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LaCie d2 Network
Affordable Nas for fashionistas
Review For anyone technically minded and with time to spare, there are numerous network-attached storage (NAS) solutions available at low cost. However, there is a fast-growing market for the ‘appliance’ Nas that you plug in, switch on and use straight away on your home or small office network with a minimum of configuring. The d2 Network from LaCie tries its best to fit into this latter category and mostly pulls it off.
LaCie's d2 Network
The d2 Network is built around a single hard disk in a compact (160x44x173mm) metal case weighing 1.5kg. We tested the 1TB model, although 500GB and 1.5TB versions are also available. In keeping with LaCie’s love of the sci-fi look to its product designs, the case of the d2 Network was created by Neil Poulton (www.neilpoulton.com) with a singular practical purpose in mind: the grooves on either side are intended to help dissipate heat from the device without the need for a fan. This is a cute marketing idea but single-disk external drives are usually fanless anyway because they tend not to generate enough heat to need one.
The d2 Network comes with a base stand for vertical positioning, if preferred. The manual indicates that you can also simply rest the drive flat on one side, or rack-mounted with other d2 drives, although it is not clear how this might affect the purported heat-sink action of the ribbed casing.
The external power supply plugs into the back, where the device connectivity ports are also located. The d2 Network can connect to an Ethernet hub at speeds up to 1Gb/s, and the device comes supplied with a compatible CAT 5E cable. Even though most home and small office networks are unlikely to run at gigabit Ethernet speeds – certainly 99.9% of all broadband modem routers are only megabit devices – LaCie is doing the right thing by ensuring longevity for the product.
Our speed tests, using a variety of benchmark utilities and real-world challenges, revealed a reasonably good performance. Read-write speeds across gigabit Ethernet via a switch were roughly equivalent to a third of the speed of our computer's internal hard disk drive, and only marginally slower than a Seagate USB 2.0 drive attached directly to the computer. The d2 Network performed particularly well in random read-write benchmarks, less so in sequential data tests.
Lie it flat if you are worried about knocking it over
USB 2.0 and eSATA ports are also provided but these are not designed for extending the d2 Network's storage. Rather, they allow you to connect portable drives for uploading their data to the d2 Network directly. The process is quite slick, too: just plug in a drive and press the big blue button on the front of the unit to trigger an immediate upload. This copies over everything on the external device and seems ideal for camera use. You can also use these ports to connect another high-capacity hard drive, such as a d2 Quadra, and back up the d2 Network to it.