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LaCie Ethernet Disk mini V2

At a Glance
Product LaCie Ethernet Disk mini V2 - 500 GB (301138U)
Summary Updated version of single-drive NAS with new CPU, gigabit Ethernet and SATA drive. Available in 250GB/320GB/500GB capacities.
Pros • Can be used as a NAS, external USB 2.0 drive or both
• Easy to use and set up
• AFP and Bonjour support for Mac users
• Gigabit Ethernet with 4K and 8K Jumbo frames supported
• Fast
Cons • Windows network browsing problems
• Relatively slow USB-connected performance
• Sluggish admin interface

The refreshed LaCie Ethernet Disk mini (I'll call it the "V2" for brevity's sake) may look the same as the one that's been out for about a year. But LaCie appears to have taken stock of the increased competition in ths consumer NAS market and redesigned its least expensive NAS to address many of the shortcomings of its first version. Jim Buzbee covered the original EDmini pretty well in his review, so this review will just take a quick look at the updated product and concentrate on what's new.

Physically, the V2 is essentially the same as its older sibling, with the only tell-tales being a "V2" suffix on its rear-panel serial number sticker and different rear-panel connector layout (Figure 1), which includes a USB 2.0 "expansion port" for external drive connection (more later).

LaCie Ethernet disk mini rear panel

Figure 1: Rear panel (click image to enlarge)

Instead of a copy of the MacOS-only Silverkeeper backup utility, there are now Windows and Mac OS versions of LaCie's '1-Click' Backup freeware included on the utility / documentation CD.

Inside, the V2 has been completely redesigned (Figures 2 and 3). The original product had a Freescale MPC5200 CPU running at 266 MHz with 32 MB of RAM and USB support coming from a Texas Instruments TUSB6250. The drive in our 250 GB sample was an Western Digital 250 GB, 7200 RPM IDE drive with 8 MB of cache.

LaCie Ethernet disk mini inside view

Figure 2: Inside view (click image to enlarge)

The V2 has switched to using a Marvell 88F5182 (ARM926 compatible) SOC running at 400MHz and upped memory to 64 MB (flash remains the same at 512 KB). The 88F5182 also handles both the SATA hard-drive and USB 2.0 interfaces. The Ethernet interface is provided by a Marvell 88E1116 "Alaska" single-port gigabit transceiver and the hard drive in the 500 GB sample LaCie sent is a Hitachi HDT725050VLA360, 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 Gb/s drive with 16 MB of cache.

The system log available via the Status page is essentially a Linux system console dump, so contains a wealth of information for would-be hackers. The main drawback, however, is that new log entries are added at the bottom of the page. The log showed the Linux version as (root@lacie) (gcc version 3.4.4 (release) (CodeSourcery ARM 2005q3-2)) #1 Tue Oct 31 11:26:21 CET 2006.

LaCie Ethernet disk mini Inside view w/ board flipped

Figure 3: Inside view w/ board flipped (click image to enlarge)

Check out the slideshow In a hurry? Check out the slideshow for a full set of performance plots.

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