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NAS Reviews

Introduction

Thecus N5200

At a Glance
Product Thecus NAS Server (N4100 Pro)
Summary Four drive version of the N5200 Pro based on AMD Geode LX800
Pros • Hot-swappable drives
• NFS, AFP support
• iTunes, UPnP AV, Print servers
• HTTP/FTP/BT Download client
Cons • User Interface still a bit rough
• Unbalanced write and read speed
• Can't upgrade relatively small RAM w/o violating warranty

While we wait for Atom-based NASes to start popping out the delivery canals of U.S. NAS makers (yes, I know about the Tranquil PC SQA-5H Home Server), Thecus has already delivered its N4100 Pro (4100P), which uses AMD's Geode LX800. I won't get into a fanboy flame war over the merits of the Geode vs. the Atom. But instead I'll let the 4100P's performance speak for itself.

You can think of the N4100 Pro as a four-drive version of the N5200 Pro, minus the iSCSI support and eSATA connector and with some new features such as an iTunes server and Download Manager that I'll get to in a bit.

The 4100P's enclosure is a little nicer looking than the 5200's, with a swing-away door screening the four drive trays. Serviceability looks decent—the entire cover removes with three captive thumbscrews on the rear panel, revealing a motherboard that plugs into the drive backplane and sits in clear view on the left side of the case. Getting at the power supply will take a bit of doing; it looked to me like the whole assembly would need to be taken apart.

Figure 1 shows the front panel controls and indicators. You get the same LCD panel and four navigation buttons from the N5200 Pro and a USB 2.0 connector. Instead of a dedicated button for the USB Copy function, you push the 4100P's Enter button instead.

Front panel

Figure 1: Front Panel

The rear panel (Figure 2) shows some simplification from the 5200. Gone are the eSATA, type B USB 2.0 and serial ports. But you still get two 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, which can be configured to serve separate LANs or into failover or link-aggregation modes.

Back panel

Figure 2: Back Panel

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