TerraMaster doesn't just make network-attached storage (NAS), the company also makes some excellent direct-attached storage (DAS) expansion units. Not everyone requires smart features offered by NAS enclosures like the ability to run Plex Media Server, which is precisely where a more affordable DAS solution comes into play.
A DAS like the TerraMaster D4-300 can be considered more basic than a NAS, but it's better equipped than an external hard drive as you can install up to four HDDs inside the D4-300. With up to 72TB to play with, this DAS makes it easy to move large files between PCs without requiring a capable network to act as a bridge.
Is the TerraMaster D4-300 a better fit for you than the best NAS?
Bottom line: Not everyone requires a feature-rich NAS for storing files, which is precisely where the D4-300 from TerraMaster comes into play. It's a great little box for storing up to 72TB of data.
- All-metal chassis
- Great value
- Four drive bays
- No drivers are needed
- USB 3.1 Gen 1 (no Thunderbolt)
TerraMaster D4-300: Price and availability
The TerraMaster D4-300 is available for $170. That's not a bad price for a four-bay enclosure. A NAS would be considerably more, but you get better internals and an OS that allows for the installation of third-party (and first-party) packages. The D4-300 is well priced, but bear in mind you will need to buy drives to install inside the DAS.
TerraMaster D4-300: What's good
|1x Rear USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
|227mm x 225mm x 136mm
The TerraMaster D4-300 is a direct-attached storage (DAS) enclosure, which is the more basic form of expansion units. It's connected to a PC via a single rear USB-A port on the enclosure. Because there's no TerraMaster NAS operating system running on an Intel Celeron processor with plenty of RAM, it's also more efficient on energy use.
You'd be forgiven for mistaking the TerraMaster D4-300 for the TerraMaster F4-210. They look almost exactly the same with the internal components being where the major differences are easily spotted. The outer shell of the D4-300 is all metal with TerraMaster branding on the sides.
Upfront you'll find the four drive bays. These each support 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, making it possible to use mechanical drives or the best SSDs, depending on what you plan on using the DAS for. Next to these bays are a power button and some LED indicators representing each installed drive.
Connecting the D4-300 to our test rig using a USB-A port allowed for maximum transfer speeds as advertised by TerraMaster. SSDs were able to achieve upwards of 500MB/s, though you may encounter a slight hit when using RAID and HDDs. Still, for most file sizes, you should be able to transfer or access what's stored on the D4-300 in a matter of seconds.
TerraMaster D4-300: What's not good
There's nothing outright wrong with the TerraMaster D4-300 since it's more than capable of hitting advertised speeds, and you'll be able to enjoy using four drives for expanding the storage capacity of your PC. It's just a shame there's no Thunderbolt support here, but it's reserved for more expensive TerraMaster DAS.
TerraMaster D4-300: Competition
There aren't too many DAS enclosures out there. TerraMaster is unique in the NAS space as its main competitors, including Synology, don't offer any models that aren't network-attached storage. Western Digital makes numerous DAS solutions, such as the MyCloud series of enclosures, many of which come with WD drives preinstalled.
The price of TerraMaster's D4-300 makes it a good choice for expanding your storage capacity, especially if you have a few drives lying around.
TerraMaster D4-300: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You just need somewhere to store files
- You only have a PC or two to transfer files between
- You don't require additional functionality offered by NAS
- Your PC doesn't have Thunderbolt
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- You'd prefer Thunderbolt for transferring larger files
- You want to do much more than a DAS offers
The TerraMaster D4-300 DAS is a great choice to store files locally among a select few devices. For moving files between computers, a DAS like this is a great affordable solution. For anything else, you may want to look at a NAS enclosure. If your PC doesn't have Thunderbolt, you can save a little by going with the D4-300.
But if you'd prefer Thunderbolt speeds for data transfer, I'd recommend looking at other TerraMaster DAS that have such functionality. There's also the case of not being able to do much on a DAS, especially compared to a NAS. This is incredibly basic storage, allowing you to select RAID configuration using a toggle on the rear.
You could think of it as an unmanaged network switch where it does everything you need it to do on a basic level, but any of the more advanced features would be locked for more expensive managed switches. The same goes for DAS and NAS. If you frequently work with larger video files, the TerraMaster D4-300 is a good place to start.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.