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External NAS hard drive reviews

We test 10 Network-Attached Storage (NAS) devices that can store your files and serve everybody on your network.
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External hard drive reviews

Test results for 10 NAS external hard drives priced from $319 to $813

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) lets you store all your important files in one central place and access them from multiple computers at the same time. This simplifies the backup and restoration of files if there is a problem, and eliminates the unnecessary duplication of files across multiple PCs. It also provides a central point for streaming multimedia such as music and video to anywhere on your network. Read our Networking 101 guide for more information.

We tested 10 NAS (Networked Attached Storage) devices which can sit independently on your network.

NAS hard drive brands tested

  • Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo
  • IOMega StorCenter ix2
  • LaCie network space MAX
  • LaCie wireless space
  • Netgear ReadyNAS Ultra 2
  • QNAP TS-210 Turbo NAS
  • Seagate Black Armour NAS 220
  • Synology DS2IIj DiskStation
  • Thecus N2200
  • Western Digital My Book World Edition II

    In brief

    • A NAS device can provide storage for a whole network.
    • Most provide extra features such as media streaming.
    • Some provide remote access via smartphone.

    See all our articles on computer storage.

    How we test

    For performance testing we time the transfer of 10GB of data (large and small files) to and from the NAS device over a gigabit wired network, scoring both read and write times. Note that even though each device was tested over the same wired network, they all performed quite differently – the internals of a NAS can have a big impact on how fast they perform, and here the Netgear steamed ahead of the other devices on test. Additional testing over Wi-Fi (802.11n) was done for the LaCie Wireless Space unit.

    We assess ease of use by looking at how easy it is to set up the hardware for each unit, how simple it is to navigate and use the built-in management software, and the ease of use and effectiveness of any bundled backup software.
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