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Promise SMARTSTOR NS4300N

post #1 of 674
Thread Starter 
Has anyone played with one of these? The price is dirt cheap for a 4-bay NAS. My personal experiences with Promise haven't been without issue, but my experiences seem to be better than most.

On paper, it looks pretty complete - 4-bay, sata, gigabit ethernet, blah, blah. Nothing appears to be a show stopper.

I have an Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ and I'd like to get another NAS, but at $390 (best price I could find) the Promise is only about 2/3 of the ReadyNAS price. I can't find anything online about the Promise unit, other than some guy's blog wherein he shares the experience of a guy that used to date his sister who knew a guy that saw one and thought it was a bit loud, or some kind of hearsay to that effect. I'd love to get some feedback that is more concrete.

The webpage is located at: "w-w-w DOT p-r-o-m-i-s-e DOT c-o-m/product/product_detail_eng.asp?product_id=177"
post #2 of 674
Thread Starter 
No one else has any interest in a lower-cost NAS?

seriously?
post #3 of 674
Welcome,

There are so many of those types of NAS solutions available it is hard to tell one good one from another.

You might want to use the Search function available here on AVS and see what other users have been using and discussing. This specific model it is possible no one here as used yet or at least hasn't spotted your post.

Another solution that was being discussed last week can be found in this link: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=832273

I was not too impressed with this first incarnation of it but some other members were. It is possible it might work for you. Who knows.

Anyhow, welcome to the board and good luck!

Shawn
post #4 of 674
link:

http://www.promise.com/product/produ...product_id=177

interesting. better looking (imo) than a readynas. no jumbo frame support yet. 2tb limit, though. that would be a show stopper for me.
post #5 of 674
I don't see a 2Tb limit. The spec sheet only said that up to 2Tb with 500Gb drives.

The white paper lists 750Gb for up to 3Tb and no mention of a max size of drive it can adress.
post #6 of 674
Just purchased one of these from frys(dot)com for 299 plus 8 dollar shipping.

The 3tb limit has been fixed with a firmware update...

Will be doing a detailed review once i receive the unit(should be here by next weekend)

This is the best priced NAS i have seen with Raid 5....
post #7 of 674
No X-RAID type auto-expansion either. I think the ReadyNAS still has it (yes, I have one).

Regards,

Nick.
post #8 of 674
FWIW, I have had one of these running with 4x500gb drives in raid 5 since October '07. I picked it up at a Fry's B&M for around $350, they have been around $300now. I'm happy with it. Only complaint is fan noise, it's not loud compared to most PCs but I'm a mac user, and my iMac is silent. I bought a fan control that I intend to put in there, since the box runs very cool, but just haven't bothered to crack the case open.

To address some of the comments on this page:
"X-Raid" - Yes, that is a ReadyNAS specific feature. The device does have volume expansion. For example, start with 3x drives in Raid 5, add another, it will expand the volume. It also supports conversion to different RAID types. However, let's say I want to upgrade to 4x1tb drives, I will need to move the data over manually. A pain, yes, but that's the deal with all raid units I have seen other than ReadyNAS (at about 3x the price of this box)

Jumbo Frames - Latest firmware supports it and you get a few extra MB/sec transfer and less CPU use on your computers. It works fine, I use it. Just make sure you have a GB switch and your computers support GB with Jumbo Frames.

2TB Limit - Gone with latest firmware. They support 1TB drives, the compatibility list is on their website.

Interface - Basic but the main features you need are there. Users/groups, volume management, etc. I use it with Mac shares, you can use with Windows too. It has a basic media server built in, I tried it, it worked, but I don't use it. Supports APC ups functions. Has email notification of failures, plus a VERY loud beeper on the unit when there is a problem.

Thing people will probably care most about:
Reliability - Up and on since Oct with no issues. I have 4x500 Seagate SATA drives. It runs really cool, too.

Speed - My volume is about 60% full. Large files get about 30MB/sec read and 10MB/sec write. (those are Mega BYTES / sec) Smaller files are slower. But since I use this with only Music & Video I can't really vouch for other performance. Remember this is in RAID 5. I am sure striping for standard drive speed would be faster. Raid 5 is always slower due to parity calculation. Also, if you look at the benchmarks of other SOHO devices, these speeds are decent. There is another device out there that gets a LOT faster speeds, but the word is the firmware is very unstable.

That's it. I'm happy with it.
post #9 of 674
I have one and it is very loud and a little slow as far as NASs goes. I replaced the 80mm fan with a quiet one, and it helped with noise a little. next I want to replace the power supply fan (40mm?) as it is still pretty noisy.

other issues:
when I enable the dlna service, there's constant drive activity - I assume it is indexing. I get intermittent read disruptions while watching dvds using tcp/ip (which is the main reason for the NAS.)
Also, the email notification doesn't work for me because it doesn't allow changing ports, which my isp requires.
The web interface software is poorly written. On the plus side, I exploited the password bug to telnet in as root so I could create some soft links so that the fixed dlna content directories included other paths.

The bottom line is that it works, but not very well. I think I will build a linux server someday to replace it. Or maybe I will just stick to big local drives -- even the best NAS are slow compared to local drives.
post #10 of 674
Interesting. I'm not sure why you're having issues streaming. I play DVDs all the time over this thing and have no issues.

Are you streaming over wireless or wired? GBs?

I don't know if the web software is "poorly written". It's basic. But I haven't had any issues with it working. You could easily setup a relay on a local machine to solve your email notification problem.

As an FYI, I emailed Promise a question and they said there is pretty significant firmware upgrade coming. They didn't get into details on features, however.
post #11 of 674
spydrx, are you using AFP or just SMB?
Do you need a Windows computer to set it up?
post #12 of 674
AFP. I have SMB turned on. You don't need a PC to set it up. I didn't use one. Actually, when I first set it up I think I did run parallels and the utility, but I don't think it was needed.

I've ripped this thing apart today and am going to replace both fans (Not a really easy thing to get the power supply out) :-)

I'm going to get a couple of ball-bearing fans and wire them both up with a variable speed controller that I have. Time to break out the solder iron.

For those that are interested, the main fan is a 80mm x 80mm x 15mm with 3 wire, yellow being speed monitor wire. The small fan in the power supply is a 40mm x 40mm x 20mm with 2 wire. Both fans are 12v. The 80mm fan is wired to the mother board. The 40mm fan is wired in the power supply. I'm going to run them both off the MB with a speed control.

Without the drives, I measured the noise (case closed, db meter about 12" in front of it) at 55db with just the small fan running and 60db with both fans. Obviously it's louder with the HD in it. I want to eliminate as much fan noise as I can.
post #13 of 674
Thread Starter 
Let me know what your after readings are and what fans you select as replacements if you would.

I swapped out the fan in my ReadyNAS and it made a significant impact on noise and a very small impact on heat. I'd like to do the same with the Promise NAS, especially since it's running so cheap.
post #14 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by purduee View Post

Let me know what your after readings are and what fans you select as replacements if you would.

I swapped out the fan in my ReadyNAS and it made a significant impact on noise and a very small impact on heat. I'd like to do the same with the Promise NAS, especially since it's running so cheap.

I just finished it up last weekend. I got 2 fans from Fry's Electronics. Both are ball-bearing from "Link Depot" they weren't expensive. But at full speed are a LOT quieter than the stock fans.

With the fans on, and all hard drives in the device, it meters around 55db now, which is quite a bit quieter no, can barely hear it running and the Tone of the noise is totally tolerable. The Wife immediately noticed how much quieter it is. Before it was 55db+ w/o the drives in it.

Now, for fans, I got a 40mm x 20mm for the power supply. I cut the wires in the power supply and heat-shrinked them to insulate. I'm not using these wires.

For the case, the stock fan is 80x15mm. I put an 80x30mm and it fits fine and it quieter. I had to get some short screws to mount the fan, but it looks stock in there and clean.

For wiring, I wired both fans to the MB using the stock wire from the original large fan. The small fan I cut the yellow (monitor wire) and only wired in the monitor for the large fan. I spliced all the wires and heat-shrinked to insulate. The output on the MB is 12v, but under load it drops to around 7v. I decided not to use the fan speed control I have as the speed is fine. If I wanted full speed I could have used the black/red wires in the power supply and attached the yellow to the MB for monitoring.

Before the tweak, fan speed was around 3000rpm according to the monitor screen. After the tweak the large fan is running around 1900rpm. Before the mod, with average room temp around 70-75, the case reported internal temp around 32c. After the mod, the temp rose slightly to around 36c after being on for a couple days. The alarm goes off at 50c. It will also go off if you drop below 1800rpm on the fan speed. I live in SoCal near the beach and it never gets very hot in here. In the summer maybe ambient temp around 75-80. So I expect drive temps to stay below 40c without much problem.

Anyway, getting the case open and soldering and routing a bunch of fan wires was a bit of a pain. But if you are comfortable with working on small electronics and a solder iron, its a pretty easy job. Just a lot of screws to get the power supply open. As an FYI, you don't need to fully open the power supply to get the fan out.

And the results were well worth it.

**** One more note: Promise just released an updated firmware for the device. Write speeds are up and so are reads. Maybe 10-20% faster during large file operations (which is all I have on it, VOB and lossless audio).
post #15 of 674
I am having some problems using this with the TVIX M5000A.
I noticed that I cannot configure any shares from a PC without having to login with a username/password.
Unfortunately, the tvix doesn't allow me to specify a username/password. Neither can I find anything in the manual about a hardcoded username/password to use.

Anyone able to help me figure out how to get Smartstor working with a TVIX?
If I can find a way to configure a share that doens't require a username/password, everything would work.

Thanks.
post #16 of 674
I guess I don't understand the issue. Let me see if I get what's going on:

The TVIX is some sort of media server. You are connecting to shares on the Promise, right? I took at look at the manual for this device, and it looks like you HAVE to use SAMBA. You can only use NFS if the destination is a Windows computer and you have to install some sort of utility.

Checkout this:
http://www.tvix.co.kr/eng/faq/Defaul...ID=6&SCATID=10

And this:
http://www.tvix.co.kr/eng/faq/Defaul...ID=6&SCATID=10

The issue to me looks like the TVIX. Can't it save passwords for network (NFS or SAMBA) shares?

Do you have the latest firmware on each device?

I only use this on a Mac network and have no problems just saving the password to connecting.
post #17 of 674
Well, I guess my question is can you set up a share on the smartstor that doesn't require a username/password when connecting? (either SAMBA or NFS)
post #18 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by duh FooL View Post

Well, I guess my question is can you set up a share on the smartstor that doesn't require a username/password when connecting? (either SAMBA or NFS)

Not that I know of. But checkout those links I put in my last reply. Looks like your device might be able to use a login/pass but you have to set it up a specific way.
post #19 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by duh FooL View Post

I am having some problems using this with the TVIX M5000A.
I noticed that I cannot configure any shares from a PC without having to login with a username/password.
Unfortunately, the tvix doesn't allow me to specify a username/password. Neither can I find anything in the manual about a hardcoded username/password to use.

Thanks.

Try setup a user "tvixhd1" with a password "tvixhd1" on your NS4300N NAS (username/password case sensitive). Give the user at least read access to the share or better, give the user read/write access.
post #20 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyderx View Post

FWIW, I have had one of these running with 4x500gb drives in raid 5 since October '07. I picked it up at a Fry's B&M for around $350, they have been around $300now. I'm happy with it. Only complaint is fan noise, it's not loud compared to most PCs but I'm a mac user, and my iMac is silent. I bought a fan control that I intend to put in there, since the box runs very cool, but just haven't bothered to crack the case open.

To address some of the comments on this page:
"X-Raid" - Yes, that is a ReadyNAS specific feature. The device does have volume expansion. For example, start with 3x drives in Raid 5, add another, it will expand the volume. It also supports conversion to different RAID types. However, let's say I want to upgrade to 4x1tb drives, I will need to move the data over manually. A pain, yes, but that's the deal with all raid units I have seen other than ReadyNAS (at about 3x the price of this box)

Jumbo Frames - Latest firmware supports it and you get a few extra MB/sec transfer and less CPU use on your computers. It works fine, I use it. Just make sure you have a GB switch and your computers support GB with Jumbo Frames.

2TB Limit - Gone with latest firmware. They support 1TB drives, the compatibility list is on their website.

Interface - Basic but the main features you need are there. Users/groups, volume management, etc. I use it with Mac shares, you can use with Windows too. It has a basic media server built in, I tried it, it worked, but I don't use it. Supports APC ups functions. Has email notification of failures, plus a VERY loud beeper on the unit when there is a problem.

Thing people will probably care most about:
Reliability - Up and on since Oct with no issues. I have 4x500 Seagate SATA drives. It runs really cool, too.

Speed - My volume is about 60% full. Large files get about 30MB/sec read and 10MB/sec write. (those are Mega BYTES / sec) Smaller files are slower. But since I use this with only Music & Video I can't really vouch for other performance. Remember this is in RAID 5. I am sure striping for standard drive speed would be faster. Raid 5 is always slower due to parity calculation. Also, if you look at the benchmarks of other SOHO devices, these speeds are decent. There is another device out there that gets a LOT faster speeds, but the word is the firmware is very unstable.

That's it. I'm happy with it.

Ok, so my story parallels yours on many levels, when purchased, type of drives, configuration etc . . . HOWEVER, my experience has been very different. The entire time I've had it (used both firmwares) I have not been able to achieve any read or write transfer rates above about 14MB/s. For basic file storage that would be fine but when one is trying to playback 4-minute, 1.5GB, 1080p, video files, it doesn't have nearly enough power.

After a awhile I thought maybe it was just bad parity calculations that were slowing things down, so then I wiped it out and tested RAID10 and RAID0 setups. All three types achieved approximately the same level of performance. Now can someone explain to me how an earth a 4 drive RAID0 was no faster than 15 MB/s? Heck I get twice the performance doing file transfers to/from my kids' computer which is a 4yo single drive machine with a "not so special" hard drive.

So needless to say, i've been disappointed with my experience and have embarked on designing a new setup for our purposes. I may sell it or I may keep it strictly as a nightly backup device. Either way, I will be putting my nice fast 500GB segate 7200.10's to better use elsewhere.
post #21 of 674
Interesting. If I did my math right (1500MB / 240 sec = 6.25MB/sec), the device should support streaming playback with no problem of those files. Standard DVD is about 1MB/sec.

Not sure what the issue is. I just copied some big files from it to my desktop and got 25-30MB/sec (measured using Mac task-manager). I wouldn't expect to use the device for editing anything.
post #22 of 674
Yes, you are right. It SHOULD, but it doesn't. I've been round and round with tech support (about three calls and half a dozen emails), and the only thing they could ever tell me is just "wait til the new firmware comes out." Well, I did and I didn't see any difference. I can play back the files properly to/from any other computer on my network, but not from the device that is supposed to be a dlna server. huh.

It does have pretty measly memory and processor power (don't remember what), so maybe that has something to do with it? I don't know enough about the finer points of that stuff to know.
post #23 of 674
Might just be worth the time to either swap it out with a new unit or replace it. Yes, this is not a high-end NAS at all. It does not have as much memory as the ReadyNAS or as fast a processor as some of the options. But it was the cheapest stand-alone I found.

The fastest consumer NAS you will find is building your own PC and running any of the various flavors of Linux The downside here is power consumption and size.

Lots of info here on other units: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/85/93/

Like I said in a previous post, I'm happy with the Promise NAS, but I pretty much bought this as a filler until the technology evolves for the home user.
post #24 of 674
my Mini Review:
Quote:


I figured I would do a review of my new toy, Since i could not find many reviews on this myself.. I thought I would try to do a review. Today I will mainly post pictures of hardware installation and screen shots of the software installation.

I purchased this at frys.com for 308 shipped
Here are a ton of pictures from my unit:
http://picasaweb.google.com/dontripm...73035157967138

For hard drives, i Purchased 4 750gb SATA WD drives at 155 a piece.

Grand total for this project:
928 including everything.

The installation and setup were a breeze and I have been copying to it pretty much all day.

Once formatted with RAID5 my total HD space is 2078.24GB and the format file system is EXT3.

The only thing that bothers me about it is the noise, it is about 50db, i measured it with a meter(picture of this).

It is noisy as mentioned above, but other than that it seems fine.

Only question I have is now i have received a Popcorn Hour Unit and i am trying to connect to the share using NFS.

What do I need to do in the Promise configuration to be able to connect to it.

Within the Popcorn Unit, i can connect to the SMB share just fine, read files but it stutters and with NFS the PH can read much faster.
I can connect to the NAS using the url's below but nothing shows up.

I am trying to connect to it by name and ip:
nfs://NAS:/PUBLIC
nfs://192.168.0.107:/PUBLIC
post #25 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwaarna View Post

my Mini Review:


It is noisy as mentioned above, but other than that it seems fine.

Only question I have is now i have received a Popcorn Hour Unit and i am trying to connect to the share using NFS.

What do I need to do in the Promise configuration to be able to connect to it.

Within the Popcorn Unit, i can connect to the SMB share just fine, read files but it stutters and with NFS the PH can read much faster.
I can connect to the NAS using the url's below but nothing shows up.

I am trying to connect to it by name and ip:
nfs://NAS:/PUBLIC
nfs://192.168.0.107:/PUBLIC

Do you have Jumbo Frame enable on your NAS? NFS and Jumbo Frame seems to be a problem.
post #26 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinalfr View Post

Do you have Jumbo Frame enable on your NAS? NFS and Jumbo Frame seems to be a problem.

I do not see an option to disable the Jumo Frame..

In the manual on page 93
Quote:


Working with Jumbo Frames
The term jumbo frame refers to a frame on a local area network that is larger than
the standard 1518 byte size. SmartStor supports jumbo frames up to 9000 bytes.
On SmartStor, the frame size setting is called Maximum Transmission Unit
(MTU). The default MTU or frame is 1500 bytes. This setting is appropriate for
most users. See your Network Administrator before you change this setting.
To make frame size settings:
1. In the Tree, click the + beside the Network icon.
2. Click the Network Setup icon.
3. Click the Jumbo Frame tab.
4. From the MTU dropdown menu, choose the maximum MTU or frame size:
1500 bytes (default)
4000 bytes
7000 bytes
9000 bytes
5. Click the OK button to save your setting.

Is the only thing there is about Jumbo Frames..
post #27 of 674
Update... I just needed the full path to make it work..

nfs://192.168.0.107:/VOLUME1/Public
post #28 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwaarna View Post

I do not see an option to disable the Jumo Frame..

In the manual on page 93


Is the only thing there is about Jumbo Frames..

Any MTU setting over 1500 is referred as Jumbo Frames.
post #29 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagesbyanna View Post

I may sell it or I may keep it strictly as a nightly backup device. Either way, I will be putting my nice fast 500GB segate 7200.10's to better use elsewhere.

My Seagate 1TB drives came with a jumper that limited them to 1.5Gbits/sec. I had to move the jumper to allow 3Gbits/sec speeds. Maybe that will help you out a bit.

I agree that the unit is noisy and that the DLNA server needs a little work but it is hard to knock the reliability of Promise RAID controllers and they do seem to release regular firmware updates. All in all for the price I paid and being able to pick my own HD's I am happy with my the device.

Laters,
Jeff
post #30 of 674
Quote:
Originally Posted by eq_shadimar View Post

My Seagate 1TB drives came with a jumper that limited them to 1.5Gbits/sec. I had to move the jumper to allow 3Gbits/sec speeds. Maybe that will help you out a bit.

I agree that the unit is noisy and that the DLNA server needs a little work but it is hard to knock the reliability of Promise RAID controllers and they do seem to release regular firmware updates. All in all for the price I paid and being able to pick my own HD's I am happy with my the device.

Laters,
Jeff

Check that. I uninstalled the DNLA and just use itunes mapping and front row to get my content (I use Macs). I think I posted on swapping out the fans. That helped a TON. The unit is very quiet now. It was 95 here over the weekend and no AC, unit got to about 40c max. Alarm goes at 58c.
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