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VIA Launches Storage Mini-Server

The device for homes or small offices stores up to 3 Tbytes of data, which is the equivalent of 4,500 CDs, and comes with two serial ATA drive bays.

VIA Technologies on Tuesday introduced what it says is a bare-bones storage mini-server for home media libraries of music, photos, and video files.

The ARTiGO A2000 is roughly the height and width of a CD box and about 10 inches long. The unit stores up to 3 Tbytes of data, which is the equivalent of 4,500 CDs, and comes with two serial ATA drive bays for "simple snap-in of full-sized desktop hard drives," the vendor said. The bays have integrated power ports within the case.

The device is powered by a 1.5 GHz VIA C7-D processor and supports up to 2 GB of DDR2 memory. Connectivity to home computers is either through a Gigabit Ethernet port or wireless Wi-Fi. The system supports data transfers up to 3 Gbits per second.

There are three USB 2.0 ports, two in the back and one in the front, for attaching peripherals, such as a flash drive or memory card reader. The system also has a ball-bearing fan that VIA said cools the system while keeping noise levels below 26.8 decibels.

The device comes with a built-in bootable compact flash socket for installing a slimmed-down version of Windows or Linux. For security, the system comes with VIA StrongBox software for encrypting hard drives, and the vendor's management tools that track available storage and includes a power-off scheduling feature.

The ARTiGO A2000 supports Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Ubuntu 8.04, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, and FreeBSD. The system is scheduled to be offered online Dec. 15 by a number of retailers, including Bell Micro, EPRO-ITX, Fry's Electronics, and Logic Supply in the United States and, Monclick, and Ibertronica in Europe. Wider availability is scheduled for January. VIA didn't disclose pricing, but the system listed for $299 on EPRO-ITX.

VIA is one of numerous vendors offering home storage devices. Others include Hewlett-Packard, Iomega, and Western Digital. Iomega, for example, in October introduced a $300 1-TB network storage appliance for the home.

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