Top critical review
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Decent hardware package but the NAS OS needs work
on October 22, 2009
Out of the box, this NAS is attractive. However, the OS on this box needs work. If you are technically inclined please read on.
After I added my 4 1.5TB drives and powered it on. It showed up under Bonjour->Webpages in Safari. I was able to configure it very quickly. Promise got this part right. I was planning to use it as a media and file storage in our home network that is 100% Mac based. So, I enabled AFP for file-sharing and enabled FireFly for iTunes media sharing. I also turned on DLNA for experimentation. So far so good. When I attempted to transfer over 2 TB of content from my FreeNAS server using my MacPro I started seeing problems. I could not transfer more than 20-30 GB without the NS4600 disappearing from the network completely requiring a reboot of NS4600. Promise tech support is very accessible but could not help me, they first blamed it on my OS saying that said they had not qualified their product on Snow Leopard and asked me to try it under Leopard and try using Samba (SMB). So I installed Leopard in a different volume and tried AFP share first. That exhibited the same problem I saw in Snow Leopard. Then I tried SMP on Leopard, that worked but was about 28% slower than AFP (BTW, I have not seen SMB outperform AFP in any of the NAS systems I have tested). SMB worked fine in SnowLeopard as well. At that point, I disabled SMB, enabled AFP, and retried copying files using my Mac Pro running Snow Leopard. This time the copy worked! Something about using SMB once seems to have made my NS4600 happy! So, the AFP implementation in NS-4600 is unreliable and Promise did not have anything to say about it when I asked them for comments.
FireFly iTunes server had difficulty streaming my movie files. They should show up as movie files in iTunes on my Mac. But, when I tried playing, only the audio part would play. This is apparently a known bug that will be fixed in a future update.
Because of these problems, I retuned my NS4600 back to Amazon and got a Synology DS-409 as a replacement. So far the Synology DS-409 is working well. I would recommend that over the Promise NS-4600 based on my experience.