Posted by: tranquilpc | November 26, 2007

Computer Buyer Review

Product Reviews

Networks/Servers

Tranquil T7-HSA Harmony [Computer Buyer] unedited

COMPANY: Tranquil PC
PRICE: £397  inc VAT

RATING:
ISSUE: 200  DATE: Jan 08

Verdict: Smarter than the average shared folder. A good Home Server debut, although not quite as flexible as it could have been.

As useful as it can be, network-attached storage (NAS) isn’t the most glamorous category of hardware. A hard disk you can access from any PC on your network – it’s not going to get the neighbours talking in the same way as that USB dance mat. But the new Windows Home Server operating system promises to make it a lot more exciting, and this unit from Tranquil PC is worthy of note because the UK maker has beaten its big-name competition to the shelves with the first product.

Windows Home Server is based on Microsoft’s enterprise-level server software – but don’t run away, it’s actually very easy to use and could make your computing life much easier. That’s because it aims to take care of the boring but important stuff: not just storing your files in one place, but automatically backing up your PCs every night.

The T7-HSA is effectively a PC that’s always on, in this case attached to your router. As such, it can do all sorts of useful jobs without attention. This could include acting as a media server for digital photos, music and video. You also get your own web address that allows you to log on to your server from any PC on the Internet, download or upload files, and operate your PCs remotely.

The hardware itself features the engineering we’ve come to expect from Tranquil: a 70% recycled steel and aluminium chassis with reassuring heft. As the name implies, there’s not a single fan, making the system all but silent. A careful choice of components keeps its power draw to less than 20 watts, and Tranquil offsets five years of projected carbon emissions on each purchase.

Inside is a 500GB hard disk to store your files, enough for most people, with four USB ports to add extra storage if needed. Adding another disk takes advantage of another feature: the ability to mirror important folders to a second hard disk, so even if one dies, your files are safe. It’s shame this is an external-only option, though.

For little more than a standard NAS drive, the T7-HSA offers a lot more, and while not everyone will need all its features, the backup alone could more than pay for itself. It’s easy to use, too. Expect plenty more competition before long, but the Tranquil should go on your shortlist.

By Ross Burridge

SPECIFICATIONS:
500GB hard disk, 4x USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet
Size: 57 x 224 x 232mm
Weight: 2.9kg

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Responses

  1. Hello,
    I have purchased a Tranquil PC T7-HSA. It’s a lovely piece of kit, although it is not necessarily straight forward to install into a Windows XP setup via Windows Home Server. For some reason, “contact” with the Tranquil is often “lost” via my Netgear Router. The drive mapping is also “lost” even though the required items are ticked. I have also had to de-power the Tranquil on one occasion at is refused to do anything, so it was back to power off, count to ten and re-power. All returned safely, but still have the connection problems. Where are the USB keys? It’s bad form to supply a unit with documentation saying the keys were included, only to find they are not and you have to pay extra to get them. That is really not on, especially with such a new innovative product.
    I really like the unit. The documentation is by any standard sparse and relies too much on an operator knowing exactly what they are doing. It should include a novices section to cover all the angles. With the niggles aside I would still give it four stars out of five, having used a linux based server before, this is somewhat easier to use.


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