Thecus N2310 NAS Server ReviewWesstron - February 27, 2014
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Thecus N2310 NAS Server Testing:
For the purpose of this review, I will translate my user experience after integrating the N2310 into my home network for the last few weeks. The Thecus N2310 NAS Server is built around an AMCC APM 86491 single-core processor clocked at 800 MHz, which is running in tandem with 512 MB of DDR3 memory. For an entry-level NAS, the usability was excellent considering the price point. The Thecus N2310 NAS Server has something for everyone and I will go through some of the highlights and features of this budget oriented unit.
- Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 @ 3.8 GHz
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H60
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula
- Memory: G.Skill RipjawsX 2x4GB 7-8-7-24 1600MHz
- Video Card: GeForce GTX 770
- PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1000W
- Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 2 120GB
- Optical Drive: ASUS DVD combo
- OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit SP1
- Router: ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router
- Mobile device: Samsung Galaxy Note 2
- Thecus N2310 is populated with two Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM SATA drives in RAID1.
Thecus N2310 NAS Server Results:
The Thecus N2310 NAS Server is built of plastic with matte and glossy tones. The unit looks good for a NAS server; I personally find it gorgeous compared to some older models in the networking world. It has a relatively slim frame and blends very well with the rest of the components that I have around. The HDD trays are also made of hard plastic, which seems durable, although the absence of rubber insulators caused the Thecus N2310 NAS Server to generate quite the vibrations and noise. I admit that the small exhaust fan and mechanical hard drives are to blame in this situation. However, some noise dampening material would go a long way in this situation. In terms of security, the Thecus N2310 NAS Server is not meant to hold irreplaceable data or critical files. This is due to the design and not the functionality of the device. The trays are exposed on the front of the unit, are easily removable, and even installing a Kensington lock will only secure the unit itself and not the drives.
The initial setup of the Thecus N2310 NAS Server was as painless of a process as it can be. The steps were clear and easy to follow and the automated RAID creation worked as intended. In less than nine minutes I was looking at a fully accessible entry called "N2310" under "Network" in my testbed before even logging into the Thecus N2310 NAS Server browser-based dashboard.
The interface of the ThecusOS 6 is pretty intuitive and relies heavily on icons instead of menus, which gives the user a high level of customization and puts the most used features and settings at the forefront for easy access. Mastering the advanced features however, will require that the user undergoes a learning curve of the ThecusOS 6 and enough basic knowledge to decipher the documentation available on the Thecus website. The ThecusOS 6 offers an extensive set of features with the option to add even more "apps" through the NAS App Center for extra functionality. On top of the essential features, such as RAID management, backup utilities, user configuration, and shared folders creation; the N2310 offers a plethora of network services including Bonjour, FTP, WebDAV, and DDNS. The functionality of the Thecus N2310 NAS Server can be expanded even more by installing modules via the "NAS Application" feature, such as Plex media server, Transmission BitTorrent client, iTunes Server, and Piczza photo album service.
Being a complete stranger to Thecus products, I was grateful for the help section accessible on the browser dashboard and the online resources center available on the manufacturer website. However, some of the guides were quite confusing and the support PDF files could use an update. Another feature that seemed lacking in regards to the N2310 model is the number of compatible applications listed in the NAS App Center section of the Thecus website; sixteen to be exact when I filtered by model number.
Usability and performance:
After the hassle-free initial setup and quite a bit of homework going through the advanced settings, I was able to access the NAS from my testbed, which is wired to the router, and wirelessly from both the HTPC and the laptop without any issues. I always try to use whatever item I'm reviewing in real life applications, which provides a better feel of how useful it really is. I actually stored all the text files and pictures related to this review in the Thecus N2310 NAS Server from the get-go; since you are reading this, you can guess that I did not encounter any issues when accessing, editing, and saving the documents.
Copying files to and from the N2310 went smoothly and I witnessed speeds of up to 78 MB/s over Ethernet and 7 MB/s over wireless when moving a 900MB MKV video file from the N2310 to the test system internal hard drive. Using a generic USB 2.0 flash drive with 1.7 GB worth of mixed files in it to test the one-press copy function, the write speed to the NAS was 12MB/s, although your mileage may vary depending on the external drive used.
The Thecus N2310 NAS Server proved to be a great companion to my HTPC. I copied a few media files including some high bit-rate 1080p MKV anime videos to the N2310 and then played them on the HTPC, which is connected wirelessly; and I have to say, I was really impressed by the viewing experience and the flawless streaming. There was absolutely no lag, the video quality was not affected, and all video file formats that I tried worked without a hitch.
Mobile & tablet access:
Thecus offers companion mobile apps for iOS and Android devices to enhance the user experience and make the contents of the NAS available on the go. The objective is basically to give users their own private cloud with full read/write access to the files, sync options, and streaming capabilities. The apps available are Thecus's proprietary software, such as T-OnTheGo and T-Dashboard, although some third party apps like ES File Explorer File Manager, will also work to a certain extent. For the purpose of this review, I will be taking a look at the T-OnTheGo app since it's free and considered to be the official companion app.
I started by installing the T-OnTheGo app on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which is available in the Google Play Store and free to download. The T-OnTheGo is a cloud management solution that allows users to upload and download files, view pictures, read documents, and stream media files on the go. For the app to work, the WebDAV service and DDNS need to be enabled by default on the Thecus N2310 NAS Server, then it’s just a matter of configuring the connection on the app. By default, only the local storage of the device will be displayed on the app; adding the NAS location requires selecting the icon on the bottom right corner and filling the necessary fields. The interface of the T-OnTheGo app is very basic and could use refinement, the responsiveness was not quite on par with more robust android apps, and I experienced random force closing when connecting to the N2310 over WiFi and wireless data. The app performed the advertised tasks properly and I only noticed streaming issues with high bit-rate video files at 720p or higher.