Introduction

The consumer NAS market segment is growing at a very fast rate, with 2 and 4-bay solutions leading the trend. While some vendors choose to compete on feature set (which tends to push up the price), others choose to approach from the cost perspective. Thecus has solutions from both perspectives. While the N2560 (review) was an Evansport NAS which presented a host of media-centric features, the N2310 that we are going to look at today cuts down the features (both hardware and software) to target entry-level users at a low price point.

The specifications of the N2310 are provided in the table below:

Thecus N2310 Specifications
Processor Applied Micro APM 86491 (1C PowerPC 465 CPU @ 800 MHz)
RAM 512 MB DDR3 RAM
Drive Bays 2x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 6 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-swappable)
Network Links 1x 1 GbE
External I/O Peripherals 1x USB 3.0 / 1x USB 2.0
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link Thecus N2310 Specifications
Price $126

The N2310 runs a Linux kernel (v2.6.32). Other interesting aspects of the platform can be gathered after gaining SSH access into the unit.

In the rest of the review, we will cover the hardware aspects of the N2310 and provide some setup and usage impressions. This is followed by benchmarks in single and multi-client modes. For single client scenarios, we have both Windows and Linux benchmarks with CIFS and NFS shares. In the final section, power consumption numbers as well as RAID rebuild times will be covered along with some closing notes.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

The Thecus N2310 is a 2-bay unit. Users can opt for either JBOD, RAID 0 or RAID 1 configurations. We benchmarked the unit in RAID 1 with two Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives as the test disks. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evoluion 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Hardware Platform and Usage Impressions
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  • poohbear - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    i thought this was an enthusiast site? why write reviews of average hardware like this? still waiting for your Haswell refresh devil canyon review.... Reply
  • jabber - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    It is an enthusiast site but in order to survive on the web you have to appeal to more than 200 people. Plus some of us enthusiasts just want a simple cheap solution as we don't have the time or requirement to spend $1000 on fifteen individual components when one $150 box will do the job. Even for enthusiasts 'good enough' is just fine. Reply
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - link

    True enthusiasts don't discriminate on price. They like to be informed about the whole range of products. What good is looking at the best if you can't compare it to mediocre? Besides we are enthused by technology as a whole.

    Not to mention, AT hardly ever reviews the absolute best, which is often some expensive hardware you probably have never heard of and only a limited few would be able to afford. Instead, they target popular, prosumer products that are available to the masses for a reasonably affordable price. These products are often from popular brands which have a decent reputation. You don't see them reviewing quantum computers or SSDs with ridiculous amount of throughput.
    Reply
  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Please don't take this the wrong way, but I can't help but wonder why the average geek would pick this instead of old PC/kaveri/low power sandy desktop?

    I have a 4gb kaveri n mobo that cost me $200 without a case, it is a 8 sata, 4x usb 3 with gigabit, WiFi and VM support, not to mention expandable pci-e

    I built a cheap file server with old license of vista/7 pro. Using a primocache as initial line of defense for home use I/O spikes, I was able to use this thing as file server, media center, Plex server, torrent/VPN simultaneously, in a pinch I can do real work on it as well.

    So my question is, yes in vacuum these 2-4 bays nas boxes are cheap.
    But if one consider what he/she have around the house, homebrew windows with cheap caching (Intel SRT/primocache/nvelo/samsung rapid)
    Reply
  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    The PC route is not that much more expensive, but infinitely more configureable and repairs are more dependable/possible.

    Note: I am a geek, asking the elder geeks, on what benefit (for geeks, not layman) am I not seeing on these Nas?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Do you have the capability to access data outside your home with a nice mobile interface (both Android / iOS devices)?

    I used to think along the same directions as you a couple of years back. However, with the increasingly mobile lifestyle and social sharing culture, these sort of 'appliances' are geared towards getting something working without hassle while providing features to enable the upcoming consumer behaviour (access data on the go with a pleasant and easy-to-use UI, easily generate links for files in the NAS to send to friends/family etc.).

    There are certain things that a PC does well, but we are now at a stage where even geeks can be well-served with an off-the-shelf NAS appliance for many aspects.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Would adding a "advantages of buying pre-built" page to the reviews cut down on the flood of this type of comment on every NAS review on this site; or would the people who do it continue to do so because they don't bother to read the article before commenting? Reply
  • PEJUman - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    Dan, I can read well enough to realize my homebrew nas that took <2 hrs to configure (from bare install to up and running server) can wipe the floor with N2310 or others at this bracket on 5 user simultaneous access.
    the question is aimed at a geek level, was hoping that i missed something such as: network QoS improvement, small file I/O with Raid 1, automatic bandwidth balancing of JBOD, etc

    My comment was meant to be constructive, and I even clued you before I start. yours on the other hand...
    Reply
  • Beany2013 - Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - link

    Thing is, when we're talking about homebrew stuff vs NAS appliances, we're talking different classes of the same category of device here - I have a syno 214+ and I could wipe it, throw it at my dad (who is technically minded but not a geek) and he could have it set up within an hour.

    I could also throw a Kaveri mobo at him, a fistful of disk, RAM and an OS install disk, and it'd take him days to sort it out. I used to that sort of thing semi-regularly, but the *good* devices (primarily from QNAP and Syno) are just too well priced to ignore for what they do these days.

    This sort of review isn't just for 'us' - it's for the people we know who don't want to be splicing up two power supplies to feed fifteen disk drives in a single chassis, and who don't want to be worrying about cooling requirements and airflow. But who always ask us what to buy (and often, to set it up for them)

    So now we know, if your father/uncle/second cousin twice removed asks about one of these NAS things, and says they've seen these cheapy Thecus things, to ward them off it. You could build them one if you want, but then you support it for life.

    Also, as I've said here before, I'm considered to be an extreme tech nerd even among my sysadmin/sysop cohorts (I don't see it meself...) - and even *I* can't be arsed dicking with this stuff when I get home from a day of setting up load balanced routers and hacking up ATX12v cables to power a SAS backplane from a dead rack server. Don't worry, you'll get old and lazy too one day ;-) and then you'll learn the value of just throwing a bit more money at the problem (but it's getting cheaper all the time) so you don't have to mess about with this crap! And trust me, that day *will* come.

    Steven Raith.

    PS: Incidentally, have you set up your Windows rig to do iSCSI LUNs? I never did find a decent iSCSI server for Windows that wasn't a ballache to set up (although it has been a few years since I looked) - the Syno one is nice and easy. And does NFS too, which is nice. And iTunes server, torrent client, *good* CCTV server, etc....all out of the box. Saves a lot of time...
    Reply
  • tuxRoller - Monday, July 7, 2014 - link

    You can run owncloud and access your data from a nice GUI.
    That's what I use instead of Dropbox, plus it has integrated libre office support (which I haven't used).
    Reply

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