Out with the DVD box, in with a NAS device for storing digital video and more

You can store a bunch of space-hogging video files on your PC. But unless you plan never to watch a new movie or TV show again, you’re going to run out of space. We live in a high-def world. It’s great that an increasing number of devices is able to handle megapixels upon megapixels, but the downside to the resolution boom is a corresponding explosion in data storage requirements. Your computer isn’t really built for that purpose.

Sure, you can add an internal hard drive to your desktop PC — in theory. Depending on the make and model, you might have a few options for expansion. But the construction of desktop and laptop PCs can make this task anywhere from fairly easy to dang near impossible.

You know what’s not impossible to work with? A network storage device. Depending on its design, you might not even need a single tool to access its drive bays. Pop the cover, slide in a new drive (or drives!), and slap the cover back on — the built-in software on your network storage device initializes your drive for you. All you have to do is sit back and start finding movies to copy over.

Easy RAID support is another area where NAS devices deliver a smoother storage setup than, say, your desktop PC’s internal drive or external hard drives. Some desktop systems don’t support arranging hard drives in a RAID array. Laptops don’t even begin to support RAID. And even if your desktop supports it, you can’t create a new a RAID array out of your primary hard drive and a new drive without first wiping the data off both. Goodbye, Windows installation. Goodbye files. Hello annoyance.

Setting up a RAID array on a NAS device is a no-brainer. You’ll need to reformat (that is, erase) your NAS box’s drives, but you can always move files from the NAS device to your PC temporarily. There aren’t any files critical to the NAS device’s operation on the drives themselves. And if you desire, you can always remove a NAS device’s original hard drives and install two brand-new ones instead. You’ll have your RAID array up in minutes, which would be an impossible task if you pulled your primary hard drive out of your desktop PC.

NAS is the ultimate storage solution for a networked home. It has the capacity, scalability, and data security features you need, and every computer in the household can take advantage of it — even over the Internet. Give NAS a try before your PC’s hard disk is full to the brim.

[ This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of PCWorld. ]

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