Just to set things straight right out of the gate: I am not any form of a NAS expert, nor do I pretend to be. If you want technical aspects for these sorts of devices, please refer your questions to Tyler and Chris, as they have a much better grasp of the technical aspects, and software limits. However, the basis as to why we are here is something I can handle. I can also understand why there is something like this coming up for review. That is simply this: with all of the various models, feature sets, and manufacturers to check (like Thecus, QNAP, Netgear, and Synology), looking into a personal NAS can not only get a touch overwhelming, but for those with little background on it, it can be downright mind-blowing.
For those that need very little from a NAS, piecing together components to run it does not take much at all. While there are some powerhouses out there on the market with the latest and greatest innards, I have been told for years that basically, an old Pentium 3 system is sufficient to run some sort of Linux distribution, FreeNAS, or Windows Server operating system. Then, you find the appropriate RAID setup for the amount of drives, and needs, you require of your backed up storage. While redundancy is typically key, with what we were delivered today, you could run RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, or JBOD setups, and it will answer to the needs of most NAS users.
Today we are taking a look at two products, in one swipe, from iStarUSA. We were given both the S-35 Mini-ITX NAS tower chassis, along with the BPU-230, three bay, military grade, reliable, hot-swappable hard drive enclosure. These two components should get us on the way to building a nice little NAS, with whatever components we can get to fit inside of this S-35 chassis.
This will hopefully show both sides at once. It should also show whether or not iStarUSA built something worthy of housing higher dollar hardware, and what kind of hardware we can pack in this tower to get the best out of a NAS, which is likely the whole reason one would take on the idea of building their own in the first place.