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NAS Reviews

The N7700 is Thecus's top-of-line desktop NAS aimed at business users. It's a seven-bay diskful NAS that can take up to 2 TB SATA hot-swappable drives. Supported volume configurations include JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 with hot spare capability for RAID 1, 5, 6 and 10. Online RAID expansion and RAID level migration are supported.

The N7700 is the first NAS we have encountered that allows selection of the internal drive format with EXT3, XFS and ZFS as options. Snapshot capability is supported only for ZFS.

The N7700 uses a 1.86GHz Intel Celeron M processor with 1 GB of DDRII RAM. Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports can be configured in load balance, failover, 802.3ad aggregation modes and support up to 9K jumbo frames.

Four USB 2.0 ports can be used for USB flash and hard drives for expansion as well as USB printer serving. UPS synchronization is supported via a single serial port. There is also a single eSATA port for storage expansion. The N7700 does not support backup to attached drives. But it supports scheduled once daily, weekly or monthly networked backup to other Thecus NASes using its proprietary nsync protocol or to standard FTP servers. Backups cannot be encrypted or compressed.

Power consumption was77 W with seven Hitachi HDP72505 500 GB drives that Thecus provided for testing. Fan noise is high, meaning the NAS is very audible in a quiet room with multiple computers running. Drives can be scheduled to spin down after 30 to 300 minutes of inactivity (30 minute increments), which reduced power consumption to 58 W. There are no scheduled shutdown / startup features.

CIFS/SMB, AFP and NFS network file systems are supported, and files can also be accessed via FTP. HTTPS is also supported for admin and file access. iSCSI initiator with up to five targets can be configured.

Media features include iTunes and UPnP AV / DLNA servers and a download service for HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent files.

The N7700 sits at the top of the RAID 5 Write Performance Chart with an average of 57.7 MB/s for file sizes between 32 MB and 4 GB, with cached behavior not included in the average calculation and a four-drive array. Read performance was higher and also at the top of the RAID 5 chart, measuring 64.5 MB/s with the same conditions. File copy performance using a Vista SP1 client under the same conditions (RAID 5, Gigabit LAN) topped the RAID 5 chart at 80.2 MB/s for write but ranked #2 at 74.3 MB/s for read behind the NETGEAR ReadyNAS Pro.

Read the full review.

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