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XIMETA 80Gb NetDisk

Floppy drive, Zip drive, Super Disk, Tape drive, Burner, Flash drive, I have owned them all For one reason or another I haven't been entirely satisfied with any of them. In fact, even with all the storage devices at my disposal, most times I am in a hurry and I just back up my data on the network. That's were the XIMETA comes in. You see, the XIMETA NetDisk is not only an 80 GIG 7200 RPM, USB 2.0 external hard drive, it is also an Ethernet drive. So I can continue to back up my data over the network, except now it is in a convenient portable form.

XIMETA Stuff

Packaging

The NetDisk packaging is professional and eye catching, and probably garners more than a few impulse purchases from CompUSA shoppers that have picked up the box to give it a look. Online retailers the NetDisk is sold at include PC Mall, and Tiger Direct. Priced at under 200 bucks (80 Gb model) the NetDisk is also reasonably priced. The following specs are a summary of those found on the XIMETA website.

XIMETA Box Closed     XIMETA Box Open

NetDisk Specifications

-Fast Ethernet LAN (100 Base-T/80.3u)
-Wi-Fi WLAN (802.11a or 802.11g)
-Hot Pluggable USB 2.0 is recommended
-ATA 33, 66, 100, 133
-Power- External 12V, 1.5A
-Dimensions (W x H x D) 4.7" x 8.2" x 1.4"
-Weight 972 g
-80 GB, 120 GB, 160 GB sizes available
-Supports Windows 2000 and Windows XP

XIMETA Software

With Windows XP (XP and 2000 are supported), using the NetDisk as a USB 2.0 drive was amazingly simple. Should you have troubles there is also an excellent owner's manual on the CD. I still would have liked to see a printed manual instead; I guess I am old-fashioned. To start, I switched the jumper on the back of the drive from the default position of down (Ethernet) to up (USB), plugged in the 6ft USB cable, and the power cable, then watched Windows Plug & Pray actually properly automatically configure a device for a change. Shhh, Don't tell Bill.

If you were impressed with the NetDisk ease of installation in USB mode wait until you get a look at its performance. Thanks to the Samsung 7200 PRM SPO8O2N and its fluid bearing the NetDisk is not only silent--its SiSoft Sandra drive scores of 28 MB/s write, and 20 MB/s read--slightly exceed the performance level of some entry level internal hard drives. USB 1.1 is also supported, but don't look for scores like the ones above with it. During benchmarking the NetDisk I noticed that it gets very hot during extended operation. For this reason it would have been nice to see some sort of power switch on the NetDisk. One other quirk I noted here is the drive status LED didn't seem to work properly in USB mode.

SiSoft Benchmark

NetDisk installation in NDAS (Ethernet) mode is not as simple as in USB mode but it isn't overly difficult, either. To install, set the rear jumper to the downward position (Ethernet) plug the included network cable to the back of the NetDisk and the other end into your hub.

NetDisk Software 1

If you happen to be running a wireless network, either 802.11a or 802.11g is supported also. Install driver. Reboot computer.

NetDisk Software 2

Register NetDisk using NetAdmin applet by entering the NetDisk ID, and Write Key located on the bottom of the NetDisk (One time thing).

NetDisk Software 3

Install the NetDisk driver on each PC on the network that you want to access the NetDisk from. At the moment only one PC can write to the NetDisk at a time, but all can read from it. If you want to change which PC has write permission for the NetDisk you can easily do this through the NetAdmin applet. While this is only a minor issue for a small home network, I can see that it would be a major one if the NetDisk was used in a larger corporate network. This issue is due to be addressed in the next driver release due before the end of the year. SiSoft Sandra drive scores are down, but remember that the drive is now running on the much slower network interface.

SiSoftware Benchmark

There are a couple more functions the NetDisk has that merit mention here. The first one is called aggregate function. What this means if you aren't familiar with the term aggregate (I wasn't, although I knew the concept) is that the NetDisk is stackable. For instance, if you have ten 80 GIG NetDisk, they can be aggregated to function as one single 800 GIG NetDisk! The NetDisk also can work as RAID 1 to mirror your information. There is also a third method the NetDisk can function in that I want to briefly mention. It is called Single Ethernet Mode. You plug the NetDisk directly into your network card, using a cross-over cable (not included), and from there you configure it the same as in MDAS mode. I personally don't see much use to this mode since it is slower than USB mode, and less useful than NDAS mode.

Conclusion:

For a just-released piece of hardware the NetDisk is a remarkably mature, and robust product. At the moment driver support is limited to Windows 2000, and XP. I am told Windows 98 and Linux support should soon follow. Having had the opportunity to briefly speak with David from technical support about a installation issue, I can state that not only was he polite and responsive, he also definitely knew his stuff. Often times this is not the case in our industry. For that and the other reasons listed above I am awarding the XIMETA NetDisk MHW's very first Editors Choice Award.

Editor's Choice

Pros:

  • Innovative USB/Ethernet combo HDD
  • Super fast USB 2.0 speeds
  • Stackable drives

Cons:

  • Driver support a little immature
  • No power switch

Added: September 7th 2003
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 9  
Related Link: XIMETA
Hits: 21296
Language: english

  

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