Iomega has the basics covered with the StorCenter ix4-300d, but with competitors loading devices up with faster hardware and a wider range of features it's up against some tough competition. It'll do the job, no doubt, but with a little more investment, you could get a lot more.
Today we run an eye over Iomega’s StorCenter ix4-300d, a four-bay NAS server positioned at prosumers and small businesses seeking data backup and sharing at a reasonable price.
We’ve reviewed a variety of Iomega NAS devices over the last few years, particularly consumer-targeted devices and have generally found them to be competent – Iomega covers the basics plus a little more, without delivering the bells and whistles seen on competing devices from the likes of QNAP, Synology and ASUSTOR.
The StorCenter ix4-300d follows that same line, and as a business storage device, you can argue that bells and whistles are unnecessary. But in an age where competitors making significant improvements to both hardware and software specifications, the StorCenter ix4-300d is in danger of looking a little dowdy. It’s powered by the dual-core Marvel Armada XP 1.3GHz processor, which is supported by 512MB RAM – a humble choice compared to the increasing number of Intel Atom-based rivals emerging in the last 18 months, but good enough to handle basic file transfers and data protection.
Open up the box and you’ll discover:
- The Iomega StorCenter ix4-300d NAS
- Ethernet cable
- Power supply
- Quick Start Guide
- Personal Cloud Setup Guide
The device itself looks professional, but is clearly designed for small business use – there’s no real attempt to woo consumers with flashy aesthetics – we’re talking strictly business. A front LED display allows basic monitoring and a small number of settings to manage the device without the need to access the ix4′s management console – convenient if you’re located near to the device.
Whilst the ix4-300d may not be positioned at the power end of the NAS market, there’s no skimping on network specifications, as Iomega supply twin Gigabit Ethernet ports on the device, supporting link aggregation and failover. USB 3.0 is also supported on this refresh, with a single front port available for storage connection, plus two slower USB 2.0 sockets in support. eSATA enclosure owners will need to look elsewhere, as there’s no eSATA port to be found.
Headline? From a hardware perspective, the StorCenter ix4-300d covers the basics, befitting its price, but there are stronger choices out there that media enthusiasts in particular may prefer to invest in. This one isn’t going to set the heart racing.
Installation is particularly easy – one of the simplest we’ve reviewed, which Iomega must take credit for. Gone are the days of installation CDs – once the ix4 is powered on and connected to your network, simply visit http://setup.lenovoemc.com/ in a browser and your device will be discovered on the network.
From a features perspective, again, all of the foundation tools you’d expect to see in a decent network attached storage device are present. There’s full network file sharing support for Windows, Mac and Linux, JBOD and RAID 0, 5, 10 storage pooling across the ix4-300d’s four bays, FTP server and iSCSI support too. Network backup for both Windows and Apple (via Time Machine support) is available and you’ll find DLNA media sharing support (via the ever present Townky Media Server), an on board photo viewer with automatic uploading to Flickr and Facebook plus an iTunes Server. It’s a reasonable selection, but there’s little new news – these are the same core features we’ve seen on NAS devices for the last 2-3 years, and again, as competitors start to build out comprehensive app libraries to support a range of open source applications and tools (such as WordPress, Plex, Joomla, XBMC and more), Iomega really needs to figure out a more competitive offer – even at the lower end of the market.