D-Link DNS-345 ShareCentre+

D-Link has become one of the more successful names in smaller storage solutions for quite some time now. Its range of desktop, external drives and single-drive NAS solutions are enough to fill several pages. Most consumers, though, tend to overlook the bigger, more complex entries from D-Link, such as this four-bay unit.

The DNS-345 ShareCentre+ is designed to be a low-cost, high-performance and straightforward solution for sharing all manner of data. Inside is a rather old Marvell 88F6707 processor at 1,2GHz, with 128MB of system memory. There’s pair of gigabit Ethernet ports and, extraordinarily for a modern NAS unit, only a single USB 2.0 port.

The four bays can hold 3.5” SATA-2 drives up to a maximum of 3TB each, with RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 10, 5 and a hot spare, JBoD and standard, with each drive being fitted through the removable front face of the unit horizontally either side of the OLED display screen.

The D-Link DNS-345 is an okay NAS drive, just a bit average really

The D-Link DNS-345 is an okay NAS drive, just a bit average really

The NAS management software is certainly comprehensive enough and features just about every possible sharing service you could possibly name. It was also fairly easy to get up and running through the web-based console. Interestingly, despite this model being somewhat underpowered compared to the previous example from Lenovo Iomega, it zipped through the menus and applied any changes to the system considerably quicker.

Formatting four 2TB disks took about 30 minutes with RAID5, but oddly they could only be accessed and managed once the device had been rebooted. Once up and running, though, they were fairly good in their operation, although they were a lot nosier and generated a fair amount of heat compared to the QNAP model.

The older CPU and limited amount of memory did slow things down a little when the device was being used by multiple users. Watching a single instance of a HD movie was fine, but once two more users accessed the drive for various services, we did notice some screen tearing and a loss in content delivery.

We also noticed an entire device slow-down when we used the surveillance Centre App and accessed the pair of DCS-7000L cameras we had available. The result was such that copying files to the device dropped to less than 700KB per second, as opposed to the previous 11 MB/s we were enjoying beforehand.

Strange to see only a single USB port too

Strange to see only a single USB port too

The lack of an extra couple of USB ports is a bit of an annoyance too. We’ve seen plenty of examples where an external USB drive is permanently plugged in, on top of a USB port spare for syncing or specialised printing duties. All in all, the specifications and hardware on the DNS-345 are just a little too thin on the ground for this to stand toe to toe against the QNAP or even the Iomega NAS drives.

If you require a more comprehensive four-bay NAS solution, then we would recommend you pay a little more and opt for the QNAP or Synology examples. If you’re after a cheap solution that will sit in a darkened room for all eternity and never likely be touched again, then the DNS-345 may have a home.

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