Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 Review
The world's perfect
NAS for home and small business use with the StorCenter ix2-200 -
The Iomega StorCenter ix2 series is an
extremely popular network storage solution designed for consumers and small
businesses who need a stand-alone storage drive that can be shared by multiple
computers over an internet or network connection. The latest version of the
StorCenter, the ix2-200, is compact file
sharing solution available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities. The new ix2-200
allows friends, family, and coworkers to access the same files even if they work
on different computers located on opposite sides of the room ... or opposite
sides of the globe. Let's take a closer look.
Iomega StorCenter ix2-200
Build and Design
- CPU at 1GHz with 256MB RAM
- 2 x 3.5" Easy-Swap Seagate SATA-II Hard Disk Drives
- 1 x RJ45 10/100/1000Mbps (GbE) Ethrenet port. LAN
standards: IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u
- 3 x USB 2.0 ports (to connect external HDD,
- RAID level: JBOD, RAID 1 (mirroring)
- Client computers for file system access—Windows PC,
Mac OS, LinuxAC Voltage 100-240 VAC
- Power consuption - 5 Watts (min) - 19 Watts (max)
- Acoustic noise - <27 dB
- MSRP: $369.99 for 2TB capacity
Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 is marginally larger
than the original StorCenter ix2, but this network attached storage (NAS)
enclosure packs quit a few additional features in addition to its two 3.5"
desktop hard drives. For starters, the ix2-200 uses an all new Marvel 6281
processor that runs at 1.0GHz and has 256MB of system RAM. That might not sound
like a lot of power compared to a home server, but this is significantly more
horsepower than what Iomega squeezed into the original ix2. The faster processor
and RAM mean that the ix2-200 has the muscle needed to push your network
connection to the limit. We'll have more details on that in the performance
section of the review.
The new enclosure is all
black and has a very simple design with the Iomega logo on both sides. This
design isn't overwhelmingly attractive, but this NAS is better looking than the
original ix2. Besides, we're talking about a NAS here. Most people don't care
about how it looks ... they just want it to perform. The top, bottom and sides
of the ix2-200 are made of solid metal while the front of the dual hard drive
enclosure has vents to keep the drives from overheating and a single USB port
and quick copy button for device-to-device replication. The rear of the ix2-200
features the most welcome change compared to last year's ix2: a pair of
"easy-swap" hard drive bays. Now if one of the dual hard drives fails you can
easily remove either drive by removing a pair of retention screws on the bottom
and then pulling the drives out the back. Sure, we would have found the "easy
swap" bays to be much easier to use if Iomega didn't have the retention screws
in the bottom, but at least this prevents employees or children from
accidentally removing a drive.
The back of the
enclosure also has dual USB ports, DC plug and a LAN plug along with the cooling
fan vent. There is also a security lock slot on the enclosure to deter theft.
Bottom line, the construction of the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 is a nice step up
from last year's model, but it still isn't as easy as we'd like to access the
drives inside the enclosure ... making it less than ideal for do-it-yourself
One of the main features of the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 is that it's
remarkably simple to setup and use. We praised the original ix2 for being
extremely easy to setup, but the new ix2-200 is even easier. Simply insert the
included software CD, type your desired user name and security password, click a
couple of on-screen buttons to confirm the installation and you're ready to
start using your new StorCenter! Network attached storage doesn't get any easier
The main configuration options for the
StorCenter ix2-200 are all accessed through the
supplied software or via a web browser by simply typing in the IP address.
Through web access, users can view all the shared content, add users/groups, and
manage RAID settings, network settings, disk backup, etc. from anywhere on
either a Mac or PC. Speaking of which, the ix2-200 also functions seamlessly as
a media server and is UPnP/DLNA compliant and functions as an iTunes server. The
ix2-200 also supports Apple's Time Machine and the StorCenter will automatically
appear as a Time Machine target.
For those who might be concerned about security, the
included encryption from RSA helps secure your data inside the StorCenter ix2
and protect the NAS from malicious attacks during installs and product updates.
Another feature worth mentioning is the low power
consumption on the Iomega StorCenter ix2 for users who want access 24/7; the
average consumption of this Energy Star qualified system is only a modest 5W
while idle and maximum power consumption is 19 watts.
Performance and Benchmarks
The Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 drives are each 2TB separately but the RAID 1
mirroring gives the user a combined total space of a single 2TB drive. The
Iomega StorCenter ix2 is rated at a theoretical maximum of 1000Mb (megabits)
transfer rate on a 1Gb network which equates to 125MB (megabytes) per second.
However, we've never seen a NAS in our office that can completely saturate a
network connection, so our expectations were pretty low.
Imagine our surprise when the
new StorCenter ix2-200 turned out to be one of
the fastest NAS devices we've seen in our lab! Atto is one of the standard
synthetic benchmarks we use to test the performance of a storage drive. Below
you can see the average read and write times for the StorCenter ix2-200 over a
standard 1000Mb network connection compared to other NAS devices.
In short, the new Iomega StorCenter
ix2-200 delivered roughly three times faster write speeds and almost six times
faster read speeds compared to the previous generation StorCenter ix2. Even the
Western Digital My Book World Edition NAS devices (a favorite among our editors)
couldn't keep up with the new StorCenter. As it stands, this NAS provides faster
transfer speeds than what you'll get from a cheap generic USB flash drive
connected directly to your computer's USB port ... at least when used over a
1000Mb network switch.
Of course, you should expect a range of slower
speeds if you're using a NAS over an internet connection where your NAS sends
files via your ISP to another computer accessing files over the web. There are
many variables that impact file sharing speeds over the internet, and our lab
benchmarks simply indicate the best case scenario when accessing a NAS in your
office over a wired LAN connection.
One of our chief complaints about last year's Iomega StorCenter ix2 was that ran
a bit louder than the other NAS enclosures we've tested. Iomega's press
materials mentioned the new ix2-200 was much quieter than the old StorCenter, so
I was eager to listen closely to this NAS. Unfortunately, the ix2-200 is a bit
of a mixed blessing when it comes to noise. Both the storage drives inside the
enclosure are completely silent when idle, but produce a substantial amount of
noise when reading and writing files. The twin Seagate 7200rpm hard drives
inside the enclosure made so much noise while running that our editors had
trouble describing it. One of our editors described the noise from the ix2-200
as sounding like a percolating coffee maker, but I would have to say it sounds
more like the distant sound of a jammed garbage disposal.
If you plan to keep the StorCenter ix2-200 in
your closet or in the back of an office utility room then the noise won't be an
issue, but I honestly can't recommend this NAS if you plan to leave it running
on your desk right next to your computer.
Iomega came extremely close to making the world's perfect NAS for home and small
office use with the new
StorCenter ix2-200. This is a phenomenal
network storage solution for everyone from average consumers to budget-minded
business owners. The software installation and setup is the easiest we've ever
seen, and the ix2-200 is hands down the fastest NAS we've ever reviewed.
That said, if you need a network storage drive that sits
next to your desk then this isn't the solution for you. While the easy setup and
fantastic data transfer speeds make the ix2-200 the best NAS on the market, the
noise levels from this thing are just too annoying if you plan to keep this
enclosure in close proximity to your workspace.
Bottom line, if you're looking for the easiest and
fastest NAS on the market then the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 is the best of the
best. However, if you're looking for the quietest NAS to keep close to your
workspace then this NAS is the worst of the worst.
Amazingly fast transfer speeds
- Extremely easy to setup
- Even easier to use