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Cardinal sin of shopping

  •  08-08-2008, 0:35

    Cardinal sin of shopping

    I thought it was that simple. I really did.

    It has been years now. I am just so used to maxing out my 100Mbps home network. Routine file transfers stream from computer to computer at takeoff speeds of 80-99.9Mbps. It would not be far off to guess that the numerous hard disks in my possession are reaching similar levels of capacity and utilization. However, if you think that is due to the high volume of anime and songs I archive, that is only half the truth. The real issue of worry? Since I operate an usually large number of computers, backing up important data and entire drive volumes take up..... more disk space. On top of that, I operate an indefinite number of virtual machines within those physical machines. Simulating and backing up all those virtual hard disks requires..... much more disk space. I have come to a state where I am backing a drive partition that carries the back up images of other drive partitions. I probably need a better structure in my organisation of disks and drives.

    So yesterday saw me peeking around Sim Lim for a new voluminous and sexy external disk. I got seduced by another type of device though - the consumer NAS. Why just an ordinary dump USB disk? I chanced upon the Linksys NAS200 - a networkable casing that plugs in two SATA disks, and two more via USB ports. With expandability up to four drives, what more can a consumer ask?

    Much more, as it turned out.

    Like a kid opening christmas toys, I quickly got around stripping off the packaging and fitted a disk into the first bay. It was dead simple procedure done in two minutes. Unfortunately, that was the only thing fast about this device. I soon got to experience first hand how unbelievably slow data transfers are - a whooping 3+MB/sec, which roughly equates a third of a 100Mbps pipe. Was there something wrong? Could it be due to the fact that I was transfering data from the USB disk attached to my laptop? Was it somehow due to the office M1 Huawei mobile broadband router that I was basing as a switch for this experiment? I got home and tested with similar performance.

    Indeed, this product is rated to be excrutiatingly slow. The slowest in fact.

    Now I think I know why it was "only" priced $220+ ($330+ with disk) against other products that span into the $1000-2500 range. But how the heck does network communication even become a performance matter in the first place? In this day and age of gigabit rates, why are we even given the opportunity to buy sub-par runners in the100Mbps lane? Even an averaged 60Mbps sustained rate would have been satisfactory. And yet, what's being released here is stunningly abysmal. Cannot even match DVD burning rates.

    Linksys NAS200 performance

    So it is not just a Function-over-Form debate. Sometimes we need to factor in a Speed-over-Function consideration, which is seldom detailed in the box packages the products come in. Therefore, the cardinal sin of shopping is: rushing purchase decisions based on the exciting spur of the moment. The annoying part? That I would quite easily commit the same mistake again.

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