First and foremost, I tested this device by simulating a disk failure, and the answer is a resounding YES.
I received this NAS box from my sister, who asked me to 1) try out this DNS-320 out as a central file storage device, and 2) to set it up for her home, of course I agreed! She wants to centralize her files (photos, music, movies, etc.) so that the entire family can access them.
All the initial testing I did at my home using a D-Link DIR-655 Gigabit wireless N Router and gigabit ethernet on a WinXP Pro SP3 desktop and a Mac Pro (OSX SL). I have almost 1TB worth of pictures, and MP3 files, and over 2TB of home videos stored on my main desktop PC (WinXP Pro SP3), accessible to other computers on my home network as a shared folder. These files are backed up to a DNS-343 NAS box (4x2TB drives), and is backed up remotely to an identical DNS-343 box in my office (off-site). I also use the DNS-343 in my office as a backup of my workstation, and this DNS-343 is backed up remotely to my home DNS-343.
No problems with the setup (though I did perform a manual setup using the device IP). If you are not familiar with how to do a manual setup, I highly suggest to use the ShareCenter Software CD, which comes with the product. It goes through a step-by-step process of how to set up the unit.
The firmware was already the latest version, so no need to upgrade. I popped in two WD Caviar Black 1TB drives (these were my spare drives), connected the power and network cables and powered up, logged in using web GUI and configured the device for my network and use (DDNS, email settings, etc), formatted and setup drives for RAID1 (format did not hang at 94%), and it was up and running.
Write speed - From my desktop PC (WinXP SP3), I copied large movie files (over 1GB per file), and I calculated a transfer speed of about 16-20 MB/s (UPDATED new test yielded 18-23 MB/s). From my Mac, I copied another set of movie files and got 22-26 MB/s (UPDATED new test yielded 24-28 MB/s). With real world files (varying in size from a few kb to 10MB), I got anywhere between 12 to 18 MB/s on both computers.
Read speed - I copied the movie file from the DNS-320 to my PC and I got 26-30 MB/s (UPDATED new test yielded 30-40 MB/s), and 35-50 MB/s for my Mac. I'm not sure why the difference between PC and Mac, and may be inherent to the different file systems between the two OS. Nontheless these numbers are quite impressive, and better than I expected. With real world files, I got anywhere between 20-30 MB/s on both computers (UPDATE new test yielded 20-40 MB/s).
I removed one of the drives to simulate a "disk failure." The DNS-320 detected a disk failure within seconds and notified me via email. Awesome! I then inserted another drive (Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200) and the DNS-320 formatted and synchronized the new disk, which took a few hours. I used a linux box to perform "diff -r" to make sure the data was not corrupted, and no corruption was found.
I also tried a pair of WD 2TB drives (WD20EADS), which are WD green drives but not the advanced formatting version (EARS). Therefore, these drives runs a lot cooler than the 7200 WD drives. These performed almost similarly, with a slight decrease in read and write performance (though not huge, maybe 1-2 MB/s or sometimes more)
I gave this NAS back to my sister with the 2x2TB green drives. Having tested the DNS-320, I am quite impressed with its capabilities and I am now considering buying two to backup my DNS-343 (4x2TB configuration). I did not test this side-by-side against my DNS-343, which may be my next project.
My only criticism is the lack of information whether this can handle the advanced format drives like the newer WD or Seagate 2TB green drives. No information is available on the D-Link support section. Others who have used this unit with the AFT drives have been mixed: It worked for some, and not for others. Until I try it myself, I cannot make any definitive conclusions. This is enough for me to dock one star from what would have otherwise been an excellent NAS device.
Overall, it is a great little unit. Highly recommended. (I am also tempted to try the upgraded version, the DNS-325, which has a 50% faster processor and double the RAM than the DNS-320.)
WARNING: GEEK ALERT BELOW
For a few technical details, see below. Otherwise, you can skip.
CPU 800 MHz
RAM 128MB RAM
2x3.5" Internal SATA Hard Drive
Ports * 1 x 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Port
1 USB Port
Drive Management * Four Different Hard Drive Configurations (RAID 0, 1, JBOD, Standard)
* Drive Status with E-mail Alerts
* Drive Quotas
* Power Management
Device Management * Internet Explorer® v6 or other Java-enabled Browsers (I used Firefox)
LEDs * Power
* HDD 1
* HDD 2
Power Consumption * Normal Mode: 15.7 W
* Sleep Mode: 8.2 W
Power Management * Power Saving
* Schedule Power Off
* Auto Power Recovery Support
Operating Temperature * 30º to 104º F (0º to 40º C) - I tested 36C for 7200 drives, and 29C for Green drives.
Warranty * 3 Year Limited
on June 6, 2011
This model is an improvement over the DNS-321, which tops out at 14-16MBps for write speeds. I populated it with a single firmware-updated Samsung F4EG drive; it's not on the compatible drive list but works fine. Copying files via Windows on a gigabit network, I get consistent write speeds in the 18-25MBps range (which is about 1.2GB per minute). Reading speeds vary from 30MBps to 52MBps. I also tried a 7200rpm Seagate drive with the same result, and also via the built-in FTP server. You might be able to squeeze out a little more performance with a different drive, but those speeds are likely limited by the NAS itself.
My primary use is to stream content to XBMC, and it performs that role perfectly. For other XBMC-on-Windows users, I'd recommend mapping via it the UNC address (like \\NAS\Volume_1) instead of mapping it via a drive letter in Windows. When the NAS goes to sleep Windows drops the connection and your apps might hiccup before it fully wakes, which is 10 seconds or less. My secondary usage is as a data backup, and it's fast enough so that doesn't take all day.
It's very green: According to the data sheet, it consumes 15.7w while in use and 8.2w while sleeping.
I played around with the uPnP / DLNA feature and that seems to work fine. You can plug in a flash drive in the front and press the button to create a backup, which is a neat feature.
Like Windows, the performance seems to decrease over time so I'd advise periodic reboots. I left it on for two weeks and was only able to get write speeds of 10MBps. After a reboot, I was able to get 20MBps again. You can schedule it to turn off, but not to reboot.
Big note here: You will have to format any drives you use inside this thing, so don't stick in a drive with the only copy of your important data on it!
The fan does create some noise when running, but I imagine most people will tuck these away somewhere so it shouldn't be an issue. The web interface is a little bit clunky, so you might have to poke around to find things. It has lots of features I haven't tried, including ddns, bittorrent, scheduled downloads, etc. I don't have any reason to believe these features won't work as advertised though.
In the end, I'm thrilled with this unit. It does exactly what I was hoping it would. There are some cons but they aren't major enough to make me knock off a star because there is nothing else that comes close to the value you get for the price.
I've now had this unit for about 8 months. It keeps chugging right along and I have installed the latest firmware (v2.02). However, I am lowering the rating from 5 to 4. The feature to automatically restart after a power outage does not seem to work. Remote access via SSL had stopped working but I was able to get SSL working again after deleting the cert from my browser.
The Hitachi 5k3000 2TB drive works with the updated v2.02 firmware.
After 13 months of daily usage, I'm still very happy with this unit. I'm able to stream media to a PC, laptop, iPad, and two different streaming media players (one uses DLNA, the other uses SMB) without problems.
Just shy of two years later, still very happy with this box. I am able to access everything on the box remotely. Upgraded the firmware to 2.03 and the GUI is noticeably quicker. Sadly, it's now 35% more expensive than when I first bought it. When it comes time to expand I may give the MyDitto a try since it's nearly half the price.
on April 6, 2012
Bottom line: D-Link tech support is beyond horrible - it took them ONE MONTH to respond to a support request, and it was a total non-response - basically, they told me that I shouldn't be using this product as a Network Storage Device, that it was designed more for [sic]"Backup's". So, they did not even address the fact that it corrupts data! Yes, you heard me correctly - it is not able to save data/files accurately!!! (With Firmware release 2.02, and now also the beta release of 2.03)
The unit ships with Firmware 2.0, and while there are some known (and D-Link admitted) bugs with this firmware, one thing I can say, it does not have the serious corruption issue I talk about in the first paragraph. I know this because (by accident) I bought 2 of these DNS-320 boxes so I have one with the 2.0 firmware that it ships with, and another that I upgraded firmware on. BEWARE: YOU CANNOT DOWNGRADE BACK TO 2.0 FIRMWARE IF YOU UPDATE THE FIRMWARE. D-Link says firmware 2.02 (or later) is needed to support 3tb drives and since that is what I was using, I updated the firmware. BIG MISTAKE. Now, I have a box that cannot be used.
AND SINCE D-LINK TOOK ONE MONTH TO GIVE ME NON-RESPONSE TO TECH SUPPORT REQUEST, I am beyond the Amazon return period.
Since the November 2011 release of Firmware 2.02, users have been reporting data integrity problems with the box - including files that get copied and then show up as "0 bytes". (See forums.dlink.com for DNS-320)
I say - do yourself a favor, and pass over D-Link products. The company cannot be trusted and is non-responsive to product defects/bugs.
IF you do purchase this product, DO NOT UPDATE THE FIRMWARE unless you want to experiment with a storage device that does not always store the data correctly.
UPDATE - August 2012: The D-Link support forum has some reports of a new beta release of Firmware (2.03b03) that some users report fixes the data corruption issue. However, apparently this is not a North American firmware release, and D-Link requested all links to this beta firmware be removed from their forum. So, just so you know how unresponsive D-Link is: they KNOW the firmware they offer corrupts data, they have a fix for other parts of the world that was made in June 2012, but still don't offer it to USA/North America.
on October 17, 2011
I have a DNS323 setup at work and wanted one at home. I saw that Dlink had this newer version that included automatic powerup after power outage. Overall I would say I am pleased as the product does what it is supposed to do. I bought 2 Hitachi Deskstar 2 TB 3.5-Inch CoolSpin RPM SATA III 6Gbps 32 MB Cache Internal Hard Drive 0F12117 to put in it and they seem to work perfectly. No issues that I can note on the drives.
This is a great alternative to an expensive server. For typical 1 file at a time access, you might not even be able to tell the difference between this NAS and a server. You will feel the difference when you try to copy entire CD's etc but even then, it's not bad. Compared to the older DNS323, the drive orientation and installation is better but the plastics of the case seem a little cheap. Nothing broke or anything like that, it seemed like they could have used a little more metal but I guess they have to keep the cost down to compete in the NAS market. At first the auto power up feature did not seem to work every time but seems to have corrected itself now, no idea what happened there as I didn't change anything to correct it. You do have to enable the feature as it is not enabled by default. As for all of the software that it comes with, I was not very excited about most of it and left it turned off. I have other software packages that I like better was all. I wish that someone would do something to improve the FTP services and make them secure, or add an HTTPS server with a media server for photos and music but maybe that is just more than an NAS is designed to handle, though I think it could handle it just fine. Good product overall, priced affordably and a great alternative to setting up a full server. The redundant RAID drives make this a great way to protect your important files without any thought. It just magically save everything on both drives (if you set it up that way) so if one drive fails, the file is still on the other one. Of course if you prefer, you can set it up for more capacity and not use the backup, in which case you will get the combined capacity of the drives you install. This is very flexible. If you have never set one up before, it will take a little time to fumble through it but once done you will find the rewards worth it. I love having an FTP server set up on mine so everyone in my family all over the country can share files. You can even use the "Map Network Drive" option under "tools" in Windows Explorer (not IE) to set up a internet shared folder. Hint: don't select the drive letter option, click the link below that allows you to set up a link to the FTP service. Once setup, the FTP folder looks like any other folder on you computer, just that it lives under the Network Places and not you "C" drive. There is a huge internet presence of people who love this NAS box so there is plenty of help out there if you need it. GOOD STUFF!
on October 17, 2011
I am the happy owner of a previous model, the D-Link DNS-321 2-Bay Network Attached Storage unit. I got over the software glitches (that silly bug whereby formatting a new disk drive appeared to stall at 64%, while in reality it went ahead formatting until completion, despite what the graphical gauge indicated), and the fact that it's quite noisy, and also quite reluctant to take advantage of a 1-Gigabit local connection. Nonetheless, I figured that having 2.5 TB in an enclosure that cost me around $136 was a bargain.
However, after studying the new DNS-320 ShareCenter 2-Bay USB 2.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure (whew, what a long name!) for still less ($100), I bought TWO units which I fitted with two 2-TB Western Digital Caviar Green SATA II drives, for a total of 4TB each NAS. I was amazed at the simplicity D-Link engineers built into these enclosures. Sturdy (even it's plastic, not metal), lightweight, very silent (inaudible from 10 feet or more), cool (better ventilated)and a cinch to set up, format the drives and start rolling. It honors my 1-Gigabit home network, working at transfer rates ranging from 12% to 45% of 1 GB.
I definitely recommend this product, depite two small defects I noticed after some time:
1) It's frustratingly cumbersome to POWER OFF the unit: you have to invoke a program which demands you to "SIGN IN", offers a window where you must "CONFIGURE" the unit, which in turn opens a Web Page in a browser, in which you must select an ADMIN icon, which offers an OPTIONS menu, where you select "SHUTDOWN" and (still) ask for a CONFIRMATION. WHEW! Wouldn't it be simpler to punch the POWER ON button again to turn off the thing?
2) After heavy use, the cooling fan keeps going at full speed (and full noise, too, when throttled up)--until the unit is turned off, NOT slowing down after the drive has cooled down. Two simple things for D-LINK engineers to fix, I'm sure, if they were willing to...
on August 16, 2012
I purchased as a network storage drive, the first one was DOA and killed the SATA drive that I plugged in. The replacement worked for a while off and on but died when I tried to add the second drive, now neither slot works. Wasted hours messing around and doing returns, it is cheap for a reason I'd rate it zero stars if I could
on September 10, 2011
I find this to be an entirely appropriate, useful, home NAS device. If you are regularly moving hundreds/thousands of files onto/off your NAS you'll want something more powerful. If after initial setup you'll mainly be copying up or pulling down 50 or 60 photos you took this weekend, moving around music, movies and photos to your Ipod or streaming multimedia you'll be pleased with this little NAS. It holds up to 2 - 2TB drives.
It is stable and the user interface is designed for people with little/no networking experience. All screens have an "explanation bar" on the right telling you what all options do/mean that help anyone get setup in a flash.
The CD holds a number of items of which the user's manual is the most important. You don't need the included program to setup the NAS. You can and should simply login to the device from your browser. To do this you'll first need to login to your router and get the IP address of the device. While there, I suggest setting up a DHCP reservation or static IP for the device so you'll always know where it is. These days, many of us are running Windows 7 Home Premium. With this OS you'll not see the device in Windows Explorer due to security policies. Do not worry. It's there. Just map the drive with \\IP address\folder and you'll see it. I know, stupid. That's Microsoft's fault not the NAS's.
The price makes this a nice little way to get files off your PC and onto your LAN, give you FTP access if desired and the RAID 1 option gives you an immediate safety net. I call this device a win.
on July 6, 2011
I bought this to replace a single-drive NAS from Iomega. The Iomega's drive started to fail after 18 months of service, and the tiny 30mm fan appeared to have heat damage. I wanted more flexibility to pick my own drives, and definitely wanted RAID 1 to protect against future drive failures.
We're not heavy users of networked data, mostly using it to store backups of the assorted PCs on site. I also wanted print server capabilities - our router will do it, but seems rather slow to spool jobs. This box and the Zyxel NSA221 seemed like the best choices, and the D-Link won on reviews.
I bought 2 2TB Samsung F4 EcoGreen drives to go in this, and I have to say, setting it up was virtually seamless. Drop the drives in, connect to power and ethernet, run the setup wizard and go. It took around 10 minutes to format the RAID 1 array, and then I was able to map the drive and set up folders. I'm using Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, fyi. The other computers, running XP, Ubuntu, and Windows 7 Home Premium, were all able to map the new drive, the connected printer, and access the administration page.
It's much too soon to review the reliability, but I'm happy so far.
on June 23, 2011
I have had this device for about a month now and it has performed very reliably, so I have no complaints about the hardware so far. Drive installation is dead simple and requires no tools or, for that matter, knowledge of computers. Setting it up on the network was also simple and I don't expect that anyone will have problems with it at all.
The device seems to be a bit slow in the transfer area, even though it is gigabit. I have a whole-house system wired with cat 5e and a 24-port gigabit switch that performs admirably. I have set this unit up with two Seagate ST2000DL003 2TB hard drives in a RAID-1 configuration. Admittedly, the drives are only 5900 RPM instead of 7200 and the RAID-1 configuration slows things down a bit, but the DNS-320 seems a bit slower than other solutions I have used. It is DEFINITELY not a deal breaker, as I still highly recommend this unit.
This is where we hit a snag. The software for this device is not ready for prime time at all. The backup software provided with the drive crashes constantly on a Windows 7 (64-bit) computer and causes freezes. Reinstalling does not help with the problems, so the backup software is completely useless.
The Time Machine option does not work with Mac OS X Lion, so you won't be able to get it set up for automatic backups on your Mac. There is no problem with getting the Mac to connect to the device in order to move files, but Time Machine will not work.
The sharing services are also painfully slow and cumbersome to get around. The instructions do not cover things in any depth and the things that are covered are not terribly helpful. Perhaps I am used to corporate solutions and am spoiled by the interfaces I have used, but the device dashboard is not worth bothering with in my opinion.
I have found this unit to be reliable, if a little slow. The software is not good at all and the backup software is completely useless. I feel that the hardware is solid enough to merit the four-star review, as I can use other backup software. The RAID-1 configuration works well and keeps your data safe. The only thing I would like to see is hot-swappable drives, but that is a minor concern.
on March 13, 2012
I purchased the D-Link DNS-320 in the fall of 2011. I have now had it running continously for about 5 months. I have installed 2 WD 2 Terabyte green drives in raid 0. Initial set up was very simple, open case, insert drives, close casee turn on. I have the unit hooked up to a D-link dual band N router and access the sharecenter from a laptop via WiFi and from a stand alone via a wired network, both work excellently.
I used the provided software to set up the unit which was quite straight forward on formatting the drive and setting up raid. I have played a bit with some of the other features but have not attempted a FTP server or internet access.
Some reviews have indicated issues with this unit and the green drives but I have not had any problems. I do have the power saving feature enabled so the unit powers down when not being used. The unit has been subjected to a few un-scheduled power outages and rebooted automatically and suffered no ill effects. I have since installed my network on a UPS to avoid this as much as possible. As a side note I used a APC 1300 which when hooked to my sharecenter, router, and cable modem gives me @ 3 hrs run time.
Even using the WiFi link I get good speeds when accessing the sharecenter and can watch HD movies.
I would have no problems recomending this product to a novice or a seasoned pc person.