Use a Low Performance NAS as a Media Server

I just bought a Promise SmartStor Zero recently. It is a two-bay NAS emphasize as a simple and easy to use media server. I saw many people complains about the slow transfer rate and no security configuration.

What it catches my eyes for the low price and two-bay with RAID capability. It evens comes with a good smart fan control by temperature, a powerful 4A power adapter, and two HDD trays for easier installation.

Performance Test

Promise SmartStor Zero is slow compared to my LevelOne GNS-1001 and USB2 HDD Box
Promise SmartStor Zero is slow compared to my LevelOne GNS-1001 and USB2 HDD Box.

I connect Promise SmartStor Zero to ThinkCentre Edge 72z directly and use the same sample in other post.

The USB field in Promise SmartStor Zero means to plug a 16GB TDK TRANS-IT EDGE USB silver into Promise SmartStor Zero and use the Web File Manager in its web administration interface to copy from TDK TRANS-IT EDGE USB silver to Promise SmartStor Zero. The same task took 236 seconds, or 28.8MB/s, from TDK TRANS-IT EDGE USB silver to Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 72z.

I use following Linux command to mount Samba and Network File System (NFS).

mount -t cifs //[IP of SmartStor Zero]/PUBLIC [target name] -o username=admin,password=admin,noperm
mount -t nfs [IP of SmartStor Zero]:/VOLUME1/PUBLIC [target name]

Even with a Gigabit Ethernet, it still works as a Fast Ethernet.

Connecting to Shared Folders

I choose to mount as Samba shared folders with options noperm. For Network File System (aka NFS), I will have problems reading files upload through Samba. There are some permission issue and Samba is the best solution in our Linux/Windows mixed environment.

Due to the slow performance, I will to use a USB HDD to transfer files into SmartStor Zero. It is faster and more stable.

Capable as a Media Server at Home

It is slow as a NAS, but it is enough as a Media Server at home to me.

I shall use only one computer accessing photos and videos at the same time. And my TP-Link TL-WR842ND only has 4 Fast Ethernet, it is the real bottleneck.

With Digital Living Network Alliance (aka DLNA), Microsoft Windows Media Player may found my SmartStor Zero automatically. All videos plays smoothly.

DLNA is not Linux and Android Friendly

But it’s difficult to work with VLC media player on OpenSuSE 13.1, I have to disable firewall to see SmartStor Zero in [Universal Plug’n’Play] under [Local Network]. Once visible, I won’t be able to browse the content in SmartStor Zero until I enable the firewall again. Strange but it works.

Some MP4 doesn’t play smoothly with DLNA but without any problem if I open them as files on mounted shared folders in OpenSuSE 13.1.

Fan and Cooling System

I enable the [Fan Control] in [Administration]→[System]→[Enclosure Information]. The fan automatically begin to work when it reach 44°C. It stops working when it goes down to 39ºC.

The rotational speed changes according to temperature, and it is quiet enough to me. Better than LevelOne NAS GNS-1001.

More Thoughts

I see Promise SmartStor Zero as a media server with Network-attached storage (aka NAS) rather than a NAS with media server capability. That’s why I don’t feel the performance is a key factor for my personal video entertainment.

For less than US$ 50, I got a two-bay RAID-ready media server. It’s much cheaper than any two bay system from QNAP or Synology. Even compare to most two-bay  HDD box available in the market.


  1. Promise SmartStor Zero
  2. Engadget: Promise’s SmartStor Zero NAS streamer dumbs down DLNA for the iPad (hands-on)
  3. Facebook: 請問 Smartstor Zero 在購物中心寫是NS2600的進階版 為何功能比NS2600 還差(系統顯示NS2500)!!! 官網無任何ZERO 的連結或產品介紹??是怎樣??請說明!! 否則不排除請消保官調查廣告不實!!!(被搞到惱火的使用者)
  4. Match Hard Disk Startup Current with Power Adapter Output Current
  5. Connect NAS to your Computer Directly
  6. File Transmission with Different Sharing Solution on NAS
  7. Amazon: TDK TRANS-IT EDGE USB 32GB silver
  8. Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 72z
  9. Using Microsoft Networking via Samba with QNAP TS-112 and LevelOne GNS-1001
  10. Using Network File System (NFS) Service with QNAP TS-112
  11. Wiki: Gigabit Ethernet
  12. Wiki: Fast Ethernet
  13. DD-WRT for my TP-Link TL-WR842ND
  14. Wiki: Digital Living Network Alliance
  15. VLC media player
  16. Portal: OpenSuSE 13.1
  17. Wiki: MPEG-4 Part 14
  18. LevelOne NAS GNS-1001
  19. Wiki: Samba (software)
  20. Wiki: Network File System
  21. Wiki: Network-attached storage
  22. QNAP
  23. Synology
  24. Digital Review: Promise SmartStor NS2300N and NS4300N RAID Network Attached Storage Devices – Reviewed

3 thoughts on “Use a Low Performance NAS as a Media Server

  1. G’Day! Amigo,
    I take your point, As storage is my main emphasis in this network (I plan to have 2 Terabytes of data total and I would like to have a backed up copy of this size as well). I have decided to go with the following configuration but just want to see about good recommendations. I haven’t bought any of my products yet but here is my idea of a small business network for 5 people with 2 printers, 1 scanner, 3 desktops, 2 laptops:
    modem–> wireless router –> switch –> pc’s, printers, server, scanner, wireless access point

    My products are as follows:
    Router- Belkin N+ $100…

    Switch- 3com officeconnect gigabit ethernet switch w/POE $400,2817,229…

    Server- PowerEdge T100 $1800
    Quadcore Intel Xeon X3220, 2.4GHZ, 2x4M cache
    4GB, DDR2, 800MHZ, 4×1 Dual Ranked DIMMS
    Microsoft Small Business Server 2008, Standard Edition with Media
    SAS6iR(SATA/SAS controller) RAID 1
    2x160GB hardrives SATA 3Gbps
    CD/DVD Drive
    Onboard Single Gigabit Network Adapter
    1yr warranty
    1removable hard disk cartridge 80gbnative/160 compressed

    Pc’s/Laptops- All meet 802.11 n standard

    Buffalo Terastation Home Server NAS (2TB) $750…

    WAP- 3COM AirConnect 9550…

    My network is for a small doctor’s office and I am certain it will not grow beyond 5-7 people. I will also be using cat 5 wiring, Kaspersky Anti-virus, and I am thinking about using either Microsoft Ftp publishing (comes with Windows Server 08) for file transferring and maybe Filezilla or WinSCP for remote access

    The odd thing is that my main software program (EClinical Works) specs a minimum of: Quadcore Xeon 1.4 Ghz, Windows Server 2003/2008, 4GB of memory, at least 16GB (OS) + 30GB (Data)
    But the oddest thing is that they say the server with this EClinical software shouldn’t run an active directory, RAS, and/or terminal service.

    Will I need two servers because the one with my software on it doesn’t want an active directory run on it? I’m also a little confused about how the file sharing will work with the Network Attached Storage device, does Windows Server have something in it to implement this? Also from a security standpoint what would I need to address in Windows if I have a NAS, will Windows file sharing be secure between the users/server/clients?

    My point with the NAS was to save money and separate the data from the server processor (only OS+apps)…also the cheapest servers on Dell have about a 2.4GHZ processor and a 160GB hardrive for about 1600….would buying a nice desktop and putting Windows Server 2008 on it be a better option??

    I looked on and certainly found that the Buffalo Terastation Home Server NAS (2TB) is my best option…but its uses mirroring and spanning instead of RAID and its write performance is slow due to its RAID 5 configuration. Should I be concerned?

    The biggest point is that I want my system to be low maintenance, easy to setup, and my switch to be un-managed (aka no IT expert needs to be around to configure the ports…etc)
    I’ll be back to read more next time

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Henri,

      I remember the maximum supported hard drive is 2TB. If you put two 2TB hard drive, it will automatically build as RAID 1 which means your maximum storage is 2TB. Neither RAID 0 nor jumbo is available in configuration.

      Wish it helps!

      Have a nice day!

      Best regards,



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