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Acer easyStore H340 2TB - Acer easyStore H340 2TB

By Hugo Jobling

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Acer easyStore H340 2TB

Summary

Our Score:

8

Backups from a PC to the easyStore H340 are considerably less fraught. A normal NAS might bundle software letting you configure backups to a schedule of your choice, but the H340 makes things even easier. Using the Windows Home Server Console you can set the H340 to periodically reach out and take a backup of any Windows PC on your network. It's so simple I reckon that even the simplest simian could cope with it.

What's particularly nifty is that those computers can be woken remotely to be backed up, and will power down again once it is complete. Primarily this serves a power saving device, but it also means that if you meant to leave your system on to be backed up, but turned it off for some reason, any scheduled backup will still take place.

Remote access is handled particularly well. If you have a Windows Live login (which most of us do, if only for our Messenger or Xbox Live accounts) then you can tie the H340 to a web address at homeserver.com (in the format yourname.homeserver.com). You might note that other NAS devices offer similar solutions, but what's outstanding about the WHS implementation is that it also gives you access to shared files on computers on your home network, if you so desire, which is pretty cool.

The H340 takes care of media streaming well, too. Any uPnP device should have no problem picking up any file it can play from any shared drives on the H340. Acer has also pre-installed the common Firefly iTunes server, which will monitor your shared folders and push compatible files to iTunes, be that on a PC or Mac.

Another benefit of Windows Home Server, and thus the H340, is the ability to install add-ins. One particularly useful one has been pre-installed by Acer: Lights Out. This enables you to set a schedule for the H340 to power up and down, using a useful calendar view. If you're particularly into your power saving, setting the H340 to turn off while you're at work, and back on again before you arrive home might well appeal. Other add-ons not included, but which I would highly recommend include an FTP management system, Time Machine compatibility, if you have any Macs at home, and the somewhat useful uTorrent.

Better still, that's just what's available using the management console. Many NAS boxes can have third party applications installed, too, but Windows Home Server can also run just about any application that will run on a desktop PC. If you're feeling brave, you can use Remote Desktop to take complete control of the H340 and install just about any program you like. A prime choice would be WinRAR and a funky little program called AutoExtractor, which (who would have guessed) automatically extracts RAR'd torrents on completion - I'll leave you to guess why that might prove useful.

Verdict

The Acer easyStore H340 is keenly priced and well featured. Windows Home Server's simple initial setup process belies its underlying capacity to be hugely customised by a willing user. NAS devices are so 2009, what you really want is a home server.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Value 8

gurnaik

March 11, 2010, 10:59 pm

No RAID support? No sale.





Presumably, as its Windows based, you would also have to apply service packs, run antivirus, etc., or do Acer provide net updates?

Premfab

March 12, 2010, 12:29 am

Nice review of a decent product.





Can't help thinking that Acer's missed a trick.





HP's version of this is similarly priced, looks far nicer. Features wise, I can't see Acer having done anything to differtiate itself from the HP.





The HP is now several years old. I was hoping that a giant like Acer would have come up with something more than a 'me too' product.

Xamph

March 12, 2010, 4:13 am

@Prem: Your similarly priced (but "beautiful" :-) HP comes with only a single 1TB drive, while this comes with two.


Anyone scared of WHS's lack of RAID should note that there is a thriving Linux-on-H340 community (indeed, if anyone wanted to replicate WHS's "safety by duplicating" method, do a google search for "project greyhole" -- still in its infancy but looking good.)

Guye0a

March 12, 2010, 4:48 am

Be careful with the installation of any software requiring administrative privilages using Romote Desktop as this provides a pseudo admin environment only and can cause software installation problems. There is a Micorsoft produced Whitepaper covering this 'feature' - just search MS. VNC or similar remote access offering true console replication do not suffer from this problem

morsch

March 12, 2010, 8:12 pm

Windows on a NAS? You've got to be kidding.

xenos

March 13, 2010, 5:40 am

Might want to hold off for a few months..





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W...

MarioM

March 15, 2010, 5:25 pm

@gurnaik and the RAID concerned - I was obsessed with the idea that these WHS boxes don't have RAID until I did a bit of googling:





http://fearthecowboy.com/post/...





And now I'm no longer worried. Basically Drive extender has various benefits such as:


-use lots of different drive sizes/brands


-rescue data by just plugging drives into a PC


-only duplicate the data you want (perfect if you image your DVDs for convenient streaming)





The real risk is the loss of the system partition which is why I bought a Tranquil SQA-5H SAFE. It's WHS but with a mini-RAID ('SAFE') kit in one of the drive bays (two 2.5" in RAID1) taking up one 3.5" bay, for the OS. So best of both worlds. They now sell the SAFE separately too.

Jay4d0

March 16, 2010, 6:08 pm

this seems far superior to any NAS and far more flexable, but it doesnt need antivirus does it?

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