Should I buy an NAS200

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Network Storage Devices' started by smapdi, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. smapdi

    smapdi Network Guru Member

    Newegg is selling this thing for $115 and I was thinking of using it as a backup system for all my media and photos. I heard that it's pretty bad in terms of speed but that it might be improved with 3rd party firmware. Should I get it and hope something is released soon or should I save my money for something else?
  2. jac_goudsmit

    jac_goudsmit Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    It depends...

    The Beta 71 release of the new firmware increases the speed from about 4MB/sec to 6MB/sec (when using non-journalled mode i.e. ext2 filesystem) but that is about the fastest you'll ever get because that's how fast the DMA controller appears to be. If you're looking for something speedy, the NAS200 is not for you.

    But if you're looking for something that's easy to hack: basically the NAS200 is a headless 486 PC running Linux at 150MHz so it will run many applications without even needing to recompile them. On the other hand, many embedded applications such as OpenWRT and Unslung are currently incompatible with the NAS200 because they were written for MIPS or ARM processors. Eventually someone may recompile them for the 486 but for now they're not much use on a NAS200: the hardware is just too different.

    So, currently there is not really any alternative firmware, but that's just a matter of time. It's really easy to download the Linksys source code tarball and build a working firmware from it, and they made it really easy to make modifications e.g. to run a Telnet daemon (see my article on the NSLU2 Linux website and the thread I started about it elsewhere in this forum).

    I'm working on some other improvements, e.g. running startup scripts and applications from the hard disk, ext2 support for the hard disk, dropbear instead of telnet, and others.

    Will the NAS200 work for backups? Absolutely! Will it work for media playback over UPnP? Sure. Is it perfect? Definitely not, but most importantly: is it easy to to improve? Heck yeah!

  3. bigclaw

    bigclaw Network Guru Member

    Micro Center actually had the D-Link DNS-323 2-drive NAS enclosure on sale for $119 after rebate a couple of weeks ago, and I picked one up. It was at the same price point as the NAS200 and two to three times as fast. I was able to saturate my 100Mbps network; the reviews suggest that the speed can be a little higher still with gigabit Ethernet.

    The DNS-323 is also a Linux box with hard drives attached. It has a community with custom firmware/software already.

    I wanted to stick to the Linksys NAS200 because Linksys has served me well, but an equivalently priced DNS-323 just looked like a better deal.
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