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NAS Reviews

Introduction

Thecus N2200

At a Glance
Product Thecus Home NAS (N2200)
Summary Two bay BYOD NAS with RAID 0, 1 and JBOD support, focused on home users
Pros • Hot-swappable drives
• Multiple media servers
Cons • Slow
• Limited NAS backup options
• Need to run Windows / Mac OS X utility to install OS

QNAP and Synology have been introducing lower-cost products to try to capture market share from users who are on tighter budgets. Not to be left out, Thecus has the N2200, which has been given "Your iDEAL Home NAS" as its tagline.

The N2200 effectively replaces the N2100, which was introduced back in 2006. The N2100 uses a 600 MHz Intel 80219 Xscale processor to deliver 10 MB/s and 23 MB/s RAID 1 average write and read speeds, respectively. The N2200 is also a lower-cost alternative to the three-drive N3200 Pro, which can do three-drive RAID 5 and is powered by an AMD LX800 processor.

The 2200's styling is different than any of its other NASes and is an attempt to be more consumer friendly. The two drive bays are easily accessible without tools, using smoked plastic covers with push-push latches to secure them. The drive trays accept only 3.5" SATA drives and are not lockable. While the fronts of the drive trays are vented, the front covers are not. So airflow doesn't seem to be optimal for keeping the drives cool.

Figure 1 shows the front panel view with callouts for the controls and indicators. The backlit "LCD" display contains all the indicators and the only buttons are for power and USB Copy.

N2200 Front panel
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: N2200 Front Panel

The rear panel (Figure 2) has three USB 2.0 ports, but no eSATA port. The single 10/100/1000 Ethernet port is supposed to support jumbo frames up to 8000 Bytes. But in my tests, the N2200 locked up when I tried to enable them. This turns out to be a bug, which Thecus is in the process of fixing.

N2200 Rear panel

Figure 2: N2200 Rear Panel

The single variable-speed fan was virtually silent, but the two Seagate Barracuda ST380815AS 7200.10 80 GB drives that Thecus provided were not, for an overall Medium Low noise rating. Power consumption measured 18 W active and 9 W with drives spun down via the

Internal Details

Figure 3 shows the board assembly, which is relatively easy to extract from the extruded aluminum case. In an attempt to achieve lower manufacturing cost and sub-$200 price point, Thecus chose an Oxford 810DSE @367MHZ.

N2200  main board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: N2200 main board

This processor is also a favorite of Western Digital, which uses it in the new MyBook World single and dual drive "white bars". But WD must know something that Thecus doesn't, because, as you'll see when I look at Performance, the N2200 is much slower than the WDs.

Other key components in the N2200 are 256 MB of RAM, only 4 MB of flash, LSI ET1101C2 for Ethernet and a Genesys GL852 four-port USB 2.0 hub. Unlike many of Thecus' other procuts, which have EXT3 formatted drives, the N2200's drives are formatted with XFS. Drives up to 2 TB are supported (a PDF list of supported drives can be downloaded here).

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