I purchased a NS4300N several months ago and returned it a few days later; it was too slow, buggy and wasn't worth the $400 I had paid for it. Recently I found the device on sale at Fry's for $350 and (also influenced suggestions of others) I decided to give it another go.
This time I started off with 1TB drives- three so far, but expanding to a fourth this weekend (final goal is 3TB in RAID5). It was configured and went about its drive RAIDing way.
Coincidentally, Promise released SR4 update for the NS4300N a few days after I purchased it; this was a roll-up patch that addressed several issues. One ironic thing that I discovered was that the final release limited the (GB) Ethernet port to 100Mbps- perhaps the CPU of the NS4300N cannot keep up with 1Gbps of data?
Whatever the reasons, the unit seems to function much better than my prior unit- so either the patch fixed issues I was having or I had a defective unit in my prior purchase. Speed indicated in the unit was in the 80Mbps-90Mpbs range- which is very good on a 100Mbps port- and my copying computer giving random total copy times (thank you Windows).
There are now several plug-ins (with no instructions on how to use), including:
- iTunes Server
- DNLA Plug-in
- BitTorrent/eBondkey/HTTP/FTP plugin
The DNLA plugin was there with the prior version, and it allows the unit to share out folders for use with DNLA players- such as the PS3. I assume iTunes makes the unit act as a sever or AppleTVs or other iTunes clients. The BitTorrent was the one I have the most questions about but have been unable to find answers (I am assuming I drop the '.torrent' file somewhere and the NS4300N does the rest!)
Luckily the decision to purchase the NS4300N came at a very good time; I do normal backups, but I have over 2TB of data on my Windows Home Server (WHS) system and I do not have the space to back all of it up. I setup the NS4300N and immediately started coping over items that I had not been backing up to other locations- such as movies, videos, HD videos, etc. Shortly after setting up a weekly scheduled backup via 'Handy Backup' my WHS had a drive fail and dumped most of these files into oblivion.
WHS has a 'duplicate folder' option that was turned on for most of the folders- but I still was getting 'file does not exist at specified location' errors when I tried to open files. It is also somewhat possible that installing WHS PowerPack1 slightly after the crash (to see if it would recover the missing files) was not a good idea. For what-ever reason, several hundred GB of my 2TB were corrupted- and it was randomly spread over the volume set. I eventually verified everything I wanted was on the NS4300N and deleted all the drives in the WHS (to re-arrange and re-create a more stable volume set). This took about 4 days but worked out pretty well.
My WHS is now up and running and the NS4300N servers as a network backup device that I use in conjunction with Handy Backup to keep the system backed up- I will not trust the 'folder duplication' feature of the WHS again.
So, for my second go-round, I will have to say that the NS4300N seems much more stable than prior. It still does not do the transfer speeds that I can get PC to PC, but that can be overlooked when it is being used to a NAS backup device (where backups occur in the background).
Optimally I would like to see the new backup feature of WHS be able to backup directly to NAS- and make my life one program less complicated...