I'll agree with Steve - put the drives in external enclosures and use your laptop's eSATA port http://shop.lenovo.com/us/ww/pdf/w520_datasheet.pdf
. Although you could connect via network share to your existing desktop machine, pretty much any home/soho class router will limit you to a 100Mbs wire speed.
You'll find yourself very frustrated dealing with anything other than modest files over the network share...
1. Nice catch! Definitely the way to go in this case, especially if he has the Ultrabase docking station.
2. I love my NAS's for archiving and backup storage.. or even as media servers for streaming music or videos. But the ones I have (really old ones) are way too slow at 20MB/s to use as a work drive. As most notebook drives are in the 45-60MB/s range, I would think 100MB/s is sufficient? This chart with speeds for many current NAS's
also lists the speeds in MB/s and most of the <$500 models are limited to 12-20mbps. An exception is the WD Mybook Live at 43MB/s.. it's pretty fast, not so far off a 2.5" laptop drive. The top models are right over 108MB/s which is nearing the limitation (125MB/s) of the gigalan standard anyway.. hopefully we'll see the new standard out soon.
So if he's used to 2.5" laptop drive performance already, he could reasonably achieve at least close to that with a WD Mybook Live.. a 3tb version is going for $219 on Amazon.. not unreasonable. The new Duo's give you a 6tb RAID for under $500..
Still not my first choice, I still think working files should be through SATA, a minimum of USB 3.0.. but depending on a persons needs and ability to tolerate 2.5" speeds NAS storage becomes feasible.
I've been wanting to get my hands on a Mybook Live to see how capable their FTP functions are. Have you seen one? I've been dreaming about a Synology 2411+.. but a couple of the Duo's might be a decent stopgap if the FTP functions are sufficient.