Thecus N4100PRO NAS Server ReviewNemo - July 19, 2010
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Thecus touts the N4100PRO as the NAS server with unmatched speed and total security. With that kind of billing, it would seem the N4100PRO would be perfect for a small/medium-sized business or a serious-minded home user. With a range of features like RAID 0/1/5/6/10 and 5 + hot spare and advanced level capabilities such as iSCSI support and RAID level migration and expansion the N4100PRO certainly has the pedigree for the job. However, the N4100PRO lacks some of the bells and whistles found on other units, some of those items such as a download manager with BitTorrent support, Twonky media server, USB and eSATA backup are all available as expansion modules.
With the upgraded firmware, Thecus has added features like iSCSI support and expanded jumbo frame support that now includes standard MTU values such as 9000 bytes. Its RAID level support and hard drive failure recovery capabilities are rock solid and our tests show they work as advertised. What our testing also revealed were some surprises in the form of performance in data throughput. While the N4100PRO produced some solid, mid-range performance numbers, it couldn't keep up with the comparison units sporting more powerful processors and more memory. It also struggled to match the performance of its smaller sibling, the N3200PRO, which has the same processor and memory levels and one fewer drive bay. Careful examination of the setup and multiple reruns of the test suites did not reveal any issues that would explain the reduced performance level. The other issue I had a concern with is the cooling performance where we saw hard drive temperatures 6-10 degrees warmer than other units tested using the exact same drives.
The N4100PRO can be had at a street price of around $379, which is certainly more reasonable than the other units, but units such as the Synology DS408 come with a more powerful processor and double the memory for roughly $120 more. The N4100PRO is a solid unit with features to match or exceed others out there on the market at a good price, just don't expect it to set any land speed records with its data transfer rates, which I think is the real killer here.
- RAID 0/1/5/6/10/5 + hot spare capability
- RAID level expansion and migration capabilities
- iSCSI target volume support
- Expandable functionality using modules
- Drive hot swapping using easily removable locking drive trays
- Good documentation
- S.M.A.R.T. reporting
- No DDNS support
- Mediocre cooling