Building the IB-NAS4220-B
Installing hard drives into the IB-NAS4220-B takes a bit more effort as it isn't tooless like the QNAP TS-209 II, but it is still simple none the less. Removing the four screws in the bottom allows the internal steel hard drive casing to slide out from the thick aluminium surround. This reveals space for two 3.5" SATA drives, as well as the internal PCB with SATA power and the shortest SATA cables we've ever seen.
This arrangement means that if one drive fails, the whole NAS box needs to be turned off and dismantled, rather than a simple slide in and out. The advantage is that both drives are affixed between rubber gromits to reduce the vibration and noise - something other NAS boxes often forget - and in addition the feet also have soft foam pads as well.
Getting the hard drives in is easy enough, but getting them connected up is a bit awkward and needs some small finger work for the SATA cables.
After that, it's simply a case of putting it all back together and pluging it in.
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Powering it up and we found it's certainly not the quietest running piece of hardware. In contrast, the larger TS-209 II with its 80mm fan was a lot quieter than the 40mm on the back of the IB-NAS4220-B, and even though the drives are vibration isolated, they can still easily be heard through the perforated front grill and metal cover. In fact, in my living room it's notably louder than my HTPC, but certainly not more than an Xbox 360 (but then again, that's not difficult). It is
temperature controlled, but with thick aluminium casing on all sides and two multi-platter hard drives within, it'll inevitably warm up and be whizzing before you know it. With that in mind, it'd be worth placing this NAS out of the way in a cupboard so that any noise coming from it doesn't interfere.
The Storlink SL3516 is paired with two 512Mb (128MB in total) RAM and 16MB NAND storage for the firmware. It's a popular 300MHz ARM9 32-bit SoC with all the connectivity integrated into it for NAS products. The Thecus N299 also uses this exact same CPU-memory combination, whereas the N2100 uses a 600MHz X-Scale with upgradable memory and the TS-209 II used a 500MHz Marvell ARM CPU and 256MB of memory. The 128MB of memory in the IB-NAS4220-B should allow more modules and upgrades to be run but, unlike the QNAP, Raidsonic unfortunately doesn't allow such firmware bolt-ons.