Plextor 250GB Network Attached Storage

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Plextor 250GB Network Attached Storage
Installation, Setup and Performance

Product: PX-EH25L Professional Network Attached Storage Device
Provided By: Plextor America
Price: MSRP $299 USD

Introduction:

Plextor has long been a leader in optical storage.  Although they haven't always pioneered new technology, they produce high quality products that are renown for their reliability, quality and performance.  They have taken this reputation and launched a new series of products - Network Attached Storage (NAS).  At the moment they have two models available, the PX-EH25L and the PX-EH40L.  These ship in sizes of 250GB and 400GB respectively.  We will be looking at the PX-EH25L today which has all the features of the larger 400GB unit, only a smaller drive.

Box Shot
Box Shot

This is not merely a simple NAS, Plextor has bumped up the feature list with FTP capability, print server functions, backup and security features.  It's not a bad unit to drop in on your home, small business or even larger office network.

First Look:

The PX-EH25L, in true Plextor fashion, comes with everything you need to get started.  They included a nice flat Ethernet cable as well as a power supply, manual, CD, and of course the NAS itself.  The network enclosure can be set up on it's "side" and pictured below or it can be laid flat to prevent it from getting knocked over.

The Bundle
The Bundle

The PX-EH25L enclosure is actually quite long, and is pretty heavy.  It is much longer than a 3.5" hard drive, so either there is a lot of extra gear inside this unit or a lot of wasted space.  The enclosure has a nice sleek look and has aluminum sides and a rubberi-sh feeling on the black sides and front.

As you can see in the middle picture below, the unit can a power switch, power connector, and 2 USB ports for print serving or connecting additional USB devices.  It also has a 10/100 base network connector and a MDI/MDI-X switch.  Most networking devices can automatically detect straight or crossover cables, but the PX-EH25L may require manually setting this option.  I say "may" because if you plug this unit into an auto MDI/MDI-X switch it will detect it and connect properly no matter what the switch on the PX-EH is set to.

Large & In Charge
Large & In Charge

Back Inputs & More
 Back Inputs & More

Label Info
 Label Info

Specs & Features:


Before we take the enclosure apart to find out what makes it tick, we'll take a look at the "Total Solution Features" as indicated by Plextor.

  • Capacity: 250GB
  • Speed: 94.5 Mbps
  • Buffer size: 8 MB
  • Rotation Speed: 7200 RPM
  • Built-in Print Server
  • Silent Operation
      • LAN Interface Specifications:
  • Interface: IEEE 802.3 / IEEE 802.3u Standard
  • Transmission Encoding Method: (100 BASE-TX/10 BASE-T)
  • Port/ Connector: RJ-45
  • Cable: 100Base-TX: Category5 2, 4 UTP - 10Base-T: Category 3,4,5 4 UTP
  • USB Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, Full-Speed, Low-Speed - Number of Ports: 2
  • Protocol Support - TCP/IP: Windows Communications
  • Two-year full warranty (parts and labor)

Operating System Support

  •  Windows XP/Windows 2000 Professional
  •  Windows Me/Windows 98SE/ Windows NT 4.0 (SP4.0 or above)

 

Although the specs say Windows only, it will work under Linux if the machine can browse a windows network.  The interface and setup is web-based, so it shouldn't have any trouble with a machine that can browse the web.

Closer Look:

 

Curiosity has been known to kill a cat, and one day it may just get me.  After we took apart the Samsung DVD-HR720 to find out what was inside, I've been dying to take apart something else.  One of the first things I noticed about this PX-EH25L is that is is virtually silent, even when reading and writing.  My immediate question was "what drive do they use?"  Check out below as we tear it limb from limb.

Top & Bottom Rails Removed
Top & Bottom Rails Removed

Cover Removed
 Cover Removed

Hitachi Inside - 250GB RoHS
 Hitachi Inside - 250GB RoHS

To get the cover off of the PX-EH initially was a little tricky.  It required an emergency eject tool from a Plextor DVD±RW drive and a little patience.  Once the rails were popped off it was a matter of undoing several screws to take the aluminum sides off.  Once those were removed I could see the drive as pictured in the middle shot above, but I still couldn't see who made it.  I had to remove the steel support to find the manufacturer.  It's a top-end Hitachi ATA133 RoHS drive.  This drive runs quiet, cool and fast enough to run circles around the 100Mb interface.  The drive in fact features a 7,200 rpm spindle speed and an 8MB cache.  In reality a 5,400 rpm drive with a 2MB cache could keep up, but it's nice to see that Plextor has chosen a top-end drive for their NAS.

On the next page, we'll cover installation (if you can call it that), setup and usage.