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Internal Details

Getting inside the N7700 is easy. The rear panel with fans comes off with four thumbscrews and the side panels are held on with only two screws each. Note that the left side-panel has an interlock switch, which prevents system power-up when the panel is removed. Figure 3 shows an inside rear view, where you can see that the major components are rather spaciously arranged.

The power supply looks like it is easily removable. But I was puzzled as to how to separate the main board and drive bay, which are each secured and plug directly into each other via a non-flexible board. I didn't want to risk breaking the main board by flexing it to unseat the connector, so didn't get any complete board shots.

N7700 inside rear view
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Figure 3: N7700 inside rear view

Figure 4 shows a partial board view. Not visible is the 1.86GHz Intel Celeron M processor and 1 GB of DDRII RAM. The OS boots from a 128 MB IDE DOM. Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are provided by two Intel WG82574L PCIe Gigabit Ethernet controllers that can be configured in load balance, failover, 802.3ad aggregation modes and support up to 9K jumbo frames.

The seven SATA drives are handled by two Marvell 88SE6340 PCIe 3 Gbps SAS/SATA 4 port controllers. You can also see a Winbond W83627EHG multipurpose I/O controller. This shot gives you a good view of the drive bay / main board connection at the center of the photo. You can also see the two black PCIe x1 connectors in line, which I referred to earlier, at the left of the photo.

N7700 main board partial view
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Figure 4: N7700 main board partial view

Figure 5 shows another partial board view, where you can see the CPU, North and South bridges, each with a heatsink. If you look carefully, you can also see the 128 MB flash DOM plugged into an IDE connector at the right rear of the photo.

N7700 main board partial view, CPU
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Figure 5: N7700 main board partial view, CPU

Figure 6 is a left inside view, where you can see the telltale footprints of two DIMM slots at photo mid-right. Only one of the two slots is populated with a 1 GB DDRII DIMM.

N7700 inside left view
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Figure 6: N7700 inside left view

The drive bay supports seven hot-swappable 3.5" SATA drives. The drive compatibility list includes 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 and 2 TB WD Caviar Green drives. Thecus supplied seven Hitachi HDP72505 500 GB drives in the review unit, which brought total power consumption to 77 W.

Fan noise is high, meaning the NAS is very audible in a quiet room with multiple computers running. However, drives can be scheduled to spin down after 30 to 300 minutes of inactivity (30 minute increments), which reduced power consumption to 58 W. You can also schedule different power on/off times for each day of the week.

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