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Thecus N2310 NAS Review

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Introduction

Over the last few years Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices have gained in popularity. The ability to store and share files, media, and other data on a small, but powerful piece of network equipment provides for easier setup, administration, and faster data access at an affordable price. Thecus, a company that prides itself on creating quality storage devices, has a wide variety of storage products to fit the need of the individual user, as well as, the enterprise level storage solutions.

The Thecus N2310 is a lower price alternative to the expensive file servers and media servers available in the retail market. This entry level NAS server is running at 800MHz, and has 512MB of DDR3 RAM. The N2310 has two 3.5″ and 2.5″ hard drive bays for up to 8 TB of storage. Let’s learn who Thecus is and what they are all about.

About Thecus

Mission

In today’s networked world, digital content is truly the most precious asset. At Thecus, we take pride in developing innovative storage solutions that keep data safe and secure. Founded in 2004, the Thecus team brings decades of R&D expertise, Thecus brand marketing channel development, and a strong customer focus to deliver high-quality products that meet the storage needs of individual, small/medium business and enterprise.

Thecus focuses on hardware and software integration and development, and the core protocols of digital media storage. The result is products that are easier to use and can offer greater connectivity to consumer devices. Thecus envisions greater integration of data storage for both home and office environments, and we strive to be a pioneer in these fields and provide our users with the products that are second-to-none.

To develop optimal storage solutions for such a wide range of users, Thecus has assembled a best-in-class development team with extensive experience in both storage hardware and software development. By combining engineering expertise with a keen focus on the end-user experience, Thecus builds products that are not only powerful but easy-to-use, making advanced storage products accessible to users of all skill levels. Thecus’ mission is to transform the most sophisticated technology into easy-to- use solutions to introduce comfortable network storage environment to people’s everyday life. By crafting technology that is transparent as possible, Thecus continues to bring exceptional data storage solutions to advanced users and organizations around the world.

Core Values

Quality, innovation, integration, and reliability — the four pillars that Thecus was built on.

  • Quality – Commitment to bring only the highest quality products to the marketplace.
  • Innovation – Investing vast resources into research and development to provide high performance and easy-to-use solutions.
  • Integration – Understanding consumers’ needs and bringing the most complete product line to serve various types of applications and environments.
  • Reliability – Bringing the most secure, easy-to-use, and reliable storage solutions available.

By expanding service and product coverage worldwide, Thecus’ mission is to establish an international service network. Committed to Thecus core values, the entire corporate, research and development, sales, and technical support teams firmly stand behind this commitment of service. We put our words into actions to show our clients that Thecus is the number one choice when it comes to network attached storage solutions. We promise to deliver innovative solutions that empower users, and in doing so, become the top brand digital storage devices.

As you can see, Thecus prides itself on creating a quality products that are easy to use and are second to none. Now let us take a look at the N2310 and see if it is worthy of the Thecus name.

Feature

5 Minute Complete Installation

The N2310 is designed with ease in mind; it is easy enough for anyone to set up. Overlook the several steps which usually are associated with setting up NAS appliances. Simply plug the power supply, insert the Ethernet cable, boot up the N2310 and set up will be completed within 5 minutes. This breakthrough feature truly makes this a plug-and-play NAS.

Self-RAID Creation

All Thecus NAS include an innovative Self-RAID Creation tool that analyzes installed drives and, once the user has selected their preferred balance of performance and protection, automatically builds their customized RAID volume.

T-OnTheGo™ Mobile App

We’re a mobile society, and our NAS solutions are keeping up! Incorporated into the N2310 is support for Thecus’s® T-OnTheGo™ smartphone app. Now supporting both iOS and Android, this NAS management software enables users to access, copy, stream, and edit any data between their NAS and mobile device. Your own personal cloud, from anywhere with internet access.

DDNS

Have easy access to your NAS via Dynamic DNS (DDNS), this allows users to allocate and access their NAS files via the internet remotely. Since IP digits are often difficult to remember, domain names are utilized to make NAS management much more convenient. When the IP address is changed, the DDNS server will automatically adjust the IP address to make sure that remote access is always available. In short, DDNS provides convenient remote internet access to your Thecus® N2310 by utilizing domain names instead of IP digits.

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PLEX Media Center

The Plex Media Server is both the heart and brains for any digital media system. The free server is a module available on the Thecus® App Center that allows you to set up and manage your media. With the Plex Media Server installed on your Thecus® NAS, various devices on your network (such as your Xbox 360 and mobile devices) can connect to and stream your local and online media.

Native BitTorrent Support

Included in ThecusOS™ 6 is Transmission, a powerful BitTorrent client. Easily add torrent seed files to Transmission and sit back and relax as your NAS does the rest, independent of your computer. Once downloaded, your files will be automatically stored in your NAS P2P folder where you’ll be able to access them across your network or through the internet. Set and forget torrenting that’s accessible anywhere, that’s the N2310’s native BitTorrent support.

Data Guard

Data Guard backup solution is the ultimate software as it provides both local and remote parts. Currently, data is backed up across RAID volumes, external USB drives, and eSATA. In addition, Data Guard uses innovative technology to sync data across the network to other NAS and servers. More importantly, Thecus® Data Guard is the total backup solution which makes managing NAS user-friendly and convenient.

Data Burn

NAS data can now be burned directly to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray discs with Data Burn, this hassle-free module makes burning data to a disk effortless. In addition, burning ISO image file is also supported. Whether you’re managing audio, media or essential files; Data Burn copies information fast while significantly reducing waiting time. The process of burning file to disk is now easy and smooth with Data Burn module.

USB 3.0 Connectivity

The next generation of connectivity is here with speeds 10x faster than USB 2.0. Whether connecting digital cameras and smart phones, backing up large external hard drives, or extending the capacity of your NAS, USB 3.0 will make sure it’s done in no time at up to 5 Gbit/s. Backwards compatibility adds the connectivity of a world full of USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices to get the best combination of speed and universal access.

User Quota

Divide the massive storage of a Thecus NAS among multiple users. Whether there are two users or 100, User Quota make it easy to divvy up and manage disk space.

Move on to the next page for the specifications.

Specifications

Hardware Platform

Item

Spec

Processor

AMCC APM 86491 800Mhz

System Memory

512MB DDR3

LAN Interface (PCI-e)

RJ-45×1: 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X

USB Interface

USB 2.0 host port x1 (back x1)
USB 3.0 host port x1 (back x1)

Disk Interface

2 x SATA for internal

Power Supply

40W external power adaptor

Buttons

Power button
USB copy button
Reset button

Environment

Temperature: 5°C to 40°C
Humidity: 0 ~ 80 % R.H. (Non-condensing)

Chassis

2bays Tower

Dimensions (HxWxD)

135 x 97 x 207 (mm)/5.33 x 3.83 x 8.14 (in)

Weight

0.8(Kgs) / 1.8(lb)(NAS only)

Certificates

CE/FCC/C-Tick/VCCI/BSMI
RoHS
WEEE

Software Functions

RAID

RAID Modes

RAID 0, 1 and JBOD

Auto-rebuild

Supported

Hot-swap

Supported

Disk

Bad Block Scanning

Supported

SMART Info

Supported

SMART Test

Supported

Disk Roaming

Supports volume-based roaming to other N2310

Network

Configuration

Fixed IP address, dynamic IP address

Transport Protocols

TCP/IP, AppleTalk

File Protocols

SMB/CIFS, HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, AFP, NFS

TCP/IP

IPV6 & IPV4

System status

Syslog Management

Send syslog to assigned location
Act as syslog server to receive log info from other systems

Data Access

Client OS Support

Windows XP and after
Windows Server 2003 and after
Mac OS X
Linux

FTP

Built-in FTP server with bandwidth control

Secure FTP

Built-in secure FTP server with bandwidth control

Download Manager

BT Transmission

Printer Server (IPP)

Supports USB printers
Supports a wide range of IPP printers
Client can manage print tasks (list/delete) via web user interface

Data Backup

Client Incremental Data Backup

Thecus Backup Utility

Data Burn

Create files to ISO image and burn to optical disc
Create files to ISO image
Read ISO image from optical disc and write to NAS

Mac OS X Time Machine

Supported

Data Guard

Remote Backup/Local Backup

Power Management

Scheduled Power On/Off

Supported

Volume Management

File System

EXT4

Multimedia Support

iTunes Server

Supports AAC, MP3 w/ID3 tag and WAV

Piczza!™ Photo Server (via module)

Supports GIF, JPG (JPEG), BMP and PNG
Supports EXIF display
Supports slide shows

Media Server

Supports uPnP AV streaming protocol

User Authentication

Local User

Supports built-in user accounts

Local Group

Supports built-in user groups

File System

Type

Journaling File System  

Language Support

Unicode Support

Authorization (ACL)

“Read”, “write”, or “deny” privileges to individual users or groups in folders and sub-folders

User Quota

Supported

Administration

User Interface

Web-based user interface supports English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish and Portuguese.

Utility Program (Intelligent NAS)

MS Windows Setup Wizard
Supports Windows XP and after
Windows Server 2003 and after
Mac OS X Setup Wizard

Email Notifications

Sends system messages via email to the system administrator

DDNS**

Support one free DDNS registration (ex. xxx.thecuslink.com)

UPnP and Port forwarding

Support auto setting in Intranet environment

Intelligent NAS

Go through defined URL for auto install (install.thecus.com)

Mobile Applications (iOS/Android)

T-Dashboard™

Mobile monitoring and administration

T-OnTheGo™

Upload, download and stream multimedia

Others

Recycle Bin

Supported

Web Disk

Supported

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Now that you are familiar with the main features and specifications of the N2310, it is time to take a look at the packaging and the unit itself on the next page.

Packaging

As you can see the front and back of the box are nearly identical. The theme is very clean and precise. The company logo is affixed in the upper right, the NAS Model number and the words “Best-in-Class Value” boldly  displayed in plain sight, and a picture of the N2310. Not overstated, but to the point. I believe this is a great look for all high quality equipment.

The right side of the box shows the same logo in the upper right, but this time shows a few icons of the main features of the NAS. Also, you can see in light text, what I believe is a simple attempt at subliminal messaging.”Protect you source”, “Secure your Data”. The left side continues the logo theme in the upper right once again. Here we find a picture of the NAS and a few of the specifications of the Thecus N2310.

The top of the box promotes the company logo and Model of the NAS. From this picture you can see the carrying handle, and the Thecus security tape that shows that the product has not been tampered with.

After removing the N2310 from the box, we can see that the N2310 is securely packaged in white foam. The N2310 is also wrapped in a plastic bag to keep it free from dirt and dust.

Included in the box are setup instructions with a small diagram of how the NAS should be hooked up, and directions to download the software instead of using the included disk.

Also in the box, we find the accessories, including the power adapter, Ethernet cable, installation disk, warranty card, and 2 packs of screws to secure the hard drives in the caddies.

Now that everything is out of the box, we can take a closer look at the N2310.

A Closer Look

 

Looking at the front of the Thecus N2310 shows two removable hard drive bays, power and USB copy buttons, and all of the link lights on the NAS.

The back of the N2310 shows the power connector, exhaust fan, reset button, LAN port, and both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. I will address these a little later in the review.

Both of the sides are identical in looks. A mix of matte finished paint with a glossy center with the Thecus logo mounted dead center. A very clean and classy look.

Removing the Hard drive caddies to install hard drives was a snap. Simply lift up on the little tab in the front and lift up. Out slides the caddy, install your drives with the provided screws and your all set to start the software install.

I chose to use two 1TB Western Digital 7200 rpm hard drives to setup and test the NAS. Mostly because that is what I had new laying around. The Thecus N2310 can handle drives totaling 8TB.

Alright, that’s it for the hardware, now time to install the software and test out the Thecus N2310 on the next page.

Software

With the N2310 you have two options to install the software. You can either load it from the disk, or go to “http://install.thecus.com”. I chose to go to the website. They said it is only a 5 minute setup, let’s find out!

From the main site, just choose the correct NAS and whether you are installing it on a Windows machine or a Mac. Once you click the correct O.S., simply just click run.

When prompted, just hit next.

The software will search for and locate the NAS on your Network.

Once it has been located, simply click next.

Here you can choose to let the software auto configure the hard drives in RAID, or you can manually choose the settings. Click next.

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The software will then initialize your RAID array. This whole setup is supposed to take about 5 minutes from start to finish, but this step alone, takes about that long. It initialized the drives a lot faster than other NAS devices I have used in the past. although the process took longer than the 5 minutes stated on my setup, it was not much longer than that.

After the Drives have been initialized, you are asked to create a Thecus ID.

I created one very quickly and then chose to login. That is all that is needed to start using the Thecus N2310. Start Browser from here to check out the administration options and sharing capabilities.

Once you launch the browser you are brought to the login screen. Default user name and password is ADMIN. This can be changed at anytime once logged into the NAS.


This view shows the basic desktop. From here you can choose to launch the RAID management or Shared folder. Directly above that you can see a small icon in the upper left that resembles a page with the gear icon. Click here and it will launch the control panel


From the control panel you can take full control of the N2310. Everything from System Management and hardware setup, to Network services and application management. You can even control backups and external devices. Now let’s see how the Thecus N2310 performed on the next page.

Performance Impressions

I chose to set the Thecus N2310 up to do what NAS devices do best. I used it for file and media storage. The setup was simple and automatically made a shared NAS_Public folder that contained three folders to share your files. The folders were divided into Media, Pictures, and a P2P Download folder that were accessible from your PC’s Computer folder. Simply drag and drop whatever files you want and they were available on your network. Very simple as described.

Along with the drag and drop features, the feature I used the most was the USB copy button. The  USB copy button allowed for a one touch copy from a USB stick. Working in the IT business, I use a lot of media, tools and data that are carried around, and shared with USB storage. The ability to plug into either the 2.0 or 3.0 USB slot on the NAS and push one button to copy everything to a shared folder was a nice addition.

I also installed the T-Dashboard on my Smartphone that allowed me to bind my phone with the NAS giving me the ability to do most of the administration tasks to the NAS from my phone.

I attempted to install some of the media server software that is available for download from the Thecus website, but I have issues with any software that makes me create another account to use the functions of a device I already registered. If you want to take the time to install and create accounts for additional features, there is not much you will not be able to do with the Thecus N2310.

Instead of installing more programs and software to the already abundant features of the N2310, I chose to test the transfer speed and quality of playback through my network from the NAS.

I was pleased with the speed and performance. Below is a picture of the test results. I used CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 to test the disks in a RAID 0 configuration.Playback was smooth with no stuttering. The read, write speeds were good for the equipment I was using, and the size of the files being tested.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

There is so much more I could do with the Thecus N2310. There just is not time for me to test every feature of the NAS. With that being said, I have used many other high dollar NAS systems in the past, and the N2310 lives up to its name. From the sleek look, to the almost silent fans, the N2310 exceeded my expectations in almost every area. Although the case is plastic, Thecus managed to create a sturdy, nice looking NAS at a lower cost. An addition of a USB slot on the front of the NAS would have been a nice touch. The performance was fantastic, and will handle most needs for a home/ small business setting. The Thecus N2310 can be found under $150 at Amazon and would make an awesome addition to anyone’s network.

Likes

  • Compa ny mission and integrity
  • Many features at an affordable price
  • Silent operation
  • USB Copy button
  • DDNS setup to access NAS from outside the network

Dislikes

  • Additional registration for software
  • Lack of front USB slot

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