LaCie 5big Network

If you want easy setup or eSATA ports, this NAS system could be the one for you

Pros: Easiest setup, five drive bays
Cons: Slow transfer speeds
Performance: B-
Ease of Setup: A
Features: A-
Value: A-
Price: $1,060

The 5big Network 301355U from LaCie is the only NAS in the review to have five drive bays. They account for its larger size — 7 inches wide by 7.75 inches deep by 9 inches high — and provide an additional amount of flexibility.

 In this GCN Lab comparison report:

NAS appliances cover the middle ground of extra storage
What Is A RAID?
A breakdown on common RAID configurations
Buffalo TeraStation III
Sans Digital EliteNAS
Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440
WD ShareSpace
Gaining Virtual V-locity

The LaCie has only one USB port, the fewest in the review, but it also has three eSATA ports, which makes the 5big Network unique in this review. With that many ports, you can add many external devices. The drives connect in the back of the appliance, which we found odd, but it didn’t affect their accessibility much. The cool-looking big light in the front makes it look like HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” we thought some of the drive status lights on the back would be more useful upfront.

Setting up the 5big Network was a breeze. All we had to do was hook it up and turn it on, and its default file share showed up on our test computer. Of course, it does have a finder program and a Web-based administrator console that allows you to change settings.

The 5big Network came set up with all five 1T disks configured in RAID 5. We could also change them to be in RAID 0, RAID 10 (with 4 disks) or RAID 6. This was one of only two appliances in the review to offer the increased reliability of a RAID 6 configuration. The fifth drive bay also added the option of a “RAID 5+Spare” setting, which is a four-disk RAID 5 setting with the fifth disk standing by to be an instant replacement should one of the other drives fail.

The LaCie comes with Genie Backup Manager Pro software for Windows systems and Intego Backup Manager Pro for Macs. Although it only comes with one license, others are available from LaCie.

The 5big Network’s major weakness reared its head in our performance testing. At 49.06 megabits/sec downloading and 47.31 megabits/sec uploading, the LaCie was clearly the slowest in the review for file transfers.

Even given its lackluster performance, the retail list price of $1,060 for the LaCie 5big Network 301355U is pretty good for a five-bay appliance. And if you want easy setup or eSATA ports, this could be the one for you.

LaCie, 503-844-4500, www.lacie.com

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.


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