Pros: Very easy to use; Small and well designed
Cons: Not fast enough for our liking; A little expensive for a home network hard disk
Bottomline: Not too fast and quite pricey, but very easy to use
Vista compatibility: Yes
But it online from:
- Adorama Camera (SHOP.COM)
- Dell Small Business
- ReStockIt.com (SHOP.COM)
The Storcenter is Iomega's latest network hard disk, a device that's designed to make things easier in this day and age of downloadable music and video.
It provides a terabyte (roughly 1,000 gigabytes or one million megabytes) of storage that, once it's set up, can be accessed from anywhere on your home network.
That setup process was fairly painless – we were able to simply plug everything in and run the program on the supplied CD, which automatically detected the disk. We were then prompted to set up a password and to configure the storage, of which more later.
The Iomega tool can automatically set up your computer so that it sees the Storcenter as a disk each time you start, so there's no need to do anything extra each time.
If you're not used to network storage, the speed will disappoint – because all the data has to go over the network to get to or from the disk it's much slower than an external disk that's just connected directly to the computer. We got speeds of up to 12MB per second, meaning it took around a minute and 40 seconds to copy 1GB. That's not particularly fast by modern network hard disk standards.
It's not wireless – you need to connect it to your router using the supplied cable, but it does have a pair of USB ports on the back into which can be plugged another hard disk, a USB memory key or a printer, which will then be shared across the network. Clearly it would take a while to copy 1TB over the network so we tried to plug a USB hard disk into the device and copy files to it directly but sadly it was just as slow.
The device can act as a print server: if you plug a USB printer in, it can share the printer over the network so that any of your computers can print to it. There's not much to help users set this up, though – in fact we found it extremely difficult to set up the print sharing facility.
A copy of the business backup software EMC Retrospect is supplied with the disk. It's very impressive, but perhaps too advanced for most home users. Still the disk will work just as well with your own backup software, and Iomega's excellent discovery tool makes it dead simple to attach all of your home computers to the disk.
In all, the Storcenter 1TB is not overly cheap, but nor is it particularly expensive. Performance is likewise middling, but it's certainly an easy network hard disk to use, making it something we can recommend.