I picked up this little guy (aka the Toaster) recently after seeing Peter’s success with it.
It’s a network connected storage device. What does that mean? It means that you can put two SATA hard drives inside it, plug it into your network and access those drives anywhere on your local network.
Until recently, I had two 500gb SATA drives inside my PowerMac G5 tower that I was using as a file server. Unfortunately, the videocard (among other things) seems to be dying and a replacement is pretty expensive. I can’t even remote into the box anymore. Actually the replacement seems to be about the price of the DNS-323 (around $150 Cdn which doesn’t include any drives) so it seemed like a sensible way to upgrade. You can setup the drives to work as one giant drive or in a number of other Raid configurations. I’m currently only using one drive in there until I get a chance to clean off the other 500gb drive I have. I haven’t read any limitations on drive size but I’m sure they exist.
The main (big) selling point for me is the fact that it has a built in bit torrent client with a web based interface that you can interact with from any device on your network. This completely replaces the PowerMac for me – at least how I was using that machine as primarily a file server and bit torrent client box.
Unfortunately, the downsides I’ve come across so far include crappy Safari support so I have to use Firefox to initiate torrents. Also, the firmware likes to forget some settings when you reboot the device. Fortunately, the firmware seems to be actively updated and the settings bug is an acknowledged issue that will be addressed soon. The initial setup also required a PC to configure. I did this via VMWare but had to tweak my network settings so that the bridged connection could actually see the DNS-323.
Once it was all setup though, it worked like a charm. It just pops up as a network server on all my Macs and fully accessible. I’m not currently using it as my Time Machine backup system but I could easily set it up to do it.
The device also has a USB port but that’s reserved to function as a wireless printer port only so you can’t plug the toaster into your computer and access files via USB.
I haven’t set it up yet, but it also can run as an iTunes server which might be handy for those with multiple computers and one giant library.
Overall, I’m very happy with the DNS-323. It does what it says it will do and after a little setup, can literally be left alone like a toaster. Check out the manual, driver and firmware details on the D-Link support site.