External storage is becoming more popular because it is not always easy to add internal storage, however it is easy to install an external drive and the information is very portable. The problem is external drives are a lot slower than internal drives. Klegg is entering this market with their Netdisk line of products and it has a few features that will help make them faster.
- Direct Networking
- High Performance
- Plug-n-Play Portability
- Centralized Digital Storage
- Simple Expansion – Limitless Storage
One of the best features of this drive is that you can network it or attach it directly to a computer with USB. If you choose to network the drive you can share it with many computers on your network or keep it private.
The Netdisk drives come in two versions, the Mega version which has a 100 Megabit Ethernet connection and the Giga version which has a 1 Gigabit Ethernet connection. For even more performance you can combine multiple drives in a RAID 0, or for protection you could use a RAID 1. With these drives you can have unlimited storage.
The design of the drives is very simple. On the top are two lights, one that indicates power and the other that indicates when the drive is reading or writing.
The back is where all the connectors are. From left to right you have a power switch, USB plug, power plug, and Ethernet plug.
As we all know fast performance and external drives do not normally go together. The Netdisks have several features that will help to improve their performance. One of these features is having both an Ethernet connection and a USB connection. Having both of these connections gives you the ability to use the connection that will give you the best performance depending on your situation. The other feature is the ability to RAID multiple drives together. Using RAID you can potentially increase the performance and storage of your drives.
RAID is only available if you are using an Ethernet connection. If you choose to use the USB connection you are limited to using the drives separately. Klegg sent me two Netdisk Megas so I could test the RAID capabilities, but because they are limited to transfer speeds of 100 Megabits (Mb) per second I doubt I will see much of a performance boost. The speed of the network will limit the performance of these drives because the network speed is slower than even one drive by itself. However, I would think that while using the drives in a RAID each one would be using its own network connection, so that means you could potentially get a maximum transfer speed of 200 Megabits per second.
Using the drives in USB mode is very easy. All you really need is to plug them in and your computer should recognize them and you can use them. If you cannot see them right off, then you may want to check the drive manager in the administration screen. There you can format the drive so it can be used.
Setting up a RAID is a little more difficult. First the drives must be connected to a network. The drives must also be registered. During the registration process you need to choose a name and then type in the device ID and write key. During this process I ran into a problem. After some searching I found that I was not running a required service. The NDAS service which you see is set to User-mode. This is suppose to start when a process requests it. Obviously, this did not happen so I had to start it myself. After it started everything worked a lot better.
After the drives are installed you can start the Bind Management software and begin the process of setting up the RAID. In order to bind the drives they first must not be in use. The best way to accomplish this is to unmount them. You can do this easily with the taskbar icon.
Once the drives are unmounted you can use the bind software to setup the RAID. The process of setting up a RAID is very easy, the wizard will guide you through all the needed steps. The first screen gives you the option of choosing how you want to combine the drives, the options are Aggregation, RAID 0 and RAID 1 — you also choose how many drives you are including in the combination. On the next screen you will choose which drives are included in the setup. After that the drives are combined and the setup is complete.
The next step is formatting the drive you so can use it. Because it has never been formatted before you will not be able to see it in Windows Explorer, so you will have to use the disk management software in the administration portion of Windows. If you ever disable the RAID or go back to using the USB cables you will have to reformat the drives so they are usable when not together.
To test the performance of these drives I used SiSoftware’s Sandra and I ran the benchmarks using the different connections. I ran three tests; first I connected the drives with USB, second I used an Ethernet connection, and third I used an Ethernet connection with the two drives in a RAID 0 configuration. I also did a test of one of my internal drives so we could compare the results. The results in the table below are the speeds of the drives while copying a 64 MB file. Just as a side note, Sandra reports all its numbers in kilobytes (KB) and since I have been using megabits in this review I converted all the numbers from KB to kilobits (Kb).
|Read (Kb/sec)||Write (Kb/sec)|
These speeds were exactly what I expected. The USB which has a maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbps performed better than either of the Ethernet connections, but slower than the internal drive. I was hoping for better RAID performance, but again the slow speed of the network is partially responsible for that.
Because of these speeds I can only recommend the Mega version if you are planning on using the USB connection. If you want to RAID the drives together for larger storage you should get the Giga version which will provide much better performance. However, if do not have a Gigabit network then you will not see the benefit of the Giga drives.
Warranty and Support
Klegg covers these drives for one year after the date of purchase. You can get support for the drives either by calling or emailing Klegg.
The drives were not as fast as I would have hoped, but you do not buy external drives for speed. The ability to share these drives on a network is really big, plus and the ability to RAID the drives together can really open up some interesting possibilities. If you are in the market for external drives, these will do the job as good as any. With prices as low as $59.99 you are not going to be breaking the bank either. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|