Maxtor Shared Storage II 1Terabyte Network Hard Drive
Reviewed by: Makaveli
Reviewed on: June 27, 2007
Price: $499.99 USD
1 Terabyte or 1,000 Gigabytes of storage...imagine the things you could do with that amount of storage space. You could keep your families pictures, movies, music and files all in one convenient location, accessible to your whole family all in one convenient device. Just a few short years ago 1 gigabyte was considered a large hard drive. My, how times have changed. Now anything less than a couple hundred gigabytes of storage is not considered to be a large amount of storage. With the newest 8 and 10 megapixel cameras out on the market, the file size for pictures is always increasing, so naturally your storage needs to do the same. This product at 1,000 gigabytes may well fill that need…for now!
Last year, Seagate bought Maxtor and ever since, the two hard drive heavyweights have produced innovative products and continue to strive in being a leader in the industry. When two high caliber manufacturers team up, you know that good things usually transpire and hopefully this Shared Storage II turns out to be one of those products.
The box was much larger and heavier than I anticipated. On the front of the box, you’ll see a picture of a couple apparently having a great time while using the drive on the network. Also, the sticker on the bottom informs you that while available in both 320 and 500 gigabyte models , we are using the 1,000 gigabyte model. More is always better. The back and sides of the box show some of the features of the drive and really give you a good feel for what you’re about to experience.
The outer layer that you see is a shell for the actual box that holds the goods. The box that comes out is navy blue and has the Maxtor logo displayed on the top.
Once you open the box, you’ll see the drive secured in place with plastic holders on either side. Below the drive, you’ll find a box labeled “Accessories” which is where you’ll find the software CD, quick start guide, and all the cables you need to make this thing work.
Now let’s take a look at the included accessories. You get the 1,000GB drive, an Ethernet cable, a power cable, software CD, quick start guide, and the one year limited warranty.
The drive itself is 5.4 inches tall, 8.5 inches long and 3.9 inches wide, so it’s not going to be taking up a lot of room. The drive is covered with navy blue aluminum and has two pieces of rubber on the sides that probably do some noise dampening as well as protect the drive. The Maxtor logo is etched into these rubber side walls of the drive. The front of the drive has a small strip of aluminum mesh that has cut outs for LEDs to flash messages to the user. The back of the drive has a fan that is roughly 60mm, which helps ventilate the drive. Finally, the back is where you have the power button, power port, Ethernet port, and two USB 2.0 ports for printer sharing and more.
Now let’s plug this in and see how it works!
Installing the drive was extremely easy because all you have to do is set it next to your router, plug in the power cable, and plug in the Ethernet cable from the drive to a free port on the router. When that’s all set up and ready, power up the device by pushing the power button on the back of the drive.
After you have the hardware installed, put in the software CD and follow the on screen instructions to install Maxtor’s “EasyManage” software.
For me, this was the most difficult part. Once you get the program installed, you’ll be prompted to set up the administrative rights. After starting the program, a pop-up asks you to set this up by clicking the “Manage” button. After you click the button, your internet browser will open and connect to the drive’s IP address and give you a bunch of options to configure your drive.
When the browser opens, it automatically directs you to do the quick setup, which is very easy. First, you have to set the date, time and location. Then you’ll be prompted to enter the desired name of the drive, workgroup it belongs in, and you’ll also setup the administrative password at this time.
The options you have in the browser are to set up the accounts, permissions, folder management, manage digital content, and system status. The first thing I did was setup a guest account, which couldn’t have been easier. I made the account and modified its permissions to folders on the drive. For example, I made a folder named “Movies” which is where I am going to put all of my movies. I made this folder a read-only folder for guests because I don’t want them changing anything.
Throughout my configuration, I tried to do everything in the browser, which was a really bad idea. I found that the best way to make an account was in the EasyManage program. So what I did was created a private account named “Nick1” and I set a password for it. Once I was done, the program made a shortcut on my desktop so that I could double-click it, enter the password and see everything the folder has within it.
To backup and restore your information, the EasyManage software has two icons, one for each operation. It is literally a few clicks and you’re set to go. To backup, the program asked me if I wanted to set an automatic backup day of the week or if I was just doing it once. Scheduled backups are always nice because it ensures your information will be up to date and current if anything does happen to your computer. I selected to back up roughly 100GB of information and I told it to only backup this one time.
Instead of restoring, I manually dragged and dropped my data back onto my computer after I reformatted my hard drive and it worked flawlessly. But the restore feature did just that when I used the option, so I was glad that it was very easy to do.
The one thing you might be wondering about is how to set up the RAID 1 option. To do this, you’ll have to go back into the browser menu and they have an option that tells you your options. By default, you are set on “Spanning” which is just a normal hard drive. You can set it on RAID 1, which is mirroring, but you only have 500GB of space if you do it that way because inside the box are two 500GB hard drives optimized for mirroring.
The drive is setup now, and to set it up on other computers you just have to install the EasyManage software and connect to the designated account to have their privileges. I made a family folder on each of the computers so that everyone can use the folder for anything. Both my parents and I each made a backup folder to store important information.
The other thing I wanted to do was hook my TiVo up to the drive so that I could access it from the TiVo and be able to watch my movies and listen to music with the TiVo. It was actually rather difficult because I had to download the TiVoServer program and I had to enter in the IP address of the drive into the TiVo so that I could find it. I had some difficulties getting the TiVo to find the drive but once it did, it was a breeze.
|Capacity (Model #)||1TB (STM310004SDAB0G-RK / N01R010)|
|Operating Temp||5C to 35C (41F to 95F)|
|Dimensions||5.4 x 3.9 x 8.5 inches (136 x 97.5 x 217mm)|
|AC Voltage||100-240 VAC|
|Input Frequency||47-63 Hz AC|
|Compatibility||UPnP™ Designed to DLNA guidelines|
To test this drive, I’m going to work with every major feature and see how everything works. I’m going to report on how well the drive streams data and how well it backs up and restores. My computer is down in the basement and the drive is two floors up sitting next to the router, so I am connected to the router via my Linksys wireless card. After the wireless testing, I'll be testing the hard drive when it's hardwired to my computer directly. I'll be transfering 10MB, 100MB, and 500MB files to the drive while it's wireless and wired to see how much of a difference it makes.
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Processor
- Abit IN9 32X-Max Wi-Fi Motherboard
- Mushkin XP2-6400 (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 Memory
- eVGA 7950GT KO Video Card
- Cooler Master 750watt Power Supply
- Western Digital 250GB IDE Hard Drive
- Western Digital 160GB SATA 3.0GB/s Hard Drive
- Seagate 80GB IDE Hard Drive
- LG DVD-R DL Burner
- Windows XP Media Center 2005
- Turtle Beach Montego DDL Sound Card
- Enermax Uber Chakra ATX Full Tower Case
- Linksys Wireless-G Card & Router
During this 10MB/100MB/500MB test I am going to be timing how long it took to transfer the files via wireless and wired. Lower is better in all tests and results are in seconds.
When I backed up 100GB of data I did it twice; once with my Linksys Wireless-G card and once with my gigabit LAN port. The drive uses an auto-switching capability to get optimal transfer speeds. I recorded how long it took to transfer the 100GB of data to the drive. All results are in minutes and lower is better.
Clearly, this drive has much better transfer rates while it's wired than on wireless. Since the speed differs between wireless cards, the results will be different for each computer, but there is no question that when this drive is hooked up directly to your computer, the transfer rates are through the roof!
The next thing we'll look at is the CPU usage during the transfer of a 1GB file. What I found was that the hardwired setup went way faster than the wireless setup, but used slightly more of the CPU. The hardwire setup is on the left and the wireless is on the right, and are displaying the highest CPU usage percentage seen during testing.
The last thing I was interested in was the access time of the drive. To test this, I recorded how long it took to open a 1GB file when hardwired and wireless. I also tried how fast it was on my main internal hard drive, but it was instantaneous. In this test, lower is better and times are in seconds.
Of course the access time depends on your wireless card and LAN port but it's safe to say that the drive is quicker to access when it's hardwired to your computer.
As far as setting up the drive, I felt that if there was a hard copy of the manual included, it would have been much easier. It was easy once I got used to all the buttons and options I had. I was particularly impressed with how easy it was to backup and restore data. It was pretty much one or two clicks and you’re ready to go. The scheduled backups were set for one week, meaning that you can’t look ahead more than a week to set a backup time.
While testing, I tried using this drive to stream media and I am still speechless. It streamed as if I were accessing it from a hard drive from within my computer – that quick! There was no delay from the time I clicked it and when it started playing, and I was doing this wirelessly! Hooking it up to the TiVo seemed impossible, but once I did it – it was really awesome. Now my family can stop asking for my book of DVDs and they can just access all of our movies from the drive and stream them flawlessly to the TV or computer they are on.
The drag and drop ability of the drive was easy as can be. It wasn’t as fast as dragging and dropping between hard drives in my computer because I was doing this via a wireless card.
I can’t even begin to tell you how glad I am to have this drive. It changed how my family backs up our information and stores our photos, music, movies, and data. We can now go anywhere in the house and flawlessly stream movies to our computers and TiVo. To get it setup on each computer was easy as can be. The only difficult time I had with setting it up was when I tried to get TiVo to connect to it. That’s not the drive’s fault, so I was happy about that. Scheduled backups are a huge plus because all your information stored will be updated without you even noticing. The RAID 1 capability of the program is very nice to have, but the best thing about this drive is how it has a thousand gigabytes of space available for use. The drive has 919GB of space left after you plug it in, which isn’t too bad considering I’ve seen smaller drives cut off more once you format it. I would highly recommend this product to everyone who would like to stream their media flawlessly and have a lot of room to backup their most valuable information or just need more storage space. On top of all the great features, you get a 1 year limited warranty from Maxtor. Bottom line – don’t pass on this one terabyte network hard drive.
- Ease of Installation
- 1,000GB of Space
- Scheduled Backups
- Flawless Media Streaming
- RAID 1 Capability
- Drag and Drop Capability
- One Year Limited Warranty