Viewing page 4 of 4 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4
Installing the Seagate Mirra on our test computer was quick and easy. After installation, the multi-step registration process was a breeze. This process mainly asked for optional information, such as registering the Mirra online, setting an optional administrator password, and most importantly creating our web account. Setting up the web account is simple; the only information required is name, email address and password.
The setup prompted for backup folders and displayed three common options. The
test computer used had a hard drive with multiple partitions. Mirra was not
able to backup an entire partition due to the inclusion of system folders held
on it. This is particularly frustrating if your intent is to create an entire
copy of your hard drive, Windows and all, as Mirra simply will not do it. In
our case the drive we intended to backup was used as the "My Documents"
folder; to back up the folders within, we had to manually add each one, a major
Synchronization of multiple computers and web access turned out to be very
good features and are great selling points for the device. Web access can be
enabled by default for all backups or on an individual basis. This has to be
one of the easiest methods to provide remote file access. The interface is responsive
and transfer speeds were acceptable (~50-60KB/s).
The Mirra network interface was fairly stable. The software was able to quickly
detect the Mirra on the network and connect to it. With a 100Mbit/s wired LAN
connection transfers were relatively quick. Smaller transfer speeds were harder
to obtain due to the overhead of modifying each file and having the Mirra service
recognize the change. Large file transfers were easier and a 2GB video file
was used to perform these tests.
Network usage during a 2 GB file transfer on an all wired network.
NOISE & POWER
Acoustically the Mirra leaves a lot to be desired. The power supply has a high
pitch signature that was audible from anywhere in the room. The power supply
frequently ramped up and down, sometimes with no apparent load. This implies
thermal cycling, which should have been avoidable given the low power requirements
of the Mirra's hardware. The Mirra was turned off numerous times due to the
noise over the two week period. Power consumption for the device was reasonably
low, with the exception being a peak during startup. The Mirra could have been
powered by a much quieter power supply or even a PicoPSU.
There are two distinct noise signatures produced by the Mirra's hard drive.
The sound created when transferring large file transfers was recorded and is
linked below. However, there is also a distinctly different sound produced when
indexing files. This sound has a higher pitch and is much more unpleasant. This
sound was also occasionally heard at unexpected times such as when the computer
was idle or after the computer had been shutdown.
As mentioned before, when the Mirra reconnects, it will scan all folders for
changes. Hard drive seek noise is definitely a problem, from both the host computer
and the Mirra (although most SPCR readers' own hard drives will be much quieter).
There were times when the computer was idle and Mirra would start to scan all
folders as well. For SPCR readers' ears, this device is not suitable for any
living space. It would be best kept somewhere out of hearing range, perhaps
a closet or unused area.
MP3 Sound Recordings of the Seagate Mirra M-250
Seagate Mirra M-250 - Idle and Seek @ 1ft
Seagate Mirra M-250 - Idle and Seek @ 1m
HOW TO LISTEN & COMPARE
These recordings were made with a high resolution, studio quality, digital
recording system and are intended to represent a quick snapshot of what
we heard during the review. Two recordings of each noise level were made,
one from a distance of one meter, and another from one foot away.
The one meter recording is intended to give you an idea of how the subject
of this review sound in actual use one meter is a reasonable typical
distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording
contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative
loudness of the subject. For best results, set your volume control so
that the ambient noise is just barely audible. Be aware that very quiet
subjects may not be audible if we couldn't hear it from one meter,
chances are we couldn't record it either!
The one foot recording is designed to bring out the fine details of the
noise. Use this recording with caution! Although more detailed, it may
not represent how the subject sounds in actual use. It is best to listen
to this recording after you have listened to the one meter recording.
More details about how we make these recordings can be found in our article:
Audio Recording Methods Revised.
The Mirra has some impressive features and is a powerful tool to backup important
files. It is a very good set-it-and-forget-it automatic backup solution for
most Windows users. Apparently, the product is quite popular with small businesses,
which often don't have extensive IT resources or expertise. The software provided
seems stable, and the web access feature is great.
There are oddities, however. One is the absence of any redundancy for the single
hard drive. Another is the inability to be used for shared file storage as a
network attached storage, a function which we originally assumed was part and
parcel of the Mirra. The mini-ITX board and Linux foundation could easily allow
Mirra to be considerably more multi-functional. Perhaps the design goal was
to really keep it as simple as possible.
Unfortunately, acoustics don't seem to have been a consideration when Seagate
designed the Mirra. Plainly speaking, it's just too loud in most home environments,
and perhaps even in some quiet offices. If you plan to connect the Mirra to
your network, make sure that you have a suitable location to keep it out of
Much thanks to Seagate
for the Mirra review
* * *
Articles of Related Interest
Icy Dock's eSATA Enclosure
Remote Storage with the Newisys NA-1400 NAS
External Seagate Drives: A Portable 2.5"
and a Pocket Drive
* * *
Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums
|Help support this site, buy the Seagate Mirra 320GB Personal Server from one of our affiliate retailers!|