Now a days it is very common for a household at least two computers, with the video revolution in digitising movies, music and photos and the need for a greater capacity is also very high. And in the same way, small office environments can also benefit on a large scale from a simple file server on which the files can be shared and PCs can have a backup. One small solution is an external hard dive with a huge capacity and USB interface. The HP Media Vault MV2120 External Hard Drive is one such hard drive that has a two bay network attachment with a great deal of storage space and some room to expand too.
Toaster sized device:
Being a dual NAS device, the HP Media Vault MV2120 is comparably quite compact. Yet, it is nowhere when the compact design of Buffalo LinkStation Mini is considered. The drive has an array of LED lights on the facia of the drive indicating power, networking and hard drive status. Each of the bays also have a blue light glowing when there is a hard drive installed.
Basic features of the MV2120:
The HP Media Vault MV2120 comes with a single 3.5″ 500GB hard drive with a spindle speed of 7200rpm. Though the hard drive is screwed in, it is user replaceable. But since the operating system of the MV2120 is being hosted in this hard drive, a utility has to be downloaded form the HP site to rebuild the whole drive, if at all, you intend to replace the drive. The job of replacing the would have been a much easier job if HP had installed the device’s operating system on a ROM chip as in the case of the Synology DS107+ and many other NAS devices.
Flexible second hard drive:
But, on the other hand, the second hard drive bay is extremely flexible. As long as you are gentle with the drive, it does a great job. Once the second hard drive is installed, you do have the option of combining it with fixed one in a RAID1, but not RAID 0 for configuration or for having it work as a second volume. But again, in either of the cases, the drive has to be formatted with EXT3, because once you have chosen the RAID1, the MV2120 does not offer any easy way to change it.
Carefully designed interface:
The menu system’s approachable push-button design walks you through everything from media folder shortcuts by leading straight to pre-made video, photo, and music directories, to automating file backups and setting up a simple photo-sharing Web site.
A gripe in the installation:
The one main issue with the installation process is that, HP automatically sets the media Vault monitor and the HP Update to launch each time the system is switched on. And the worst is that, there is no way that you can switch this off in the software and actually there is no reason for the application to restart automatically. The MV2120 runs fine even without the software running. You will be able to find that HP Update pops up more than once suggesting you to run an update and when you do so, you will not find any updation done.
The Back-up feature:
The backup feature of this external hard drive is very flexible as it allows you to choose the important files of your computer that needs to be backed up. There is also an option for you to backup any selected folders from a computer to the drive and another facility that is available is that, you can back up the NAS itself on to a USB external hard drive. As in the case of most of the other external hard drives, you can choose to do backups immediately or just schedule it.
The Photo Webshare feature of HP Media Vault MV2120:
The ‘Photo Webshare’ feature of the drive also does a great job. Unlike the limited functionalities offered by the other drives, HP has went a step further and aids in making your photo album accessible on the internet. Your own web address can be set up and your network router can be configured to house the connectivity using a Remote Access Wizard. For this process to work properly, the user’s network router has to bear Universal plug and play that most of the latest routers do. But in case the user’s network router does not have the feature, the wizard guides through the physical set up very easily. HP has also included 1 year of personal domain registration through TZO and after that it might cost the user a few pounds. Once the set up is complete, the user will be able to access both their photos and other files over the net with their own web address.
Though the iTunes server feature is not something new, it works fine. The Media Vault MV2120 has added some more of convenience to this feature with the addition of a slider to regulate how frequently it has to check for latest music in the user’s system. In this way, the user does not have to be anxious on backing up each time they add a new music. The Media Vault MV2120 even works with the DLNA acquiescent devices like Xbox360 and PlayStation3.
Printer server not included:
One major disadvantage with the HP Media Vault MV2120 is that, though it has got 2 USB ports, the drive does not comprise of a printer server. This is a very latent deal breaker if the consumer intends to buy the NAS drive, partially to share a printer over the network. The drive also does not have some of the advanced features that its competition Synology model has, such as the music playing, UBS speakers, surveillance system, remote control and so on.
Performance of the NAS drive:
Coming to the part of performance, the Hewlett Packard Media Vault MV2120 has an average write speed of 39.2Mbps and the read speed is much better with 46.1Mbps. The operation of the MV2120 is also very silent and smooth. But one issue that the drive struggled with is that, the drive struggled with the web interface’s response and was inconsistent too. At times it is very slow and even freezes for a some seconds and crashes the browser.
The package contents of the HP Media Vault MV2120 includes the network drive itself, power adapter, power cable, ethernet cable, printed Setup Poster, printed Warranty & Support Guide, HP Media Vault software and manual on CD.
Warranty and support:
HP offers HP Media Vault MV2120 with one year limited warranty. HP also backs the driver with 24 x 7 toll free phone support.
The HP Media Vault MV2120 is a very user friendly device that satisfies most of the NAS features, that includes an iTunes server, remote web access and scheduled backups. The set up of the device is also very easy. As we had mentioned earlier, one thing that is most disturbing is the lack of a print server despite the availability of two USB ports. The Synology Disk Station DS107+ is a better choice when the speed and features of both the external hard drives are compared. The 500GB versions of both the drives have almost the same price tag on them while the Synology drive offers a second drive bay for data expansion. Yet, the Media Vault MV2120 is a good value for money as its has focussed more on the essential features, with simplicity and affordability. It is a good choice if you have moderate storage needs and want to share content; but if you plan to move lots of data to the device, its slower-than-average write speeds may reduce its appeal.
HP Media Vault MV2120 500GB Network Drive – Technical Specifications, Features
|Model name||HP Media Vault MV2120|
|Device Type||Network drive|
|Host Connectivity||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Dimensions (H X W X D) mm||137mm x 139mm x 244mm|
|Internal Hard Drive||SATA 7200 RPM|
|Storage Capacity||500GB with 1 SATA expansion bay|
|Mirroring||Can be configured as RAID 1 with second hard drive in expansion bay.|
|Hard drive type||Removable|
|Interfaces||2 x Hi-Speed USB – 4 pin USB Type A
1 x Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T – RJ-45
|File Sharing||Windows, Mac, and Linux-based computers
over a home network
|Computer requirements||1 GHz Intel Pentium III processor or equivalent with 256MB RAM.|
|Supported OS||Microsoft Windows XP Home, XP Professional,
Microsoft Windows Vista – Home Basic,
Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate editions, MAC OSX, Linux.
|Available Hard Drive Space||150MB free for included software installation|
|Browser||Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater, Netscape 7.0 or greater,
or Firefox 1.0 or greater
|Default Network ID||HP MediaVault|
|Supported Network Protocols||IEEE 802.3
UPnP AV 1.0
|Network Speed||10/100/1000 (Gigabit) RJ45 Ethernet|
|Connector Type||1x RJ45|
|Encoding Method||100BASE-TX: 4B5B,
MLT-3 10BASE-T: Manchester coding
|Power Consumption||18W single drive, 31W dual drive|
|Package contents||HP Media Vault MV2120, power adapter, power cable, ethernet cable,
printed Setup Poster, printed Warranty & Support Guide,
HP Media Vault software and manual on CD