Jan 29

Product summary

The D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure offers a quick, yet comprehensive solution for network storage. We really liked the device for its flexibility and useful features, and at the same time wished it supported FAT32 or NTFS hard drives like the Iomega StorCenter Pro. The device can house two 3.5-inch SATA hard drives of any capacity in RAID configurations. It can also be used as an FTP, a DHCP, a UPnP AV, or an iTunes server with an excellent, intuitive Web interface. The DNS-323 comes up big where it matters most: throughput performance. Despite its few flaws and rather bulky power supply, we can easily recommend it to people who are looking for a fast, reliable way to extend their network’s storage and functionalities. If you are looking for a simple NAS solution that already comes with a hard drive, however, the Iomega StorCenter might save you some start-up time and money.

DNS-323

Setup and design

The D-Link DNS-323 boasts a simple, compact design with all the ports (Gigabit Ethernet, USB, and power) on the back. On the front is the hard-drive bay cover that has the power button and three blue activity status LEDs, one for each hard drive and one for the network port.

The DNS-323 doesn’t come with hard drives–leaving you the option to choose what storage capacity to add. It’s very easy to open the device to access its hard drive bays. We found it a bit too easy, in fact. More than once we accidentally opened the cover just by holding the device from the front to lift it up. It would be a lot better if the DNS-323’s face lid had some sort of lock to prevent this. Fortunately, NAS devices are generally not supposed to be portable, and the act of opening the cover doesn’t interfere with the D-Link’s working status. The device can take two 3.5-inch SATA hard drives, preferably of regular thickness: all you have to do is to slide the drives in and they fit in very well. Thinner drives don’t fit as snugly. There’s a release latch for each drive at the back of the device, in case you want to replace the hard drives. You can use just one drive with the DNS-323, but if you want to take advantage of the RAID configuration, the second one is a must.

If you get new hard drives for the DNS-323, all these options work very well and the setup is very convenient. If you want to use hard drives that already contain data, however, it’s a different story. If you have hard drives laying around that are formatted in FAT32 or NTFS file system (supported by Microsoft Windows), the DNS-323 will need to reformat them into Ext2 file system (supported by Linux) before they can be used. This means it’s impossible to move an existing Windows/Mac-friendly hard drive into the DNS-323 without having its data completely wiped. This can also be potentially problematic in case the DNS-323 fails and you want to just hook its hard drives to a Windows computer for data access or recovery. For all the NAS devices (of which the hard drives are user-replaceable) we’ve reviewed to date, the D-Link DNS-323 is the first that supports only the Ext2 file format. This makes the user-replaceable aspect of the device less flexible. The formatting takes a relatively short time depending on the size of the hard drives. In our case, it took about 5 minutes for a drive of 400GB.

lincoln-collector said:

I took a lot of time looking for an Ethernet capable 2-bay system and found several and went through three. You’d think the selection would be better but the selction is pitiful if you want an Ethernet capable NAS.

If you want/need an Ethernet capable NAS this is basically your best choice. After attempting to fill my need with other companies and/or other D-Link products, this is by far the best bang for the buck.

Anthony 110 said:

Fast download and upload, sleek look, runs cool, very quiet, easy setup.Overall a great product for cheap. The download and upload speed are usually around 2.0mb/s. It runs so quietly with the two WD 500GB drives I have in it, runs very cool as well with its little fan. Look sleek and feels fairly solid. I wish it had a few more features but for the money it was well worth it.

jiggysmb said:

Lots of features, you can connect a printer to network it, has iTunes server, FTP server and uPNP sharing(sort of). Most recent firmware added support for 1.5 TB drives so you can have up to 3 TB in this tiny enclosure. Could be portable!

Dlink support staff is usually 6 month behind. I got mine a few weeks before release and the support team had no idea what a DNS323 was. A few months later I had trouble with my original xbox (XBMC) only seeing the root files and support still had no documentation on the device.

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