Netgear ReadyNAS 516
With the power off, the front of the NAS is void of anything other than a black face.
With power, the system comes alive with a two-line display, a Netgear logo, and a touch panel for easy system configuration and USB 2.0 data backup. The front face will turn off to reduce power until you get close to the middle buttons. Netgear uses a proximity sensor, so it senses your approach before you even touch the display. Once in contact, the button glows brighter to show it's been pressed.
With the front door open we see a lot of ventilation holes for keeping the system and your drives cool. A power button at the bottom right brings the system to life and a USB 2.0 power in the middle at the bottom works as a quick touch backup for external storage devices.
Any device with a door raises our suspicion for failure since you end up with metal, in this case wires, bending back and forth. Netgear wraps the cables in plastic mesh to reduce strain.
With the door closed, air for the drives has to pass through the front door through vents in the side. Sadly, the door does not lock, so power button and drive access is open for the taking, so to speak. If your office needs to stay HIPA compliant this isn't the unit you want unless you have a room to lock the NAS in.
The structure is steel but we couldn't hear any rattles, or for that matter, any fan noise or vibration.
Cooling was handled by a large fan on the back and the power supply has a small 20mm fan as well. Netgear recessed the power supply so the small fan isn't right at the back of the NAS. This helps reduce any high frequency fan noise we often hear from smaller fans.
The ReadyNAS 516 has a nice set of I/O ports. Two eSATA ports at the top and bottom of the I/O area allow the system to expand to 84TB with ReadyNAS Expansion Chassis units, model EDA500-100NAS. Newegg sells the expansion unit for $749.99.
Two USB 3.0 ports increase your expansion and connectivity options, and a HDMI port means A/V capabilities, but you may need to install third-party software to use the function.
Two gigabit Ethernet ports provide the main I/O for the ReadyNAS 516. The ports can be used on separate networks or trunked together for failover or increased performance.
The front USB 2.0 port allows for easily removable device backup.
On the back of the NAS we noticed a PCIe expansion slot, but once inside, we found the system didn't have the PCIe header to add a 10GbE card.
We did spot a nice detail while inside though. Netgear uses foam on the side to prevent air from channeling past the HDDs in the system. This should also help with some vibration and help control noise. It's a small addition, but it goes to show the level of detail Netgear put into the design.