- Very easy to use;
- useful utilities;
- attractive styling.
- Fairly limited functionality;
- chunky box;
- no RAID.
In line with Linksys's packaging style, the EFG80 GigaDrive consists of an attractive blue box containing an 80GB IDE drive, with a second bay to add an optional second drive of up to 120GB.
This IP-only device offers DHCP and FTP servers along with browser-based management that allows you to create groups, add and delete group and user permissions, set up private folders and determine quotas, and use the second disk drive for backup. However the backup facilities supplied are limited to copying from one internal disk to another, which is limiting. Three built-in utilities allow you to defragment, test and format the disks, with scheduling available for the first two of these operations. Firmware upgrades are also possible. If help is required, the system includes a full online manual and links to Linksys' Web site. The bad news is that you can't link the two drives into a RAID.
The EFG80 has indicators for disk and LAN activity, as well as lights for error, backup and disk full -- very useful for an at-a-glance diagnosis. Around the back you'll find a 10/10Mbps Ethernet port (with a cross-over toggle so you won't need a special Ethernet cable), a mains socket and a parallel port. There's also a recessed reset button, while the spring-loaded on/off switch initiates a proper shut-down rather than just killing the power.
When using the EFG80 for the first time, Linksys's supplied utility can search for the device from your PC -- but this only works if it's on the same subnet, which may involve a little IP reconfiguration. In practice, it's just as easy to navigate directly to the device using its IP address and set it up from there.
Quiet in operation, the EFG80 could happily sit on or near a user's desk in an office environment without causing aural annoyance. In use, like all of the NAS products examined here, it takes under a minute to power up and appears as a remote disk on a Windows desktop; if permissions allow, users can map a network drive to it. Alternatively files can be accessed using a browser, or you can FTP directly to the device. The print server enables network-attached printing and includes a DHCP server.
The drive bays are not hot-swappable but plugging in a new drive only involves unlocking the empty tray and slotting in a drive. Linksys can supply additional trays for quick drive swapping if you choose to use the second drive bay as a rotating backup.