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I'm considering buying a 2bay NAS for media storage. I'm perplexed by the variety of prices. They go from about $115 to $1200. The only thing I could see that differentiated the high end drive was encryption and a dual gigabit ethernet port. I don't understand how that can add up to $800+ dollars.

Clearly I should know why there's this price variance before considering buying a 2 Bay NAS.

Newegg link to 2 Bay NAS

Should I move this question to serverfault?

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closed as not constructive by Benjamin Bannier, Diago Dec 30 '10 at 18:28

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There are a lot of reasons. Nas boxes are not much different than computers in that they have processors, memory, expansion slots, disk drives and operating systems, and they can be used by one user for backup as well as multiple users as a file server. So the price difference can be the same as the price difference between a cheap computer and a high end server.

For example, some of the things that affect the price.

Processor

There are some NAS boxes which have very cheap processors which are fine for the low volume single user access, but cripple the performance of the Nas Box if it is heavily used by lots of users at the same time.

Memory

Software-Raid vs Hardware Raid (or maybe even no Raid)

Expansion slots (eg ESata ports)

Network cards Eg 100Mb vs 1Gb network card. (Becoming less of any issue)

Drives Some of the cheaper nas boxes also have slowish drive, which affects performance if the unit is heavily used.

Hotswappable drives Some of the more expensive Nas boxes have hot-swappable disks (ie you don't need to switch the nas box off to replace a faulty drive)

Name Of course you can pay a lot for the 'name' and reputation of the vendor.

There is also a whole load of other features of which I don't really understand. For example some NAS boxes describe themselves as media streamers and give lists of video codecs that they support. (I am guessing this enables you to pull video files from them to tv's without needing another computer to process the video)

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Thanks. Very thorough answer. –  jcollum Dec 31 '10 at 0:07

My $0.02 is to get a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo. Pretty reasonable price, the thing is built like a Sherman tank, and the software is rock solid. Oh, and did I mention it seems to do just about every protocol under the sun? (AFP, SMB, TimeMachine, talks to my Tivo, iTunes, etc.)

Also, it's linux based and you can get in with root access if you are so inclined.

Upgrading it is trivial too. Just upgraded it from two mirrored 500GB drives to two mirrored 1.5TB drives. Simple, yank one, replace with new drive. Wait for mirroring to complete. Lather, rince, repeat for the other drive. Finally, reboot it and it expands the partitions. Slicker than cat s*^t!

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+1 Wow, thats sweet hardware. –  Moab Dec 30 '10 at 17:27
    
FWIW, Synology can do all that and more for about a third the price. –  Pete Ashdown Dec 30 '10 at 21:20

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