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The Quest For the Perfect SOHO NAS (Part I)


MR. Technoid Guy
NAS or (Network Attached Storage) has been around for some time. Recently, NAS started finding its way into the SOHO (Small Office Home Office) arena. The first decision you face when looking for a NAS product is whether you want to purchase just an enclosure without hard drive(s) or a pre-packaged unit with hard drive(s) installed. Once you decide on the type of NAS, you are faced with a seemingly endless list of manufacturers to choose from. Some of the names you will recognize, others are companies that are starting to dabble in the NAS market. I might add that I have 19 years of computer experience with 12+ years of networking in a mixed hosted and SaaS environment with a dated MCSE NT 4.0 certification. This being said, this is not my first rodeo. I believe software and hardware should evolve into simpler devices with rich interfaces. As you will find out, not all NAS products are created equal.


In my quest for the perfect NAS, I spent a few hours researching various manufacturers and suppliers of NAS products. My first NAS product experience was the Coolmax CN-330 Dual Bay 3.5″ SA TA RAID Network Attached Storage Enclosure. I did some quick online reviews. I did not find many positives mentioned about this device, other than the fact that it was one of the cheapest products on the market and good for entry level use. Since my initial thought was to use this for simple file storage and home use, I felt comfortable with my decision. My next step was to try this product, mainly because of its small-sized enclosure and raid capabilities with a reasonable price sticker of around $129.00. The age old adage of “You get what you pay for,” never rang clearer once I got the product home and opened the box. The overall construction of the Coolmax Enclosure was cheaply made and seemed flimsy at best. While this did not instill confidence, I trudged forward hoping that the firmware was strong and would be capable of handling the work load for which it was intended. Wrong, the first big shock was the total lack of documentation. If I had not researched this product online, I would never had known to unscrew the top and install the drives. The next problem was getting the device to remember any settings. When I tried to save a static IP address to the device, it continued to revert back to DHCP served. Finally, I let the device stay at this setting and tried to proceed further. Unfortunately, I was unable to proceed. The device was now not allowing me to format the drives. I quickly came to the conclusion that something was wrong with this particular model and returned it to the store 3 hours later. Instead of doing the right thing, which would have been to do some more reviews on other models, I decided to try the same model again. With 3 hours of Coolmax firmware knowledge under my belt, I was sure I could get this model to run. However, obstacles still were lurking around the corner. I finally was able to get the device to accept a static IP address. Great, however, after formatting the drives, the system restored itself to the default settings. Once again I inputted the IP address and this time it took. Now 4 hours later I was still fighting with the firmware in setting up FTP users. Finally, at the end of the day I asked myself, “Can I really trust putting my important files on this supposed NAS device?” The answer was simple. No!


I returned the Coolmax CN-330 and purchased a Buffalo 2TB NAS Storage Unit. My next article will discuss the ups and downs associated with setting up the new Buffalo storage device.


Coolmax CN-330 Dual Bay
Coolmax CN-330 Dual Bay


  • Hard to say, never really got the product to function all the way
  • There are some access log features which are a definite plus
  • Overall small footprint
  • This device could be interesting if Coolmax added just a little more quality into the product



  • Terrible Documentation
  • Cheap Construction
  • Noisy, this device would be offensive in some SOHO environments
  • Firmware weak


1 Star Rating


I would rate this product a 1 star. I really liked the small foot print as many users would. However, it’s overall flaky firmware and noisy fan makes me hesitant to recommend this product for any type of real production environment.

Until next time, keeping reading Technoid Corner where you learn today’s technology one article at a time.


3 Responses to “The Quest For the Perfect SOHO NAS (Part I)”

  • [...] December 2009 « The Quest For the Perfect SOHO NAS (Part I) [...]

  • cn-330 user:

    Hi. I read your comments of the Cn-330 NAS box. I just got one. I didn’t have issues tying it in (like setup of the IP in static) BUT, I did find mounting hard drive into the box was a joke IF you want to screw the drives into the box.

    My question is this. When you formatted your hard drive, was it already formatted before you installed it? How long did your format take?

    My drive was formatted in NTFS with a windows XP system. It’s a Western Digital 2TB green drive (with that Advanced Format, pins 7 & 8 jumpered due to my WinXP OS). It takes around 6 hours to format (I did this on three 2TB drives already).

    I installed that drive (which had NO data on it, just NTFS formatted) into the Cn-330 and the NAS box did not see it as formatted. I refreshed, but nothing. Still the same. So..I choose NTFS and clicked the Format button, and about 3 minuets later I found myself on the main web page of the box. I did get a “formatting” message. But 3 minuets? No lights on the NAS box indicated formatting was continuing. And the status of the disk usage on the Maintenance page showed nothing was going on.

    Any thoughts (yes yes, just return it..but I’m vexed as to how long it takes to format a drive with this NAS box, or any NAS box, a drive of this size, 2TB).

  • yetisnack:

    It’s a shame you couldn’t get the CN-330 to work for you. I have one that I’ve been using for awhile now (1gb Samsung HDDs x2) and it has the usage logs that you are looking for. Good luck on your search.

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Maria Austin