LaCie Ethernet Disk mini–Home Edition Review: Basic, Bargain-Basement NAS

LaCie Ethernet Disk mini
If you just want a cheap media-serving and Web-sharing solution, you’ll get it with the LaCie Ethernet Disk mini–Home Edition. As with the Editors’ Choice HP MediaSmart Server EX470, the hardware, which is LaCie’s, and the software (HipServ from Axentra) come from different sources, but LaCie needs to do a much better job of integrating the two. Also, the dismal installation process needs vast improvement.

Still, the slick HipServ software offers better sharing and media serving than Windows Home Server (the MediaSmart’s OS). The HipServ portal combines private and public features. You can publish content and restrict access to users with accounts on your NAS. Via a contact database, you can also assign shares to others and even send e-mails inviting people to see new content. Considering the unit’s low cost, performance is adequate, varying from an average write throughput of 14.1 Mbps with 32MB files to 10 Mbps with 1GB files. Read speed went from a little over 18 Mbps to 12.5.

LaCie’s offering costs far less than HP’s, but relying on just one drive limits expandability, and more important, redundancy. And while I like HipServ, it isn’t nearly as polished as Windows Home Server, has fewer backup features, doesn’t integrate as well with Windows PCs, and offers no remote-control capability. For folks who can’t spend more than $200 on home network storage and need only a single-disk storage bin, the LaCie might be the way to go. But if you need data redundancy, look elsewhere.

LaCie Ethernet Disk mini–Home Edition Review
Price Range: $199 direct
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