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Hardware Configuration

Promise took Intel’s single-chip solution EP80579 as a platform for its new NAS. This chip combines an x86-compatible processing core (based on the Pentium M) clocked at 600MHz with functionality necessary for a NAS including Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 controllers. The chip’s capabilities are not used fully by the NAS, though. The EP80579 specs list three Gigabit Ethernet controllers, eight PCIe lanes, two USB 2.0 ports, two SATA ports, and two serial ports. The chip’s TDP is a mere 11W, so it is cooled with a simple passive heatsink.

The NAS has 256 megabytes of DDR2 SDRAM in four chip manufactured by Nanya. The flash memory chip is 128MB and comes from Hynix – it is used for storing most of the firmware including default plug-ins. The system partition on the HDD is used for user data only. One of the SATA interfaces provided by the chipset is offered as eSATA whereas four internal SATA drives are connected to a PCIe x1 bus via a Promise PDC42819 controller.

There are a few unused connectors and jumpers on the PCB. Perhaps one of them can be used to connect a console. The PCB may also be used for other products as it allows installing a second Ethernet port or even a PCIe slot and connecting a second fan.

Besides the main PCB, there are two smaller cards: one is for the front indicators and button and the other is a backplane for HDDs.

We obtained approximate data about the power consumption of the NAS by means of the monitoring module of an APC uninterruptible power supply. Although its accuracy is not high, the data can give you a general notion of the NAS’s power requirements. So, its power draw is up to 90W at the moment you turn it on. Then, it is 45W when the NAS is working with all its HDDs active. When idle with the HDDs turned on, the NAS consumes about 25W. In sleep mode its power draw is only 15W. The numbers are not high even in comparison with an entry-level office PC with one HDD (its consumption is about 65W under load, the PSU’s efficiency not accounted for).

The NAS was tested with firmware version 2.00.0000.15. It is the very first version released before the official announcement, so newer versions may bring about some improvements.

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