Articles: Networking

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Exterior Design

Developed by Neil Poulton, the designer of most of LaCie storage products, the exterior of the 2big NAS differs from typical NASes with its original and easily recognizable style. The case is made of aluminum and has a characteristic radiator surface with lengthwise fins that ensure improved cooling.

The case is rather small for a dual-disk NAS at 9 x 20 x 18.5 centimeters (with the stand). There’s a large indicator button on the front panel that can switch the NAS into sleep mode and wake it up.

At the back of the case we can see a small vent grid, HDD bays with locks, a power switch (it can be used to turn the NAS off safely), a Gigabit Ethernet port, USB 2.0 and eSATA connectors for external devices, and a power connector. The latter is conveniently placed at the bottom of the back panel. The Ethernet connector should have also been placed next to the power one because they are both going to be used in every usage scenario.

The NAS has a stand with rubber feet. You can remove the stand if you don’t need it.

The 2big NAS is quiet at work. The network and disk indicators are at the back and won’t distract you with their blinking. As for the front panel, there is only one large blue LED on it. You can turn it off in the NAS’s settings but it will blink or shine red in case of problems irrespective of that setting. The user manual contains a table that describes the meaning of each indicator combination such as a disk failure or overheat. This indication system isn’t very handy because you have to check out indicators located on opposite panels of the case.

Hardware Configuration

The PCB is located right in the center of the case, between the hard disks. It carries a 2GHz ARM processor Marvell 88F6282, 256 GB of system memory and 512 MB of flash memory. The Ethernet interface is based on a Marvell 88E1518 whereas eSATA is based on a JMicron JMB360 chip. This is a mainstream configuration by today’s standards. More advanced NASes are built on the x86 platform. The eSATA port should be especially mentioned as a rare feature in this product class. The NAS doesn’t offer too many extra services, so the default amount of system memory should be quite enough for its main applications.

The large amount of flash memory helps store a complete OS image and install it on a dedicated disk partition without special utilities.

The cooling system is largely based on the massive aluminum case of the NAS itself. And there is also a compact fan Evercool EC5015H12E-B in the top back of the chassis. The fan is silent under normal conditions, making the 2big NAS one of the quietest dual-disk NASes available.

Our sample was equipped with two Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 hard disks, each 3 terabytes in capacity, but the manufacturer can install other HDD models of the same capacity.

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