Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ v2
Without drives, the $400 (as of March 23, 2012) Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ v2 is very inexpensive for a well-constructed four-bay NAS box. But add two 1TB drives (as tested, which brings the price up to $800), and factor in its poky performance, and the box's value becomes a less clear proposition.
The ReadyNAS NV+ v2 has a single USB 2.0 port on its front, accompanied by a quick-copy button. Beneath that, a swing-open door reveals the four nonlocking drive bays; everything is composed of solid metal, but the absence of locks makes this box an inappropriate choice for businesses. A small, two-line status display sits at the bottom of the device; touch the power button once to see the unit's IP address and capacity, and keep an eye on the display for other pertinent messages.
The back of the unit is home to a single gigabit ethernet port and two USB 3.0 ports. The box lacks an eSATA port, which may kill the deal if you want to use an existing eSATA box to back up the NV+ v2.
Though the ReadyNAS Dashboard HTML interface is both attractive and intuitive, the ReadyNAS has only a modest selection of features. The NV+ v2 supports multiple users and shared folders, is DLNA-certified for streaming multimedia, and works with the Mac's Time Machine backup service. The biggest lack is Rsync or something similar for off-site backup, though you may back up across the local network to a local IP address.
The NV+ v2 also has Netgear's Drobo-like X-RAID2 automatic RAID, which allows you to add drives without first backing up (though you should back up anyway) and optimizes the amount of storage used for data redundancy.
With a 1.6GHz Marvell Armada 300 CPU and 256MB of memory on board, the ReadyNAS NV+ v2 powered its way to mediocre performance numbers in our recent roundup of 11 NAS boxes. It managed a decent 85.8 megabits per second reading a single 10GB file, but only 37 MBps writing it. Presented with a 10GB mix of files and folders, it read them at 36.8 MBps and wrote them at 25.9 MBps. Considering its CPU, the ReadyNAS NV+ v2 should be capable of better numbers, so future operating system upgrades may improve performance. (Netgear says that it is looking into these performance issues.)
As matters stand, the ReadyNAS NV+ v2 covers most of the basics, streams media well, and is comparatively affordable. That makes it a bargain if you don't need great overall performance or off-site backup.
Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ v2
Four bays and USB 3.0 highlight this NAS box that's shy on software features and performance, but easy on the wallet.
- USB 3.0 ports
- Four drive bays
- Lacks an eSATA port
- Mediocre write performance