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Appeared on: Thursday, July 01, 2010
Patriot Memory Valkyrie NAS review


1. Features

Patriot Memory has recently released its 'Valkyrie' Dual Bay network attached storage (NAS) device targeted for SOHO and 'prosumer' users. The device is ideal for homes or offices with multiple computers when used as a central storage server, digital media hub, or FTP server for remote users.

NAS has become the central digital media and file 'hub' for your entire network. Rather than supporting just one computer, now you can support multiple digital devices within the home as well as share files across the internet. The Patriot Valkyrie Dual Bay NAS offers large storage capacity (up to 4TB total storage using 2 x SATA HDD), a compact design and a flexible interface for managing multiple users and access rights. Valkyrie's Web access feature allows remote users to access all digital files stored on the Valkyrie, making file exchange or retrieval possible via an internet connection anywhere in the world. Multimedia streaming is possible with built-in UPnP and DNLA support and iTunesmusic server while also offering PC-less downloading via BitTorrent.


Features


2. Package, HDD installation

The Patriot Memory Valkyrie NAS storage costs around $129.99 ($99.99 after rebate), which is a good price for a NAS device, although no hard disk drive is included.

Below you see the retail package of the NAS device. Without any fancy logos and colors on it, the package has a clear design with the essential "Valkyrie" and "Patriot" brand logos and a picture of the device printed on the front side:

The contents are well-packaged into protective plastic foam:

Besides the main NAS device, the package includes an RJ-45 Cable, a power supply, a power cable, a quick start guide and a
software CD:

The PatriotMemory Valkyrie is compact in size. The device looks quite solid with its metal case and it also weighs a little bit more than you might expected.

It's front side includes several buttons and indicator LEDs, a power on/off switch - you have to push it for several seconds to react - a backup button and finally a USB II port:

At the rear side there is a second USB port, a Gigabit LAN jack, a DC power in, a reset input and finally a low-noise 60mm fan.

The NAS device is offering two HDD bays, accessible after opening the front cover. The product supports up to 1.5TB hard disks, meaning that you can enjoy a total capacity of up to 3TB:

In order to remove the drive bays you should apply some pressure to the left side and pull them out. Both bays are made of metal. Make sure to remove the plastic covers on the top before installing the HDDs:

Below you can see the two SATA slots and the controllers of the device:

Each of the HDDs can be easily mounted on each bay using included four screws:

That's it. We power on the device and immediately the LEDs light up showing that the HDDs have been correctly installed:


3. Basic setup

After installing the HDDs we can now power up the device. Of course you need to connect the NAS to a local network and run the software CD with the Network Setup Utility. After few seconds, the connected NAS server is found and identified. The first screen in the network setup utility provides basic information about the device such as firmware version, IP address and information about the installed HDDs.

The software offers a Setup wizard, allowing you to easily set many important features. First you will be prompted to enter the name and password. The default user name is "Admin" and the password is "root":

You can continue configuring the device by adding your own description for the device, setting the time and date:

The device is pre-configured with Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) protocol with the 192.168.11.3 to be the default IP address. When you connect your VALKYRIE to a DHCP device, the device assigns your VALKYRIE with a unique IP address. You can confirm the network connection and view IP address via the VALKYRIE NetTool.

For our tests, we will use a static IP. We choose the "Static IP" option in the 'protocol' menu and enter a static IP address within the range of our router. We added the default gateway (modem/router IP) and our network's DNS settings. The procedure is easy and straightforward and follows the typical configuration steps for a LAN device:

After finishing the procedure our device has been configured with a static IP. We are now ready to access it via the web by pressing the corresponding "Access via Web" button found at at the bottom of the network setup utility:

Our default web browser will automatically open and displays the web setup menu of the device. From here you can have web access to the settings of the NAS drive:

The NAS server can be accessed using the map drive function of the network utility. Mapping the device essentially means that you will be able to use the NAS device as a local storage device although it will be accessed through the web. Here you can configure a name and a drive letter for the included HDD:


4. Features

All the available adjustments and settings are provided in two navigation bars, one horizontal and another one that extends vertically on the left:

At the folder management section you can can create folders and name them. For each folder, you are able to setup user access rights (see Users below) . By default, access rights are set to "Set access for individual users" with "No access" selected for each group & user (this means you can select the rights for each group & user on an individual basis). With "Set access for individual users" and "No access" selected, you can change each group & users "Properties to share" by selecting either No access (that group or user has no access to this folder), Read-only (that group or user has read only access to this folder), Read and write (that group or user has read and write access to this folder):

The Group section allows you to setup a number of users into a group. You can then
give this group user rights to folders (allowing all members of the group the user rights you have set):

The User Management window allows you to enter a User name, Password and
Description. A user can opt to have no password or can be also given admin rights to specific folders if you like

The Services section allows you to adjust the main features of the Valkyrie product. First we set the a name for our workgroup:

The DDNS service is required if you want to access the device through the internet (dyndns.org) and outside the LAN.

For most home users, broadband connectivity is provided to the customer via a dynamic IP address. The name describes that the IP is always changing. For users that need to access files at home via Remote Desktop, an IP address associated with "your" computer/home network is needed. Since the IP is always changing, it would not be possible to track down that IP. This is when DDNS becomes helpful. To enable DDNS on the VALKYRIE NAS, create an account with any DDNS host service. The DDNS host will normally require you to then login with your username and password once you receive the authentication email.
On the Account Services page, click on "Add Host Services" and then "Add Dynamic DNS Host".
You will be able to choose from several domain names. Example: antdns.com. Pick a domain name and then come up with a sub-domain. Example: yourname. Your unique domain name looks like yourname.antdns.com. You will use this hostname to access your server or home computer. Leave the IP address field blank.

Now set up the VALKYRIE by setting up the DDNS section. Pick your DDNS host from the list.
Enter your Username and Password.

The device also supports BitTorrent downloading. It can download and upload Torrent files, however, it
cannot go onto the internet and find Torrent files for you. You must find the torrent seed file, and then add that seed file as a new job to the device. The VALKYRIE will then run in the background, downloading and storing
the torrent file.

We tried to download Ubuntu. The torrent file should be stored in your local HDD:

The procedure is rather easy, but there are no advanced options such as like blocking peers:

The Print Server function works very well, at least our HP Deskjet 3600 device. Of course, in order all the network PCs to have access to the printer, you should manually add it in each of these PCs. (Enter My Network Places on PC - Select Printers and Faxes - . Select Add Printer - Follow on screen instructions)


5. Working with RAID fuctions, performance

We get back to the Settings menu and explore the Disk Management features of the device. Although you can install two HDDs into it, you cannot create two separate disk arrays. The available configurations are: one disk, two disks in JBOD, two disks in RAID0, and two disks in RAID1.

Below you can see the installed HDDs and format them suing the FAT32 or ext2. In our case, we installed two HDDs and after adding them with the >> button at the Raid device window, we are ready to format them:

 

The formatting took around 30+ minutes. Of course this depends on the capacity of the installed HDD and their model:

We rebooted the system and now we can access again the Valkyrie. Below you can see information about the installed HDDS. In our case, we have setup a NAS-HD with Raid Linear function with ext2 file system and a total capacity of 70GB (2x35GB):

More information is also available under the web access menu:

Other services include the backup job, which however is limited to backup external devices physically attached to the Valkyrie product:

In our case we inserted a USB flash drive to the Valkyrie and created a backup job:

We are ready to test the performance of the NAS device. The reading performance under our configuration (Raid Linear/Raid 01 1 functions) was rather low. We measured a 11~12MB/sec reading and writing speed:


6. Other features, conclusion
- Other functions

The PatriotMemory Valkyrie has an embedded FTP server that allows you and other users to access
this device by an FTP client. When the FTP Server is selected under the “Services” menu, this window appears. The defaults port number of the FTP server is 21. You may allow FTP clients to connect with the device with or without username/password authentication allowing access to a public folder. You can also enable or restrict downloading from the server or set the number of users that can access the FTP site at one time:

 

This device also supports UPnP AV server, which allows users to play media files with UPnP client (ex. DMA devices). We tested the UPnP AV server function with the AC Ryan PlayOnHD device and it worked great, without any problems. The Xvid files were perfectly playable through the local network:

Finally, the device can also become an iTunes server:

- Conclusion

After spending some time experimenting with the Patriot Valkyrie NAS we can safely say that the device is a great great entry-level unit, well built and packed with many feature.. Many users are buying NAS servers in order to simply store files on their network, publish them on the Web or download files using its built-in BitTorrent client. For all those, the Valkyrie NAS is definitely the way to go.

The device supports two HDDs with RAID 0, 1 and Linear function.We are not sure whether it makes sense to use RAID0, since it would be putting data at risk without any performance advantage. You can also use JBOD in order to merge drives into a single volume. RAID1 would be a wise choice if you had two identical HDDs. It duplicates data over both drives so if one fails, you don't lose anything. What we liked is the fact that the device can support up to 1.5TB HDDs, according to the specs and that we had no problem setting up a RAID 0/1/Linear system in no time.

Everything can be easily adjusted through a web browser after typing the IP address of the server. The navigation across the menus is easy and understandable.

The device is also well-built with a robust metallic case. Bit the Valkyrie's main appeal comes in its vast array of features. It offers FTP, DDNS, iTunes server, UPnP, BitTorrent and a print server. As a UPnP server, the Valkyrie easily streamed HD Xvid files through the local network. We also downloaded large files from the net using the embedded BitTorrent client without any issues.

If we had to list some negatives it would be the rather slow transfer rates that we have noticed during reading/writing tests. The embedded Marvell processor can't handle much more than a 100 Mbps network connection. At about 11-12 MB/s, transferring a large file to or from the NAS was about much slower than copying files from a computer to another through the network.

In addition, we would like to see a new firmware release that would enable AFP/NFS format options.

Overall, the Patriot Valkyrie NAS is a great entry level unit, packed with many features and most importantly -- affordable. If Patriot decide to correct Valkyrie's few rough edges, it'll be hard to resist the $130 price tag. If you are looking for a device that will stream high - quality multimedia content through your network at lightning speeds, then you 'd better look to other solutions. However, if you're looking for an affordable centralized data storage solution for your home, the Patriot Valkyrie NAS is a great choice.

Positive

- Web browser UI provides easy management
- Solid construction
- Low-priced compared with other products
- Quiet operation
- Includes print server, FTP, AV Server, ITunes server etc..
- It is supposed to support Hot Swapping Drives in RAID 1
- PatriotMemory forum is active

Negative

- No firmware support till today to support AFP and NFS format option
- No Raid 5
- Transfer speed is rather slow when compared with normal PC system



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