the box. The NAS is relative heavy for its size and it’s a result of the absolute awesome build-quality. The AS5102T is powered by an Intel Celeron 2.0 GHz quad-core processor which combines with a rich variety of multimedia output functionality to give you an optimal choice for both work and play.

The unit is built around an Intel Celeron 2.0GHz quad-core CPU with a burst speed up to 2.41GHz. The 2GB SO-DIMM DDR3L memory can be expanded to a maximum of 8GB in two modules, it can take two 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SSDs or HDDs of your choice and supports hot-swapping as well as easy migration to a new ASUSTOR NAS if this one ever should become too small. There is plenty of connection options with three USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two eSATA ports. One of the USB 3.0 ports is located at the front ‘inside’ the backup button for the same. A simple press of the key and the NAS will start to sync the drive with the specified location-based on your settings.sata, two gigabit ethernet ports,

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports support every possible setup from link aggregation to fail-over and dual-IP setups. The choice is yours. Another amazing feature is the direct output via HDMI 1.4a and S/PDIF. This allows you to connect the NAS directly to your TV, monitor, or audio system. No need for a dedicated HTPC. You can control it via a web interface, smartphone apps, or directly by attaching a keyboard and mouse to the unit. A true multimedia hub for all your photos, music and movies.

As mentioned above, you can control the AS5102T in multiple ways, but ASUSTOR adds one more to the list. They’ve also added an infrared receiver to the NAS and you can get this awesome little remote for it that works with the AS-6, AS-3, AS-2TE, AS50, AS51, and AS70 series. This is awesome, you can truly kickback and play all the media from your NAS in a convenient way.

With the newest version of KODI that was released just a few days prior to this review going live you’ll even be able to control the NAS and KODI with your normal TV remote. There are however two things you need for this to work, a TV that supports CEC function and an extra USB to CEC Adapter. But then it’s just plug-and-play assuming the TV has the CEC function turned on. Your ASUSTOR NAS is now fully integrated into your existing multimedia setup, awesome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV9OfBZVuyo

ASUSTOR also made sure that the unit is as eco-friendly and economical as possible. The system will only draw 17.7W in an average configuration compared to the 100-350W a PC easily can draw. The system will automatically enter sleep mode (Schedule S3) when needed and supports auto-standby for both internal and external disks. The 70mm fan is controlled by the system and only spins as fast as it is needed and I didn’t notice it at all during my time with the unit. You can also set your own custom power schedule with on, off, restart and sleep settings.

A really awesome feature that I didn’t expect to find was not only the LED Night Mode, but also that you’re able to customize what LEDs are turned on and off as well as how bright they should shine. The Night mode can be automatic or you can set your own schedule. The more I dive into the depth of this unit, the more I get impressed by it.

I previously mentioned that the unit felt heavy when I unpacked it and that is because it’s a full metal unit, well aside from the front panel and rubber feet, of course. The NAS features an aluminium casing along with a rust and corrosion resistant coating which combines with the metallic hard disk trays to fully make use of the natural cooling properties of metal. This significantly enhances the entire cooling ability of the system and it’s far superior for the job than plastic units who need bigger fans running at higher speeds to keep cool.

 

The full metal drive trays feature both a locking mechanism to prevent accidental ejection during operation as well as someone taking a drive with him when walking past the unit. Each tray has two LEDs directly built and the locking mechanism when you plug the trays into the unit is simply superb. Same goes when ejecting a drive again, it pops and slides out without a noise or any resistance. It just fits.

A premium device also needs a premium accessories bundle, and the AS5102T has that too. ASUSTOR was so kind to provide us with a remote as part of our NAS, but you’ll have to purchase that seperately if you wish to use a more traditional control of the built-in media player. They NAS also comes with two LAN cables so you instantly can take full advantage of both ports. While other NAS devices provide multiple LAN ports at times, they rarely come with more than one cable. It’s a nice touch from ASUSTOR to include one for each port.

The AS5102T has a tiny footprint with only 10.8cm width, 23cm depth, and 16.35cm height. It weighs about 2kg due to the use of superior metals over plastic and the generally great build quality.

 

ASUSTOR has a long list of apps ready for your mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, among them AiData, AiRemote, AiVides, AiDownload, AiMusic, AiFoto, AiSecure, and AiMaster. Everything looks to be covered with just the right app for each occasion.

ASUSTOR has one more amazing function that I’d like to tell a bit about before we move on and take a closer look at the device itself. The MyArchive function allows you to use hard disks as removable storage archives. Plug in an archive when you need it and swap it out for another one when it isn’t needed anymore, or just to cut on the power consumption. It’s as easy as plug and play and works by keeping any OS related files off the drives.

There is a limited amount of drive bays reserved for this function and in the case of the AS5102T it is one. Larger models allow for two bays to be used for the MyArchieve function. The lazy person can even buy additional disk trays to eliminate the need for screwing when replacing drives this way. This is also a very cost effective way of storing a lot of data, especially when we look at the Seagate Archive HDDs. The 8TB variant costs less than a 6TB WD NAS drive as we use in our tests, and that is an offer that is hard to resist. But keep in mind that these drives are heavily optimized for reading and will have bad writing performance compared to NAS drives.

While AiRemote and AiDownload will be some of the most used tools, the AiMaster is the one worth highlighting. Not only will it allow you to initialize your new NAS from your mobile device, it also allows you to generate the entire setup, change and modify it at any time anywhere. All you need is a networked connection to your NAS. We’ll take a closer look at just this aspect a bit later in the review.

ICY Dock Announced ICYCube MB561U3S-4SB 4-bay USB 3.0 & eSATA Enclosure

ICY DOCK is well-known for their drive enclosures and they’re always amazing. I’ve owned quite a few of them over the years and they’ve never let me down. Their newest device is an external drive enclosure and it looks to be no different as the MB561U3S-4SB 4-Bay external 2.5″ & 3.5″ HDD enclosure with SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and eSATA interface seems to have it all.

The new MB561U3S-4SB features both a USB 3.0 5Gbps and an eSATA 6Gbps interface, allowing you to choose which connection you prefer. The eSATA port will need to be connected to a controller that supports port multipliers, but there aren’t many that don’t these days. It also looks great with its solid aluminium structure and great looking drive trays. And while we’re speaking of drive trays, the new EZ-Tray design used in this unit is interchangeable with a lot of other ICY DOCK units, both internal and external, and effectively allows you to move the same tray with disk from unit to unit.

Keeping four mechanical hard drives cooled in an enclosure like this requires the help of a fan. ICY DOCK utilized an 80mm fan that’s connected to the fan controller on the rear. It has three settings, low, high, and automatic where it sets the rotation speed depending on the ambient temperature inside the enclosure. Using current 6TB drives and you can have up to 24GB of raw data in this small and great looking unit, not bad.

When ICY DOCK creates a unit like this, they always add something special. In this case it is the external mounted and detachable fan. This allows you to easily remove the turbine looking fan module and clean everything in a proper fashion.

Key Features:

  • Plug and play installation, no drivers required
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 with up to 5Gbps transfer speed
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0 interface
  • eSATA connection with up to 6 Gbps transfer speed (port-multiplier required)
  • New EZ-Tray system supporting both 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDD/SSD of all heights
  • Adjustable cooling fan with 3 speed settings (low, high, and auto)
  • Support largest capacity drives available on the market (6 TB)
  • Removable EZ-Tray design allows you to quickly swap out drives
  • Moderately illuminating white LED for power & drive activities
  • High grade aluminum alloy frame with detailed matte finish
  • Include 4x EZ-Trays which features shock absorbing technology to help protect your drives
  • Detachable 80mm ball bearing rear cooling fan provides easy maintenance
  • Integrated power supply, so big power bricks aren’t necessary
  • Rubber padded soles for enhanced stability
  • 3-year warranty

Thanks to ICY DOCK for providing us with this information.

Enermax Mighty Charger ECR301 & ECR 501 Card Reader and Front Panel Review

Introduction


It is rare that a chassis has all the front connection you want or need, especially if you need more than few USB ports and maybe an SD card reader. If you feel like that, then Enermax’s Mighty Charger ECR301 and ECR501 Card Reader and front panels might be just the right thing for you.

The ECR301 is the 3.5-inch model that naturally doesn’t have as many options as the bigger brother. Less volume is a natural limitation. It still packs a 5-in-1 multi-card reader that can access most mainstream cards such as CF, Micro SD, SD, RSMMC, MS, and M2.

Since cards aren’t for everybody, it also has a USB 2.0 Super Charge port with up to 2.4A charging power, three normal USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 and an eSATA port. There aren’t many storage mediums you can’t connect an arsenal like that at your disposal.

The bigger ECR501 5.25-inch model packs the same great features as the ECR301 but kicks it up another notch. The card reader has been extended to a 6-in-1 card reader that also takes Extreme Digital cards.

It has six USB 2.0 ports next to the USB 2.0 Super Charge, USB 3.0 and eSATA port. It packs even more features when turning it around, having the ability to mount both two 2.5-inch and one 3.5-inch drive into the enclosure.

That is a lot of expansion ability in a single expansion slot, probably the most you’ll find.

Addonics Announced Sapphire Combo Storage Drives

Addonics Technologies announced their new Sapphire Combo Blu-ray/HDD and Sapphire Combo DVD-RW/HDD external enclosures that combine optical and hard drive storage into one small package with one connection.

The new enclosures are perfect for use where only a single eSATA or USB 3.0 connection is available, and it would be equally great during reinitialization of systems.

The Blu-ray model is equipped with a Blu-ray player/DVD burner while the DVD model is equipped with a DVD burner. Both models will allow you to play movies or access data stored on all popular optical media and allow you to burn video or data onto optical discs. The integrated Snap-In Mobile Rack that allows any 3.5-inch SATA hard drive to be conveniently added or removed.

An added bonus is the AES 256-bit encryption trough the optional Addonics CipherUSB where no extra configuration of software is needed. Once encrypted, the information on the disc will be invisible in any ordinary Blu-ray or DVD/CD player.

The MSRP for the Blu-ray model is $269.00 while the DVD model is fairly cheaper at just $189.00.

Thanks to Addonics for providing us with this information

Netgear Announced ReadyNAS 3130 1U 4-Bay NAS

Netgear announced the new ReadyNAS 3130 Series Network Attached Storage with a 1U form factor for easy rack deployment in businesses of any size. With four bays, this NAS has a capacity up to 24 TB and the processor supports up to 200 simultaneous users making it especially suitable for virtualized environments.

The new four-bay ReadyNAS 3130 has dual Gigabit Ethernet for connection and two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and two eSATA for expansion and backup. The CPU is an Intel Atom C2338 Dual Core 1.7GHz with 2GHz turbo mode and the system comes with 2GB ECC UDIMM. With its new CPU, ReadyNAS 3130 is virtualization-ready with iSCSI support, thin provisioning capability, and interoperability with VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V.

ReadyNAS 3130 is available as diskless unit (RN3130) or populated with four 2TB drives (RN31342E). The new diskless edition is available worldwide at an MSRP of $1,499. ReadyNAS business-class products are backed by the NETGEAR 5-Year Limited Hardware Warranty, 5-Year Next Business Day Shipping for part replacement, and 24×7 Lifetime Technical Support.

 Thanks to Netgear for providing us with this information

ASUSTOR Adds 4 New Tower Models to 50T/51T Enterprise-Class Series

ASUSTOR has added 4 new models to their Tower series of enterprise-class NAS systems. They’re all based on the latest Intel Celeron CPUs with boost function and come with easily upgradeable memory as well as Citrix and Hyper-V certifications and the new ADM 2.3 operating system with SMB 2.0 support.

The four new models are the AS5008T, AS5010T, AS5108T, and AS5110T, where the AS5x08T models have eight bays and the AS5x10T models have ten bays. They equally allow for memory upgrades up to 8GB, have four Gigabit Ethernet ports, three USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports as well as two eSATA.

“Enterprise users have always required increased productivity and simple management. Using this as an objective, ASUSTOR has chosen to use CPUs with hardware acceleration functions allowing for smoother multitasking while the meticulously developed ADM operating system provides an intuitive and simple management interface. No matter if it is system expansion or migration, ADM is able to significantly simplify maintenance and management for IT professionals,” said Johnny Chen, Product Manager at ASUSTOR.

The AS5008T and AS5010T are built around an Intel Celeron 2.41GHz dual-core processors and have 1GB of SO-DIMM DDR3L memory while the AS5108T and AS5110T models come equipped with an Intel Celeron 2.0 GHz quad-core processors and 2GB of SO-DIMM DDR3L memory.

The AS5108T and AS5110T also feature LCD panels and configuration keys to execute system initialization and quickly view basic system information. Additionally, they feature disk tray locks to avoid accidentally pushing disk tray buttons and releasing hard disks during operation. The lock is only to prevent accidental ejection and all you’ll need to unlock it is a flat-head screwdriver instead of some special key or tool.

The new NAS devices should be available soon at your local ASUSTOR dealer.

Thanks to ASUSTOR for providing us with this information

Shuttle Released XH97V Barebone Mini-PC with 4k Support

The European subsidiary of Shuttle has released their latest and most powerful Mini-PC Barebone system, the Shuttle XH97V. Powered by the Intel H97 chipset and the LGA1150 socket for fourth and fifth generation Intel Core processors and having a volume of just 3.5 liters, make these new Barebones great for a multitude of scenarios.

Just because something is small, doesn’t mean that it can’t pack a punch. Shuttle is a master in this area and they’ve packed this tiny 240 x 200 x 72 mm slim X-type chassis with basic features and expansion options to meet both 4K media presentations, as well as office productivity. This is also the first Shuttle mini-PC barebone to support simultaneous use of up to three displays out of the box.

The front ports are hidden behind moveable panels to offer a better dust protection as well as giving the unit a cleaner look. Opening up the panels expose the two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, and there’s also two 3.5mm audio jacks for headphones and microphone. It has room for an optical disk drive (ODD) with a max height of 12.7mm, seen at the top of the photo.

Users who don’t need an optical drive can use the bay for an additional 2.5-inch drive. Speaking of 2.5-inch drives, the Shuttle XH97V can hold a 12.7 mm  and a 9.5mm drive beside the optional one in the ODD tray allowing you to install up to three SATA3 2.5-inch drives in this tiny unit.

The rear of the Barebone offers just as much connectivity as the front with two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. Shuttle also added an eSATA2 and an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. The Ethernet is powered by the Realtek 8111G Ethernet controller. The three 3.5mm jacks for the 5.1 surround sound are run by the Realtek ALC 662 HD Audio Codec.

There are two DisplayPort 1.2 and one HDMI 1.4 ports for up to three simultaneous display connections. The DisplayPorts can display 4k content in 60Hz while the HDMI port does it at half the refresh rate; 30Hz.

There is also a COM port, clear CMOS button and a DC IN for the power brick. The Kensington-style lock is cleverly placed to pass through both parts of the chassis, allowing Shuttle to use thumbscrews for the chassis and still being intrusion safe.

The motherboard inside is a standard mITX form-factor and it can handle up to 16GB memory over the two SO-DIMM slots. The maximum memory speed will depend on what CPU you use. The H97 chipset and LGA1150 (H3) socket gives you a wide variety of options from Core i3 / i5 / i7 processors as well as Pentium and Celeron models with a max TDP of 65W.

The XH97V doesn’t stop there and offers another two mini PCI Express expansion slots, one half-sized and one full-sized. The half-sized supports PCIe 2.0 and USB 2.0 and is intended for use with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards. The full-sized also supports SATA3 and can be used for mSATA drives as well.

Shuttle only used solid capacitors in this system and the processor cooling uses an integrated heat-pipe system with two 60mm fans. It also has an Always-On jumper that when set will make the system automatically boot after power loss.

The new Shuttle Barebone XH97V is available at retailers across Europe now or very soon and it has an MSRP €193,00 exclusive VAT. At some retailers, it’s already down to €186.47 inclusive VAT before it even has arrived in their storage.

Thanks to Shuttle for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Shuttle

 

Synology Launches DiskStation DS415+ 4-Bay Quad-Core NAS

Synology has launched their newest NAS today, the DiskStation DS415+. This is a 4-bay NAS targeted at small and medium sized businesses as well as enthusiast home users. Built with a Quad-core Intel Atom processor that runs at 2.4GHz and a hardware encryption engine, this NAS should deliver in all situations. This is Synology’s first desktop DiskStation model to include both a quad-core processor and AES-NI hardware encryption engine.

“Thanks to its best-in-class combination of hardware specs and DSM software integration, DS415+ handles data transfer and encryption at blazingly fast speeds, bringing peace of mind to businesses or individuals who wish to safeguard their data while maintaining excellent performance,” said Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology Inc.

The new 4-bay NAS has 2 GB DDR3 memory that runs at an unspecified speed. It has two USB 3.0 ports on the rear side and one USB 2.0 port on the front. It also has an eSATA port, and that is a big bonus in my opinion. Many manufacturers have started to cut it away, but I use it quite often on my own NAS’ and miss it when it isn’t there.

It wouldn’t be a NAS without the network ports and as such it has 2 Gigabit RJ45 ports that support Link Aggregation and Failover modes. It of course supports the current 6 TB Hard drives to give you the maximum storage capabilities and it can handle both 3½ and 2½ inch drives. The file system itself allows for a size up 108 TB, but that requires the extension devices.

This NAS promises performance you’d otherwise only find in the enterprise series of servers. The Synology DS415+ can archive read and write speeds that exceed 228 MB/s and 233 MB/s in unencrypted mode. With the hardware encryption enabled, the NAS still performs great at reading and writing with 232 MB/s and 206 MB/s.

The DS415+ doesn’t have a heavy power consumption either, so you don’t have to compromise between running costs and performance level. It only requires 17.3 watts with the hard drives hibernating and peaks at 46.2 watts during maximum usage. The two 92mm system fans should barely be audible at 20.2 dB(A) and the devices come with a 2-year warranty.

The new Synology DS415+ NAS is shipping globally now and local retailers should have stock soon. Having a look around the different web shops, some have started to take pre-orders already and have set the estimated time of arrival on three weeks. As usual, the German shops and the Geizhals price-comparison site are some of the first to list the new products, and as such it can be found on German e-Tailors for just €420.

We aren’t so lucky here in the U.K, unless you want to get screwed from the looks of it. Amazon UK has the device in stock via a couple of third party merchants, it however costs a heavy £543.13 and up. I’m sure we’ll see some more reasonable prices as soon as the stock arrives at the other shops too. This might just be a few trying to take advantage of the situation. I couldn’t find it at any of my known U.S. sites at the time of writing.

As a little bonus information, I can add that Synology have also released the latest Beta version of their DiskStation Manager today. Version 5.1 Beta can be downloaded and tested from the official page, however users should keep in mind that it has the beta tag for a reason. It might contain undiscovered bugs, but also a long range of new features and apps that will enrich every Synology owners experience.

Thank you Synology for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Synology

ASRock X99 Extreme 6 Motherboard Pictured

A week ago we saw the new X99 workstation motherboard from ASRock, the X99 WS. Now it has become time to see the gaming variant of this board, called the ASRock X99 Extreme 6.

The board of course supports the  Haswell-E processor and has eight DRR4 memory slot that supports up to 128GB of memory. There is an onboard USB port at the top right and 3 dual USB2 headers at the bottom of the board. Two USB3 headers are located above the ten SATA3 6GB/s ports. Onboard power- and reset-buttons as well as debug LED are at the bottom right corner. We can also spot the by now well known Pure Sound 7 chip. It also has an Ultra M.2 slot, three PCIe x16 slot that support SLI and CrossFire setups and two PCIe x1 slots.

Additional power can be supplied to the board by a molex connecter below the CPU area.

On the IO area we can spot two USB 2.0 ports, a combined PS/2 port for mouse and keyboard, six USB 3.0 ports, Dual Gigabit RJ45 ports, eSATA and 7.1 Audio jacks. Close to everything you could need.

ASRock X99 Extreme 6 will be officially released next week, where we’ll find out the exact specifications and price.

Thank you Expreview for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Expreview .

EVGA Reveals Their Z97 Haswell-Refresh Compatible Motherboards

EVGA has just revealed their lineup of new motherboards that are hitting the market along side the launch of Intel’s Haswell refresh. The new boards are pretty much what you would have expected from EVGA, and they’re actually very similar to their EVGA Z87 Classified and EVGA Z87 Stinger, but of course they’ve now been bumped up to support the latest Z97 chipset.

The EVGA Z97 Stinger Mini-ITX features a 10-layer PCB, supports to DDR3 2666MHz DIMMs, four SATA 6Gbps ports, 1 x PCI-e x16 and 5.1 Creative Core 3D audio.

The EVGA Z97 FTW features an ATX form factor, 4 x PCI-e x16 slots, eight SATA 6Gbps ports, four DDR3 DIMM slots, 1 x M.2 connector, dual bios and voltage read points, but no Creative Audio chip like the mini-ITX model.

The flagship of the range is the EVGA Z97 Classified, featuring four DDR3 DIMM slots, eight SATA 6Gbps ports, five PCI-e x16 slots, dual Intel network controllers, one mPCIe slot, Creative Core3d Audio, triple BIOS and support for LucidLogix Virtu MVP 2.

The range starts at $199 for the Stinger right up to $379 for the Classified, not cheap, but they do look pretty awesome, so we look forward to seeing how they perform in the coming weeks and month.

Thank you DigitalStorm for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of DigitalStorm.

Teratrend (SilverStone) TS432U 4 Bay USB3.0 RAID Enclosure Review

Introduction


Just over two months ago, I had a look at the TS231U 2-bay external RAID enclosure from Teratrend – a sub-division of Silverstone. Whilst I loved the refined looks of the metal chassis and the rather simple setup process and overall the concept of what it does, I was sadly left a little disheartened over the slow speeds experienced – especially with the unit setup for RAID0 operation.

Teratrend naturally wanted to make amends on the impression that the TS231U left me with and after taking on board the feedback I’ve had to give them, they sent me out a unit of a higher calibre. The TS432U that I’m going to have a look at today, as the title suggests, is a four bay unit. Whilst the TS432U as doubles the potential storage capacity that the TS213U could handle, there are more RAID options to play with and a LCD display on the front to make configuring and maintaining the unit far easier than before.

Like NAS systems that I have a delve into, four bay RAID enclosures like this unit have a large number of advantages over smaller two bay units, however there is one particular advantage that stands out over the rest. This is RAID5. For those that are totally clued up on RAID, there are eight standard levels of RAID, however a number of these are not commonly used. RAID5, as mentioned, is a key RAID level that many opt for as it’s not only provides data spanning across multiple drives but it also allows for the data to still be accessed if a single drive were to fail. For the purpose of this review I will focus on RAID0, 10, 5 and JBOD for performance comparison.

Before I take a closer look at the TS432U, those that have read my review on the TS231U will note a large number of similarities between the two units, in-fact bar the addition of an extra two drive bays (and the consequent RAID options that come with this), the only feature that this unit has over the other is a LCD display on the front.

With this drive having two slightly different designs (either with a screen or without), Teratrend have kept packing costs down by using the same box for both SKUs of the four bay unit. To distinguish the units apart once they have been packaged, a sticker is placed on the front of the box to indicate which unit is inside. Alongside the unit is a IEC kettle lead, USB 3.0 and eSATA cable and a CD with the user manual and system utilities on.

Teratrend (SilverStone) TS231U 2 Bay USB3.0 RAID Enclosure Review

Introduction


The storage markets are growing rapidly at the moment and this is certainly clear from the large number of home and small office users that are jumping onto the NAS bandwagon to increase their storage capacity to satisfy their needs. For some people though the prospect of setting up network devices is still either a daunting process or even more simply, too much hassle. Having a solution that is virtually plug and play is still the main choice of many users and as a result there is a market flooded by USB enclosures for both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives.

Teratrend is a name that some may look at and turn away as its not recognised, but the sooner its realised that their a sub-brand of SilverStone – the same people of manufacture many great looking chassis and power supplies as well as coolers, the attention is soon brought back with the prospect of a high quality, well build unit.

As storage is not the main focus of SilverStone, the Teratrend brand was brought in to distinguish the new line of products a few years ago and since then we have seen a number of two and four bay options that take the effort out of storage expansion with say to use and simple devices that look good at the same time on any desk.

Like many other drive enclosures on the market, the contents are rather simple and alongside the enclosure itself we find a kettle lead, eSATA and USB3.0 data cables and a simple manual that outlines the RAID selection and drive installation process.