Alright, my first bout with choosing a NAS drive begins with the Seagate GoFlex Home. Its sad that one would have to proceed into this with an outlook of “bouts,” but with touchy technology that’s sadly the case. NAS drives very much qualify here.

I have had an amazing history with Seagate. I’m actually still rocking the same 500GB FreeAgent HDD from 6 years back and a smaller 250GB portable FreeAgent for about 2 years. Six years with that 500GB, I’m serious… and it was my primary music archive while, in another life, I dj’ed in Columbia, Mo. It took countless drunken bumps to the desk, followed by the inevitable drop to the dance floor below. So its dented up, beaten and battered. But still kicking and I commend it…

Their NAS drives however… not so much

Anyway, I picked up the GoFlex Home system around the 2nd of this month. 3TB seemed like plenty, especially for the price, roughly $280 at Best Buy. It turns out it was exactly how much I needed. All my music, my photos and movies fit on there and left me about 2.25TB for more. It slipped onto the network pretty easily and the Finder system of access is wonderful. Its quite liberating to open my laptop miles away from home, and access my archives and entertainment as if it were on my laptop itself. Kinda freaky even. But the sacrifice is Raid striping with this one. If it goes down… that’s it, its gone. Keep that in mind and use the secondary drive connection for duplication.

It runs pretty quiet and tucks away neatly. Mine was slipped into the corner of our family entertainment system, right below the cable box and router shelf. I dig that its out of site, out of mind and fits in line with my goal of an invisible home based “cloud.”

Sadly I never really got a chance to test the up/down speeds. More on that later. So after initial experience, I’ll put it this way, I had about 700GB to transfer and it took a couple of over nighters. It ended up dying before I thought to tally the numbers.

Now the shortcomings came pouring in. The browser access is abysmal at best and tumor inducing at worst. Aside from connection issues right from the get, using the desktop app is akin to any web based FTP transfers. Cumbersome and slow. Using Finder or Explorer is a must. Now my experience is from a Mac, so this may not factor in on Windows. But when you open the system from the desktop software (sorta), it asks you what to mount. Which is weird because at first its quite confusing that you need to mount individual folders, but there it is. So what does it do when you mount all of them, it merely flips up multiple finder windows. Now here is an oddity, you can merely mount the primary and everything is still accessable, similar to your on board file system. Confusing.

I noticed to, that sometimes I would have two “goFlex” folders in the shared column in Finder. No idea what the hell that’s all about. But I digress…

Online access (through the finder) is pretty okay, allowing access to files for post-processing. The wireless transfer speed is naturally slower than a directly connected secondary drive, as would be assumed. But still excruciating slow, none the less.

After seven days all this connectedness came to a screeching halt. That morning, I awoke with an itch to edit, but was greeted with an awful error prompt instead.

Error Message when attempting to access drive:
“Something wrong with the volume’s CNID DB, using temporary CNID DB instead.Check server messages for details. Switching to read-only mode.”

Yay, I think to myself. All those reviews I read and hoped not to fall victim to, just materialized in front of my eyes. Furthermore it was not an issue that had been discussed on the message boards, at least in length or toward a resolve.

So I do the usual, I attempt to contact them. I head over to the FB support page and it goes as planned, reset this, reformat that, call in when we are open, etc… Well unfortunately this was a failure and vast time wasted.

One note resetting this thing is a major pain in the ass. You never know if it actually worked until you attempt to log in to the settings. Interestingly enough, I reset so far in that I could no longer access the drive itself. In all my time, I did not realize it was possible. I couldn’t even get into the settings page through the browser. Mind you it would mount, but after the message above is shown… it slips right into “read-only” mode. No deletions, no copies, no point in having the drive at all. I mulled for a couple days on whether I should wait, send it in to get it repaired. I am sure much of this was resolvable, after tedious labor and an added loss of time with sending it in.

So after going daisies up, only 7 days in, I felt that all future faith in this device was gone, so I returned it to Best Buy. It was sleek, fast to set up and offered a large capacity, but in the end the access was too clunky, transfer speeds to slow and the reliability needed an overhaul. Hopefully the guy at the desk was correct in that they destroy it upon shipment. Otherwise someone ended up with one hell of a library of music, images and movies. Additionally and sadly, the movies were the only folder of files that did not get backed up before it went down. Bye, bye 40+ bits of fine entertainment.

At least my music and photos were triplicated elsewhere…

Alas, its time to move on to Round 2….

Stay tuned for the Lacie 2big Network 4TB review.

UPDATE: As you may have noticed, the Lacie review fell through because I just couldn’t bring myself to continue with this type of backup system. On to new options.