Patriot Valkyrie 2-Bay NAS
Network attached storage (NAS) devices are now commonly used by homes. The Valkyrie allows you to build your array with two drives
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Number of drives: 2
RAID support: RAID 0, RAID 1
Patriot produces a range of storage products and as far as network attached storage (NAS) is concerned, the company offers two different options; the Gear Box and the Valkyrie 2-Bay NAS.
Like other consumer NAS devices we've tested, the Valkyrie is a compact device and finished in black with contrast white text, is quite a sharp looker that won't look out of place in your home. The device's front face is dominated by lights and a fairly large plastic door that, when opened, grants access to the two drive bays.
Installing and removing drives from the Valkyrie is a doddle that only requires you push a button on the drive cage and then pull the assembly out. The drive cage is setup to accept 3.5-inch drive bays by default so, if you plan to fit 2.5-inch drives, you'll need to use a mounting system. Fitting drives into the cage is a stress-free process though you will have to use a screw driver. We would have preferred if Patriot employed a tool-free mounting system.
The Valkyrie offers two USB ports, one at the front and one on its back end. Both ports can accept USB printers, flash drives or external hard drives. With regard to the former, setup is quite simple though the Patriot can prove sluggish at recognising devices plugged into its USB ports; when we attached a 1GB USB memory stick, it took the NAS 20 seconds before it recognised it.
Setting up the NAS is straightforward process, you need only insert the drives into the NAS, hook it up to your network, insert the supplied CD and launch its configuration program. From here on you can access the Patriot's full set of features and options, all of which are presented in a web-based interface.
Since the Patriot features its own 500MHz processor, 128MB of RAM and 16MB of flash memory it's able to function as an iTunes server, can download torrent tasks and function as a media server. Using the Valkyrie over a period of one month we found that while limited in terms of functionality, it offers more than enough usability for common tasks. During our tests the NAS proved rock solid, we never experienced downtime when using it as a media server or as a torrent client.
This NAS is also quite flexible when it comes to handling the drives you install. The Patriot allows you to run them individually as two separate drives, combine them into a RAID 0 (for performance) or RAID 1 (for data redundancy) array. You can also run the drives in a JBOD (just a bunch of disks) configuration. Running our two 250GB Seagate drives in RAID 0 the Patriot performed quite well when it came to data transfer to and from our test rig and this is thanks to its gigabit Ethernet port. Transferring a 2GB file from PC to NAS took just 29 seconds and transferring the same data back to our test PC took 32 seconds in total.