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Thecus N4200: Features And Build

Atom-Powered NAS: Thecus N4200 And QNAP TS-459 Pro
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Intel's most modern dual-core Pineview-based Atom processor isn't just aimed at energy-efficient netbooks. It can also be found in NAS servers from a variety of manufacturers. We tested two mid-range appliances in order to measure the CPU's capabilities.

Based on its name, you might assume that Thecus' N4200 is just a slightly-improved version of the N4100 Pro. This isn't the case, though. While the N4100 Pro employs a 500 MHz AMD Geode LX800 processor with 256MB RAM, the N4200 uses a dual-core, 1.66 GHz Intel Atom D510 with 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM. Also, Thecus opted to go with the ICH9R chipset.

Two Displays

A display on the front of the N4200 provides information on system configuration and status. The front also sports four buttons for changing the settings.

Unlike the 4100 Pro, however, the N4200's top display is not a conventional LED or LCD display, but an OLED display. Just as the N4100 Pro had a vertically-arranged LED bar on the left side, providing network and disk activity information, the N4200 has an LCD display performing the same function. There are two USB 2.0 ports for connecting additional external storage devices. Underneath the OLED display, behind a door, we find four lockable hard drive bays that can accommodate 3.5" and 2.5" drives.

Rear Panel Connections

The most striking feature on the back of the NAS is likely the slot directly above the large 120x120 mm fan. This is where you insert an included battery that provides enough power to let the NAS shut down in a controlled manner during a power outage, without any data loss. Above this battery slot is a bracket hiding a PCIe x1 interface, which comes handy if you want to plug in a 10 Gb/s Ethernet network card, for example.

The N4200 doesn't necessarily have to be connected to the network through a cable. If you prefer more exotic solutions, you can even use a USB dongle to connect the NAS via WiFi. Naturally, wired connections will outperform wireless, but you never know when the cat might chew through your gigabit line (Ed.: that'd be one evil cat).

On the back, we find two eSATA ports, four USB ports, the external power supply connection, and two gigabit Ethernet ports. The GbE ports can either be operated with separate IP and gateway settings, or in failover and/or load balancing modes.

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  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 30 April 2010 20:24
    Two very capable products. When the prices of NAS of this quality drops in price, I'm very tempted to get one...
  • 0 Hide
    hollett , 2 May 2010 22:31
    I'll stick to my setup (2 1/2 years old) of a cheap case, with efficent 350w PSU, 945g motherboard with a Celeron 420 UNDER clocked to 1.2 (to save power) and 1gb of ddr2.

    This runs a old windows 2K licence with my mail server, DLNA media server and 1x1TB (Boot and non raid stuff) and a pair of recently upgraded 1.5TB in raid 1 for my important data.

    To save power I have disconneded FDD, DVD and even the Power/HDD LED's as the "NAS" is hiden in my garage,and i don't ned to see the unit.

    The unit, excluding disks, only cost me around £130 (approx $200) when I bought it.
  • 0 Hide
    kyzar , 4 May 2010 21:19
    I'd love a NAS, but they aren't quite flexible enough for me yet. I run:

    X2 4400 CPU
    1 x 250gb O/S drive
    3 x 1TB data drives in RAID5 (software)
    Debian Linux

    Runs:

    Apache / MySQL / PHP5 for my web dev work
    Mediatomb for uPnP movie playback (and on-the-fly transcoding) on PS3
    Samba for network shares to the PCs
    Counter Strike server
    VMWare server
    Print server
    Vuze Bitorrent client with remote web access
    Mail server with AV, spam filter and webmail access for the 15+ domains I own / host on it
    + million and one other little things I forget now

    All free software, pennies for the hardware. Has been utterly reliable for over two years. When it breaks I'll refresh the hardware so I can run more bots on CS:S...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 4 May 2010 22:29
    so many Nas reviewed yet why none from tranquil PC, they seem to have very competitive NAS servers available, with also the same hardware.
    Any chance of a comparison please