Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d Review: Great Performance, Great Features
At a Glance
The Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d is a fast, fairly well-designed six-bay NAS box sporting many of the advanced features in network-attached storage that have emerged over the past several years. It's a tad unusual in that it mixes IT-type features such as management via the unit's LCD display with consumer-oriented perks such as support for social media sites Facebook and Flickr. And it's not cheap: As of March 23, 2012, its price was $1765 when packed with 8TB of drives (or $899 without any drives).
Flip open the front cover of the PX6-300d, and you'll find six slide-out drive trays. You secure the drives in the trays via screws, so they fall under the heading of user-serviceable, not quick-change. The back of the box has dual ethernet connectors with failover support in case one connection fails, but the ports don't support aggregation for more speed. Iomega includes two USB 3.0 ports, but no eSATA, which is unusual in a box of this price. The omission of eSATA may be an issue for buyers who want to use existing eSATA drives to back up the NAS box.
The PX6-300d's Linux-based LifeLine operating system is one of the few that comes close to matching the breadth of features available from the top-of-the-line NAS boxes from Synology and QNAP. It has an attractive design, provides animations to complement the configuration tools, and is easy to navigate. Features include DLNA-certified media serving, local backup, online backup to both Amazon S3 and Mozy, support for Time Machine and iSCSI, and onboard copy operations. The box also supports video surveillance--both local and over the Internet via the Axis Video Hosting service. In addition to handling backup, Iomega provides a Personal Cloud service that lets you share files easily across the Web. It uses Iomega's servers as a portal, but you can also access the box via normal ftp and http, which makes this a convenient feature.
With its latest firmware revisions, the PX6-300d, which sports a whopping 2GB of memory and a 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525 dual-core CPU, has significantly improved its performance. In RAID 5 mode, the box wrote our 10GB of mixed data and folders at 48.2 megabytes per second, and read the same file mix at 55.9 MBps. With a single large 10GB file, it wrote at 77.1 MBps and read at a very respectable 91 MBps. Those numbers are two to three times better than the ones we saw with last year's firmware, so if you already own a PX6-300d, by all means update.
The PX6-300D is fairly inexpensive, even when compared to most five-bay models in our 11-model roundup of NAS boxes. With good performance and features, it's a great choice for companies that want the capacity but don't need an eSATA port on board.